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John Ferris, All round industry man and still a party boy

Author: michelle pirovich
Thursday, 16 May 2002
Rarely do you come across someone whose involvement in the music industry spans across every possible facet imaginable. Even more rare is to find a person in such a position who holds no prejudice and with no loss whatsoever of their sense of fun. I'm talking about Sydney based John Ferris, DJ, club promoter, part time producer, remixer, writer, radio DJ and record label manager.

Over the phone John is one very laid back guy, but in an enthusiastic kind of way. He is just as interested in what I do as I am about him so some getting to know you chatter sets in and I know I'm in for a good interview.

John's start in djing came from a somewhat destructive experience. 'I had a massive house party and I was playing the tunes, the house was filled to the rafters...it was completely mad. Then the balcony got smashed to bits, my fish tank, along with my poor fish which were well, a bit damaged and so were most of my records.' 'Finding my records destroyed the next morning was no way near as funny as I found it the night before.' So John did what any self respecting, record preserving dj would do and asked around at a few clubs and bars if he could play some parties. A few gigs turned into a regular thing as the word spread and people began approaching John to play at their parties.

Back then John's style was very mixed, playing everything from r&b to acid and there was also his obsession with the music of the 50s and 60s. This gradually led into the happy hardcore days but eventually playing just to see how fast you could get your bpm on the speedometer all got a little old. John then moved more into the techno side of things and now enjoys a good mix of styles, trance, acid, and progressive.

Which is quite funny knowing that John has just completed one half of the third HardNRG album from Ministry of Sound alongside Melbourne's Jason Midro. John saw the whole thing as both a little odd and even somewhat of a risk from Ministry's point of view. 'I'm not a hard house or NRG dj. I'm more into progressive, acid, and trance but I was still up for it.'

There was no collaboration between John and Jason. 'Midro sent me a tracklisting so I knew where he was going and I went from there.' John wasn't willing to completely compromise his musical integrity, after all it is John's name on that cd 'You will notice the album starts off quite trancey but it does eventually get harder in the style of the previous NRG albums in the series.

Tracks from the underrated Tom Wax and Green Velvet are John's favourite 'I love a good spoken word record' Tom Wax's 'And then it hit me' talks of the drug induced journey of a clubber. 'The beats just get harder and madder as the speakers night comes to a peak, it's an awesome track.'

John's outlook on drugs in dance culture, like his attitude to the dance scene on a global level is open and honest. 'Drugs are a part of dance culture and its time that society looked at it in a mature fashion and we start to get educated properly instead of just pretending its not there.'

The conversation drifts over to the club scene in both Melbourne and Sydney. John already having a pretty good idea of what's going on here in Melbourne makes sure the gaps are filled in exchange for the best places to go when in Sydney.

Admitting that hard house in Sydney has probably reached its peak and is now losing momentum, he reassures me 'There is still plenty hard edge music rolling out of the clubs all week long' and this boy should now. John loves clubbing, nearly every night you will see him out somewhere, be it before or after he has played a set (John is resident at Plastik on Fridays.) or on his nights off. But is it for business or pleasure- 'I do keep a bit of a professional ear to the ground but I'm no trainspotter, I just love going out.'

Moving back to the new cd and John is all revved up for the NRG tour with Jason which kicks off in Adelaide. 'I'm looking forward to it, seeing how the crow
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