London-based duo Ferris & Sylvester have released ‘Save Yourself’, the first single from their upcoming debut EP. The folk outfit consisting of Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester have a unique kind of chemistry, their potent and captivating male/female harmonies reminiscent of artists such as The Civil Wars and Angus & Julia Stone but with more blues influences. Their songs tell relatable stories of everyday life, with lyrics full of honesty to match their earnest delivery – and the heartfelt ‘Save Yourself’ is a great example of that.
Produced by Youth (The Verve, Crowded House) in his studio near Granada in Spain, the EP was recorded in four days as the duo was surrounded by the wonderful scenery of nearby Sierra Nevada.
GIGsoup caught up with Ferris & Sylvester to talk about how they met, their new single, and their upcoming EP.
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How did you guys meet, and how long have you been playing music together?
We were both part of the same music scene in Camden and played a lot in a great place called Spiritual Bar until eventually we met at one of Issy’s gigs and decided to start doing some writing together. That was in early 2016 and since then, we’ve spent most of our days locked away in Archie’s bedroom, writing and recording.
How do you write your songs as a duo? Do you both contribute to the process?
We have no formula, sometimes one of us will have come up with a nearly complete idea and we’ll finish it together. Other times we start completely from scratch but we both contribute equally. The one rule we have is we have to feel the song works on acoustic guitar and vocals. Until we’re completely happy with the song in its most basic form, it doesn’t go anywhere near a recording studio. We are completely honest with each other and that results in better songwriting. We know each other so well, there’s no need to hold back. We make each other feel comfortable enough to make mistakes and voice our crazy ideas.
What are some of your inspirations? Are your influences similar or different, and how does that affect your music?
We listen to a lot of music. We both grew up listening to our dads’ album collections so some of our influences are pretty old school. Issy grew up on a strict diet of Dylan and Christy Moore whereas Archie spent his teenage years trying to be Jimi Hendrix! Our influences do cross over and we both love Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell and Ryan Adams. By combining our influences, we think we’ve found our sound.
Your new single ‘Save Yourself’ is, in your own words, “a song that demonstrates the painful and brutal battle that encompasses a relationship”. Could you elaborate a bit on that? Is this a theme that you’re going to explore further?
For us ‘Save Yourself’ is a very simple ‘anti-love’ song, voicing the things we feel but never say. It’s a plea to someone to save themselves before it’s too late; suggesting you’d rather sacrifice your own heart. It’s a personal song and we’d definitely say it sets the tone for what’s to come. The song was produced by Martin ‘Youth’ Glover (The Verve, Crowded House, Paul McCartney) in his Space Mountain Studios, Spain. His input really helped our song come to life, turning our tatty demo into a proper record.
Tell us a bit about the song’s video clip. What was the idea behind it?
We shot our music video for ‘Save Yourself’ with Ben Radcliffe on a cold day on the bandstand in Battersea Park. The two of us also filmed parts on our own on a Cornish beach, freezing our fingers off on New Year’s Day. Our idea was that we wanted to make it as personal to us as possible; we filmed it in our favourite spots and Ben did a great job in making it as intimate as possible.
When are we going to hear the rest of the EP?
Our next single is coming out end of May, followed by the rest of the EP, which will be out in June. So stay tuned! There’s a lot more to come that we’re really excited about.
How has the UK tour been going? Any unique moments you’d like to share?
We’ve had a great time touring these past few weeks. It was so much fun touring Ireland with the amazing singer, Aine Cahill. We’ve played some really special shows; The Sugar Club in Dublin, Dolan’s in Limerick and The Waterats with Tom McRae to name a few. Our favourite stop on our travels was a quaint little town called Carlingford which Issy embarrassingly called ‘Carlsberg-ford’ to an audience of Irish locals. We think they forgave us.
Is there anything that you would like our readers to know about you?
This is the first of many records from us. We are constantly writing and developing so follow us on our journey and we will try and keep you entertained with our music. We also love a Guinness and a pale ale so come along to a gig and have a beer with us.