Growing UP, you put your best foot forward into this world, over the years you come full circle. Only a couple people manage to live a young fast paced life, keeping to their guns, fighting through it all and then finding themselves in a great place still progressing at what you love. Meet Robert Ferguson aka Fergie, the man behind a slammin’ hard hitting label known as Excentric Musik. DJing at age 14, Fergie became a well-known driving force in the UK scene in 2000 with a 5-year slot on BBC’s Radio 1. With numerous charted tracks, countless press, great GLOBAL DJ support and an off-shoot label ‘Rekluse’, Fergie and friends are bringing an onslaught of new + RAW energetic sound.
Visao: You have been getting a lot of support and requests to work on tracks for some of the industries heaviest hitters. Can you explain your process doing a remix vs. your original tracks?
Fergie: Yes, it’s been wicked that the music has been getting the support from everyone, so I’m very happy. I was never into the production side before, I was always DJing and I really enjoyed that side. When I left djing for BBC’s Radio 1, I wanted to take a step back and look at the way I was doing things. I wanted a change, so I decided to enroll in music production courses at the SAE college in Glasgow, where I got the opportunity to look at Reason and Ableton, it was good to get a bit more of an insight into the technology side of things. I have been working with Dave Robertson(Reset Robot) for the past 3 or 4 years, and he uses Reason, so it was good for me to get a bit of a knowledge of what was going on. Going into the studio has been the best. I feel the music I had been playing for the past 6 or 7 years, excited me to jump into the studio and get things started. It was the next natural step for me, to get in there and put some of my ideas down.
With remixes, I always like to keep as much as possible of the original parts, as I feel it is important to keep the original artists work visible. I see a remix as my interpretation of what I would do with all their parts to give it my particular twist. With regards to original music, we go into the studio and go through different sounds and pull it together. We don’t use pre-made loops, we just sort of jam away and see what happens. I always keep it to the harder end of things, as that’s were I’m at right now. If something isn’t really working after 20 or 30 mins I scrap it and just get something else going.
Visao: Speaking of remixes, you remixed the monumental classic track, Positive Education by Slam released in 1993. Pretty young for you, what’s your thought on the classic and what it meant for music at that time in the UK?
FERGIE: Yes, this was one of the first records I stole. I was about 12 or 13. I remember it well. I always found it hard to mix, that was probably because it didn’t go with the other music I was buying. Even though it didn’t go with my other music, it was a MUST play record, it just had every thing and was different at the same time. The remix, came about when Slam asked me to play at their Club Nite in Glasgow (Pressure). I asked the Slam, if I could have the parts to do a special one off mix just for my set at Pressure, when I finished the mix and sent it to them they got back to me and decided they wanted to release it. So, it was an unbelievable moment for me really. I think it would have been much more difficult to do the remix if they had asked me for a remix. I was making something just for my set, just for me, there was no pressure. I made a record that I thought would work well in my set, so of course, getting it then released was a big thing for me indeed!
Visao: What’s you current setup for gigs?
Fergie: Well, for the past 3 odd years, I have been using Serato, then Traktor Scratch then Traktor Scratch Pro with two midi controllers (Faderfox), but for the past few months I have gone back to CDs. I just wanted to go away from it for a while, and I have to say that I’ve been enjoying just taking my CDs to the clubs and getting straight on there with no messing about in the DJ booth setting this and that up. Traktor, is an amazing piece of kit, I’m not saying I wont go back there but for now I’m back, DJing like the cavemen used to, it seems! How times have changed, when I first started my first decks were Cloud 9, all in one, DJ console with 2 belt driven decks and the only pitch control you had was 33 & 45. I used to jam a bit of my cigarette packet in-between the pitch in-order to get a slight variation, not that it made much difference as my mixing, well to be honest there probably wasn’t much mixing then, Ha!
Visao: Looks like you guys have some stuff cooking at Excentric & Rekluse. Reset Robot, Mr. Henry Von and you, what are you guys up to?
Fergie: Well, yes. I’m very happy the way Excentric has been received through the music, the club nites and the agency. We have a few new guys on there from Erphun (LA), Laura Heath (Nottingham), Hans Bouffmyhre (Scotland) and Psycatron (Belfast) everything is going well, these guys are releasing some awesome music, so yeah, all is good on that front. Check out myspace.com/excentricartists
With regards to Henry Von, I have started Rekluse with him so yeah we do it between us really got some exciting ne stuff coming up there and also Henry is about to mix the 1st anniversary comp so keep an eye out for that he has also got some new remixes coming out on Excentric in a few weeks. Dave ( Reset Robot ) is a genius he has had some great music out over the past while and next up on Excentric its a colab he has done with Christian Smith its called Elixer it comes with remixes from Henry Von and Gary Beck its quite a big club banger… I’ve been hammering it out for the past few months.
Visao: What are the biggest obstacles and rewards with managing labels and releases?
FERGIE: In this day and age, it’s quite easy to get a label sorted to be honest, there are so many outlets for it and it’s very easy once you’re in the swing of things to get every thing uploaded and do the promo, we use FATT DROP to get it out to the djs. We still do vinyl also, which I’m happy about as I just think its important to give people the option how long that will last, I don’t know as the demand isn’t what it used to be but we will press on with it any way.
Visao: How is your current night going, The Pod?
FERGIE: The Pod ( tripod ) is in Dublin, we will be doing “Shine” in Belfast and events in Matter in London next year, so there will be lots going on. It’s great to get everyone from the agency on board and also some bigger guests, it’s just a good party with all your friends and great chance to hook up with everyone.
Visao: What are you thoughts on Soundcloud? Beatport? Future of digital distribution?
FERGIE: I think these are all great and yes we get lots of music sent from people from Soundcloud, unsigned stuff for Excentric and Rekluse so yeah I think its very important to have all these sites. I think were going through the best time with all the new software whether you want to use it or not its exciting to see that things are being pushed to the max and that the possibilities are endless…. the way people from all over the world can get access to great music no matter where you are is just mind-blowing!
Visao: We first heard your “Reset Robot – Softie remix” in King Unique’s Transitions mix, early this year and has become, like many for us, one of our favorite tracks. What are your thoughts about a remix, should it retain certain % of the original or be open to go anywhere?
FERGIE: Yeah as I said earlier I think its important to keep a certain part of the original in there but also to put your twist on it. With the Softie remix we used all the original parts but added an arpeggiated sound through it just to twist it up a bit and we also changed the bpm a little
Visao: Can you give us a production tip of the month?
FERGIE: Production tip.. um for me, we have been rinsing the Thor in Reason its a semi modular synth we get some crazy stuff out of that.
Visao: Any artist(s) that has consistently inspired you with either their works or what they stand for?
FERGIE: I think like many of djs and producers the Leftfield album Leftisam is a true classic and never seems dated, or you never get tired of listening to it, its true perfection from the first trak to the last.
In terms of new djs/producers, as I said before Reset Robot is the nuts and has some awesome music nearly ready to drop on sci + tec. I think Alan Fitzpatrick has been making some incredible music check out his new EP on Drumcode, and of course Mr. H.
Fergie – Excentric Sessions Mix
[audio:http://www.visaomedia.com/audio/Fergie – Excentric Sessions July 2009.mp3]