The ClubPlanet Interview: Ferreck Dawn

The ClubPlanet Interview: Ferreck Dawn

by DJ Ron Slomowicz
03.10.2015

Yes, there are Dutch DJs who don’t make trance or EDM bangers.  Ferreck Dawn started in Hardstyle but followed his heart to make and play house and garage.   A move to Amsterdam opened doors, and he has slowly built his name with solid productions and unique live sets.  His track with Redondo, “Love Too Deep,” was a huge house record around the world, and follow-up “Something Else” is following along that path.  With all the success of the past year, Ferreck stays grounded and humble- which is a sure sign that there is a lot more great music to come.

RS: You are a Dutch DJ but you don’t make the EDM banging music, how does that happen?
Ferreck Dawn: When I started off at 16 years old, I used to play hardcore music that was 150 BPM. It is really popular in the southern part of Holland, but I realized that I didn’t want to do it anymore.  I moved to Amsterdam and started doing house music, but that was before the whole EDM thing kicked off. I have been doing it for a really long time and I started with house and deep house from the very beginning.

RS: What is happening right now is that it seems like the deep house from the UK is becoming bigger and bigger and you are perfectly in place for that. How does it feel to see all these Dutch guys starting to bring house music into their sound?
Ferreck Dawn: It’s great. The track that we did has a big garage influence in it, so I think that is the reason why the track did so well in the UK, I am happy to see that.

RS: When you did “Love Too Deep” with Redondo, did you have any idea that it would get as big as it did?
Ferreck Dawn: No, definitely not, we finished the track in about 4 or 5 hours and that was one of the tracks we finished the fastest. I told him that if the track didn’t do anything, then I didn’t know what to produce anymore because I felt that there was something there. What happened afterwards was something that I never expected, though. For me, success would have been a high Beatport ranking, but I never expected to go to BBC Radio One or anything like that.

RS: When you started the track, did you start with the vocal or did you start with the track?
Ferreck Dawn: I started with the vocal. I have a list of acapellas on my computer and I was just going through them, and I found this original track by Keyshia Cole. It was only 90 BPM and really slow, so I just sped it up a little bit and it sounded pretty cool. I added the organ to it, and Redondo and I teamed up and we made it in 4-5 hours.

RS: When you use a vocal from Keyshia Cole, how do you get that cleared?
Ferreck Dawn: Spinnin’ took over the other label, and they cleared it with publishing, so that we could have it resung. Kelly Leigh, who did Second City “I Wanna Feel” and Duke Dumont “I Got U,” was the one who sang the vocal and then we put that one on the original.

RS: Is “Love Too Deep” a good representation of the songs and music that you make?
Ferreck Dawn: Yes it is. I have a garage vibe lately, and some of them are a bit more underground and some more commercial, like “Love Too Deep,” but it is definitely representative of what I play.

RS:   So you are a house guy, do you do R&B also?
Ferreck Dawn: No, I just love to listen to it. There a lot of R&B artists from the US that I like to listen to, like The Weeknd and those guys, but I never play it out. I just play it for myself at home to enjoy it and I only play house music when I DJ.

RS: What are you working on in the studio right now?
Ferreck Dawn: A lot of new tracks, we did a couple of remixes and a lot of new tracks with some R&B influence and garage influence. A lot of new stuff is coming up.

RS: What was it like opening for Kylie Minogue in concert?

Ferreck Dawn: It was surreal, I have never played for 15-20 thousand people before so that was something else, and the O2 arena is a great venue of course. It was very different from a dance event, because they are coming for a pop star and they are waiting for her. Even though they might appreciate what you are doing, you are not the reason why they are there and you do feel that. It is still a great experience to look around and see all those people enjoying the music and it is unbelievable to be in front of all those people. 

RS: That’s incredible. You also have a new record coming out on Toolroom.
Ferreck Dawn: Yeah, it will come out the beginning of next year and we are finalizing everything. It has an R&B touch to it and it is a bit more underground than “Love Too Deep,” but definitely in the same spectrum. I think it will be out in about February or March.

RS: Another remix that you did recently was “Gold Skies” with DVBBS and like 35 people.
Ferreck Dawn: Yeah, it’s Martin Garrix, Sander Van DoornDVBBS, and the singer was Aleesia. The funny thing is that it is really an EDM track. When they asked us to do the remix we really had to listen to it and figure out which direction we were going to head with it, because of “Love Too Deep” and what people expect. It turned out pretty cool and has an old school house vibe to it and it did pretty well in the UK. We were lined up with guys like Tiesto and Dubvision, and so it is pretty much EDM, electro-ish remixes, and then you have us with the really deep 122 BPM tracks, We are very happy with the result and people responded well to it.

