A sit Down With DJ Fergie
Fergie DJ has had many sounds, identities and even a brief name change over the course of a career that began over twenty years ago back home in Northern Ireland but has undoubtedly remained one of dance-musics most controversial, most successful and most loved characters.
For all lovers of dance music who live outside the U.S., the name Fergie can mean only one thing and it has nothing to do with the Black Eyed Peas. As a key figure in the European electronic dance music circuit for over 20 years, Fergie has done more in his career that most active DJs on todays scene.
He played over 180 shows last year across the world, making him one of the worlds busiest DJs. He played his first set at 14 years old and had to stand on a milk crate to reach the decks. He has had over 38 tracks released, 27 remixes, seven DJ mix albums, four magazine cover CDs, and one artist album, which won the IDMA Best Album 2011.
"I think its good to have a sound but to also be flexible, people want to hear different things now so its good to keep moving about with styles but still try and have your own."
Do people still make a big issue of the Fergie name thing? I read that when you first came out here, people were being a little abusive because they thought you stole it from her?
Well, first of all, I never picked the name Fergie, I actually had an even more stupid name! When I started DJing all those years ago, I wanted to be called DJ Destruction! Back then in the very early 90s DJs made up more interesting names, but people refused to use it and "Wee Fergie" just stuckWee because I have an older brother with the same nameand Im now very glad I took their advice.
You've had so many experiences as a DJ over the past 20 years, what is the biggest lesson you've learnt along the way?
I think it would have to be to remember that people are coming out on a weekend to party and have a good time, it's important to bring new music to the party but you have to give people what they want. I suppose I lost that a few times over my career. To get the right mix is very important, for me Tony always had the right mix and also Carl Cox.
How different is the scene in the U.S. now compared to when you first came here all those years ago?
Its such a contrast now from 1998 when I first started playing in America. I was just 18 and it was a very different scene as the clubs never played dance music like they did in Europe. That made it difficult for DJs like me to play the kind of music we were known for. Back then I would have been playing here in the U.S. every few months but there was no real sign of the dance scene kicking off. What a difference a decade makes, the U.S. is now the biggest market in the world for it.
What do you think of the "EDM" sound thats taken over the country?
I love it because its so similar to the hard house sound I played when I was starting out which is great from me. Granted its slower, but its also similar in the ways that its reaching out to a larger demographic of people who would never usually listen to dance music and thats only a good thing. The best thing about this EDM sound, if you want to call it that, is that its open to change. Theres so much you can do with it which stops people getting bored with it.
Are you excited to be back spinning the vinyl? When was the last time you played an all vinyl set?
Yes this is something I'm excited about for sure, I'm a bit apprehensive but looking forward to getting right at it. I remember how I felt when I mixed my first 2 vinyls together, I had managed to beat-match for the first time then I remember I couldn't get it right for ages, I think possibly weeks, it was very frustrating. I remember telling everyone about it, my only saving grace was my brother was with me so he was my proof. It sounds a bit silly now but it was a big thing to beat-match nearly 20 years ago. I remember when I came over to Tonys he used to get me to do a mix for the car journey to all the gigs on each weekend, if he ever heard me touching the actual vinyl to keep the beats in time he would open the window and chuck the CD out. It took me a while but I got used to only using the pitch. This was a very Trade way and the only way I ever seen all the Trade DJs control the decks.
Youve changed your styles throughout your career. Do you enjoy experimenting with your sound?
As a DJ you should try your hand at many different styles. Dont get me wrong, there are many successful artists out there, some of whom Im very good friends with, who stick to what theyve been playing for their whole careers. Thats fine and good on them, but for me, Ive always wanted to try different things. Thats what Ive gone through what feels like three different careers in my time as a DJ.
Is it true you played your first gig standing on a milk crate aged 14?
Yes I was only 14 when I did my first gig. At that age, I didnt really know what was happening, I was just out there having the time of my life. I used to work in the club collecting glasses at 14 would you believe it! Ive still got caution letters from the police from when Id been thrown out or tried to make myself a fake date of birth and my mum had to come and pick me up.
Do you prefer to be behind the decks or in the studio?
Just now Im really enjoying DJing. For years I was spending all my time in the studio and making my own techno tracks so I could play them out. The reason for that is because a lot of the techno around was too serious for me. The music that I made under my Excentric label had my own input like euphoric touches and a little bit more upbeat, something people associated with me as a person and artist.
Have you ever done anything like the Voyage before?
I havent. Ive done boat trips up and down the Thames but Ive never done anything like this. I just hope I make it back.
Where would we find you when you're not DJing or Producing?
I love just chilling out with friends talking about lifes experiences and just messing about playing old records from way back then.
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