Filed under: Interview
Dennis Ferrer has been making music since the 90’s but you’ll still hear this innovative producer described as “upcoming”. That’s not something that bothers Ferrer however, as he now seems poised more readily than ever to take the house scene by storm.
He spent his early years being schooled by house legend Kerri Chandler who was even kind enough to give young Dennis a roof over his head. Add to this the support of Jerome Sydenham and now you find yourself looking at a man whose music is making its way on to just about every mix compilation including recently released CDs from house dignitaries Simon Dunmore and Louie Vega.
Dennis came down with an illness that prevented him from taking part in is Japan tour but we managed to coax him off his death bed to answer a few doctor approved questions via email.
Interview by Nick Lawrence & Kei Tajima (HigherFrequency) _ Introduction by Nick Lawrence(HigherFrequency)
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : Hi. Thanks for your time today! How are you feeling now?
Dennis Ferrer : I’m feeling much better thank you…..you don’t realize how precious life is until things happen to your health!. LOL
HRFQ : Can you tell us what sort of musical direction you are taking with your new label objeKtivity?
Dennis Ferrer : Well I think our musical direction again takes the same principle as I did with Sfere. Meaning that anything we feel is a bit different than the normal records of our time will be put out. It will be a forum for anything that I feel is a bit more experimental than the stuff i do for everyone else. Hence the name ObjeKtivity.
HRFQ : King Street have already released two singles from your upcoming album “World As I See It”. Would you say ‘Change The World’ and ‘Underground Is My Home’ are good indicators of what the rest of the album is like or are there some surprises?
Dennis Ferrer : Surprises? Hmmm I don’t know. I tend to just do what I love to do and if they are different then I guess I’m lucky! LOL I think many will be surprised because I kind of hit on different genres. I did alot of techy’ish kind of stuff. Pretty much indicative of what’s going on in our scene right now.
HRFQ : What are the differences between your approach for original productions and remixes you do for people like Blaze and Reel People?
Dennis Ferrer : My approach to everything is that I don’t have an approach if that makes sense! See…I make sure that even if it is a remix…I make it my own. In my mind the track doesn’t belong to whoever did the original. I sit down and say…”this is my track and i’m going make sure this thing rocks hard!” I feel if you approach making records in any other way then you are compromising your artistic ability. You have to make everything your own. In the end you will be judged by your work and I want to be judged accordingly.
HRFQ : How would you rate the health of the New York scene at the moment?
Dennis Ferrer : Everyone says that it has changed. In honesty everything changes. Nothing remains the same. It isn’t better or worse. It is just different. You have to learn to adjust. Learn to find other avenues to exploit your work. Yes..it has become more underground. Yes…the club scene is not what it used to be. Yes …record sales have diminished. But honestly you can say this for the whole music scene in general not just house. Everyone is hurting. Though, music will never go anywhere because it is a form of escape for people and as long as people want it…there will be someone there to give it to them.
HRFQ : You must have been busy DJing all around the world where is your favourite place to play?
Dennis Ferrer : I used to have several favourite places to play but I learned quickly that any place can be amazing. It all depends on the atmosphere. I’ve gone to some hole in the wall where I’ve thought….”no way! this gig is gonna suck tonight….” and BAM it becomes one of the greatest nights i’ve ever had!. It’s so strange. You can’t have preconceived notions going to a venue. I’d say it’s a form of lottery. LOL!
HRFQ : You’ve been making music since the 90’s but we’ve still heard you described as an upcoming producer. Do you see this as a negative thing?
Dennis Ferrer : HAHA! No it’s not a negative thing. I love that….You see….when people begin to dig into my history then they begin to find the records i’ve done…and realize “oh wow he did that?” It’s ok…This drives me. I constantly find the need to improve on my work. I’m always looking ahead and beyond. I don’t look back. So if you just discover me today…then I welcome you on my journey as I always think of myself and up and coming. LOL
HRFQ : Speaking of up and coming you’ve worked with the 14 & 17 year old Martinez brothers. Is supporting the youth in the house music scene something you are aiming for?
Dennis Ferrer : I wasn’t at first..quite honestly. Normally in this scene everyone thinks for themselves but an odd thing happenned to me on the road here. Kerri Chandler opened the doors mentally and workwise for me. He helped a young guy who was hungry, who needed direction and in whom he saw potential. His only thing was that it was up to me to be as talented as I wanted to be. He could only open the door..but it was up to me to walk through it. The Martinez Brothers fell into my lap per chance when Chis hit me up on myspace by just saying hi. I was playing at the Shelter and didn’t realize that they were bubbling in the underground so i told them they could play in my place if he sent me a mix cd. I felt at that time that it was a chance at doing what Kerri did for me. A kind of emotional payback for me. So here we are….the kids are working on records at the moment. Tightening up their trade. They are one of the nicest people i’ve met and I adore them. They’re like my nephews but it will be up to them not me. Like Kerri said….”I can only open the door”…so they have to run through it.
HRFQ : We’ve read a lot of comments by you about how much Kerri Chandler has helped you out but we’d like to know if you think you’ve influenced his music as well.
Dennis Ferrer : I think all of us at that time had influenced each other a bit. It was a constant friendly battle at seeing who could outdo each other. Competition is an amazing motivator. It still is to this day. It’s what makes you go that extra mile. The thinking in the studio at that time was “oh sh*t! he got that off!! damn..now I gotta go and redo my drums!! ” LOL
HRFQ : What about Jerome Sydenham. Do you still hang out a lot with him?
Dennis Ferrer : Jerome is still like family. Too much history there for that to change anytime soon. He’s not around as much as before but still…we keep in casual contact.
HRFQ : Whether you are looking for new releases for your labels or artists to collaborate with on productions what draws you to certain producers?
Dennis Ferrer : I think quality of productions. For example…arrangements and songwriting ability. I don’t think it has to be a hit. I just want to make sure that when someone buys your record they don’t feel ripped off. That is my approach to my work. I think technology is a great thing but it has made everyone lazy. Making a beat and a bassline isn’t justification for making records. You have to tighten up your craft. You have to learn how to songwrite, learn structure and mixing. Just because a man buys a hammer doesn’t make him qualified to build a house no? LOL
HRFQ : Unfortunately your gig was cancelled this time and your fan must have been very worried about you! Can you give a message to them?
Dennis Ferrer : Of course….Everyone…I’d like send my sincerest apologies. There comes a time in one’s life where sometimes a higher power has chosen your path. This was one of them. The next time out I will make sure we all have a good time. I’ll keep all of you in my prayers and wish you all good health as no amount of money can buy that.
End of the interview
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