RS: Congratulations.  Of all the remixes that you have done so far, which one has been the most challenging?
Ferreck Dawn: I think “Gold Skies,” because most of the times you get remix requests from people that are kind of in the same kind of music, but this one was very different and we really had to buckle down for that one- but it turned out great.

RS:   You are saying “we,” is there someone else with you or do you do your own production?
Ferreck Dawn: I think it is confusing because Redondo and I like to work together, but we are not a set duo.  We are trying to steer away from that at the moment and not do everything together anymore. There are a lot of solo things from me coming up and a lot of solo things from him coming up. When I am in the studio, I do my music on my own and sometimes I just team up with Redondo, but I am on my own in my little bedroom/studio all the time.

RS: When you are in the studio with someone like Redondo, who controls the keyboard and how do you go back and forth like that?
Ferreck Dawn: The funny thing is that with me and Redondo, we barely come together for studio sessions. What we do is we create setups and then we send them back and forth on the internet, and if he likes something or if I like something, we break it down and then we send over the parts. We work in the same program, Cubase, and we can exchange the projects. Our workflow is like that most of the time and we send the project back and forth and add stuff. Sometimes we do get together but it just depends on whose studio we are in. If we are at my house then I control it, and if we are at his house then he controls it.

RS: Whoever owns the house owns the keyboard.  If you could work with any vocalist in any genre who would you want to work with?
Ferreck Dawn: I think it would be an R&B type of singer. I love the Keyshia Cole vocal and she really has a good energy and a good vibe. I love The Weeknd, and that would be superb, but D’Angelo would be the one. I love that old soul music and it would be an interesting match to see how that would go with deep house music.

RS: As Americans, when we see Dutch words sometimes, they are really funny to us and your real name is Freek?
Ferreck Dawn: I get that a lot, especially in England as well. You know the rapper Drake, if you replace the D with an F that is how you pronounce my name in Holland.

RS: Does that have a meaning in the Dutch language?
Ferreck Dawn: No, it is just a normal name and it doesn’t have any meaning.

RS: A bit of a personal question - is your head okay? I saw on twitter that you had an accident where you fell, what happened with that?
Ferreck Dawn: I don’t know- I bumped my head pretty badly. I had a bad cold and I was trying to drink something and I got up and bumped my head, it was stupid.

RS: Is this a side effect from touring too much?
Ferreck Dawn: Being very tired is a side effect and I have pneumonia at the moment. I am not complaining, because I love what I am doing right now. I quit my job 3 months ago to do this so I am really happy but it has been a struggle. I like a beer or two and that doesn’t help you when you are touring. Being hung over in a plane is one of the things that I hate the most.

RS: What were you doing as a job before you were DJing?
Ferreck Dawn: I was working at ID&T doing the big events for two years and I worked for a brief period at Armada, the label of Armin Van Buuren. When “Love Too Deep” kicked off, I couldn’t combine it anymore.  That is the reason why I quit and just started DJing all the time and producing music the entire week.

RS: Working for ID&T, you probably have lots of great connections to help you as well?
Ferreck Dawn: Yes, definitely, and a lot of cool people that definitely have an influence in the scene, but I don’t want to take advantage of that too much. They have the mentality of 'show us what you can do' and then they will see what will happen. They are very cool, though, and have booked me on Sensation Amsterdam two times already, so they are helping me out, but it is the same with all the other DJs from Holland. Just do your best, and if it fits the lineup then you will be included, but it’s not like I am booked at every event because I worked there. I think that they are kind of reluctant to do it, actually, because they don’t want to have the image that they chose people that worked for the company.

RS: One thing I love about you is your sense of style, and I just asked you to put your jacket on because it rocks. Where do your clothes come from?
Ferreck Dawn: I have a friend who has his own clothing brand called Somewear, and everything I am wearing is from Somewear. He asked me if I wanted to be his ambassador.  He sends me a big load of clothes every three months and tells me to see what I like and I wear them at my gigs to promote him. I get his clothes for free which is cool of course, it’s great stuff and also Swedish, so nobody in Holland wears it, so it is kind of unique here.

RS: You are 29; if you could go back and talk to yourself when you were 18 years old, what advice would you give yourself?
Ferreck Dawn: Be patient; don’t be pushy. If I look back at myself as an artist and how I tried to push my music to labels, I realize that I was a bit pushy. Just be patient and keep doing your own thing and don’t follow the trend, you can see where it got me now. It has been a good year so far and I haven’t really changed it up, I just keep doing the same thing. Definitely be patient because I realize that is one of my down falls.

RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Ferreck Dawn: Thank you for buying “Love Too Deep” and thanks for supporting me, a lot of new stuff is coming up so pay attention.

Interview conducted at Amsterdam Dance Event 2014.


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