House Music Through the Lens of Ferreck Dawn: An Exclusive Interview
Dec 13, 2023
8 min read
In a career that extends beyond 21 years, Ferreck Dawn has emerged as a key player in house music. His journey from the tactile era of vinyl to the expansive digital age exemplifies adaptability and innovation. His alliance with the esteemed Defected Records has not only bolstered his profile but also aligned him with the forefront of quality house music. As we gear up to delve deeper, Ferreck's reflections on his experiences, challenges, and the evolution of his sound promise a comprehensive look into the life of a modern house music influencer.
In this exclusive interview, Ferreck opens up about his creative process, the nuances of playing to different audiences, and the personal significance behind some of his most impactful tracks. He also shares his excitement about collaborating with industry legends and looks forward to future projects that continue to shape his distinguished career in music. As we explore his insights and stories, we gain a unique perspective on what it takes to remain relevant and successful in the landscape of house music.
Over the past 17 years, how have you seen the house music landscape change, and where do you fit within its current tapestry?
I’ve been DJ'ing since I was 17 (so that’s actually 21 years now) and it’s definitely changed a lot. I loved the vinyl days back then, going to the record shop every week on the hunt. Things change and even though that charm is gone, it’s amazing how much music is available to you right now. Pro's and con's to everything.
The past years I’ve seen certain sub genres come and go but the one genre that’s super consistent to me is house. Great to see how well it’s still doing after all these years. I’ve been producing and playing house music for about 16 years now and since it’s still very relevant, I feel I fit right in.
Being associated with the globally renowned label Defected, what unique experiences or opportunities has this collaboration brought your way?
It’s been a true pleasure working with Defected for the past five years. I’m super happy to be associated with them, they are the biggest house music label in the world and stand for quality house music. So to be associated with that is amazing. We recently further solidified our working relationship with a 12 single record deal and a publishing deal.
I love working with them, they know how to push records and throw amazing events. I literally traveled the world with them, from the US to Australia and Asia, the Middle East and all throughout Europe. Being part of the label and their events I’ve played amazing venues like Printworks London, Savaya Bali and the Ivy in Sydney.
With house music's rich history and myriad of influences, how do you manage to maintain a modern pulse in your tracks?
I try to get inspired by current music. I’m a big fan of r&b, hip hop, and even though I love the oldies, the new wave is very interesting and inspiring. Another thing I’m trying to do recently is also dip into different sub genres of house music to keep it interesting and challenging.
How do you feel about sharing the lineup with a house music titan like Todd Terry for the upcoming event?
Super happy to be playing with Todd Terry. He’s a true legend in the game and an amazing guy. We did a track together last year and I recently played at his event during ADE. The energy that night was insane, definitely one of my favorite shows ever so I can not wait for us to go at it again in New York!
Kittball Records is another elite label you've released on. How has working with different labels shaped your production style?
I’ve released on a lot of labels that each have their own ‘sound / direction’. Sometimes you are working on something and feel ‘this could be something for label X or label Y. I don’t intentionally try to make something specific for a certain label. I just jam in the studio and see what comes out.
From your perspective, what sets European house scenes apart from the American ones, and how do you cater to both audiences?
I love both audiences, they are a bit different indeed. House music has been so popular in Europe for the past 30 years, we literally grew up with it as kids as it was always in the top 40, European crowds tend to also know the older tunes well. In the US I usually like to play a bit more driving and a bit more r&b influenced.
Can you tell us about a track or project of yours that holds particular sentimental value?
I released a track in 2014 together with my friend Redondo called "Love Too Deep". That track went to the BBC daytime playlist and did incredibly well in the UK. I made me decide to quit my daytime job and fully devote all my time to music so that track is special to me.
Another track that holds a special place in my heart is "In Arms’" together with Robosonic. We released it in April 2018 and it blew up in the club circuit. It was one of the most played songs in Ibiza that season and my first release on Defected. That track literally changed my life as I started working closely with Defected after that song.
Being in the industry for nearly two decades, what have been some significant challenges, and how did you overcome them?
Well COVID was a massive challenge of course, for the whole music industry. I managed to get through it by doing loads of remixes for majors. So I’m happy I was able to make a living that way at that time.
What I find most challenging about the job is loneliness. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing job and I’m super happy I was able to transform my hobby into my profession, but I do find traveling alone hard at times.
People see the picture or video of the event but that’s only two hours of the day. Traveling around the world, away from my wife and kids is what I find the most difficult part of the job. FaceTime to the rescue :)
What's your take on the rapid digitization of music and its impact on DJs and producers?
I don’t have a problem with it at all. Times change and we all have to roll with it. As mentioned, I loved the vinyl days but everything evolves. I don’t really see a negative impact of it on producers and DJ's. For producers it’s great that plug-ins and samples are more accessible compared to the very expensive hardware back in the day. For DJs it means a lot more music to choose from.
Are there any upcoming collaborations or projects you're particularly excited about that fans should anticipate?
I’m super excited about a collaboration I have coming up with Meduza and Clementine Douglas. I’ve been a fan of Meduza for a few years. I played with them a number of times and the guys are great. I really enjoyed our studio session in London and I can not wait to release the result. Also a true pleasure to work with Clementine Douglas, what a beautiful voice.
You've achieved a lot in your career. Is there a specific milestone or moment that you're especially proud of?
I used to go to Ibiza every year in my early twenties, visiting all the clubs, dreaming of playing there one day. So to be regular on the island now and having played almost every club on the island is truly amazing, literally a dream come true.
In addition, playing iconic venues like Printworks London, Fabric London, Space Miami and festivals like Tomorrowland, EDC Las Vegas, and Creamfields is incredible. Music wise I’m super happy with the results the past years, great to see so many people around the world enjoying my music.
What's your process when creating a new track, from initial idea to final mix down?
I prefer to start with the vocal and build the backing track around it. The vocal can be an original top line or a sample, I love working with both. Then it’s finding the right chords and bass line to go with the vocal and off we go.
If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Producer wise I’d love to work with Pharrell Williams, Dr. Dre and Dark child. Phenomenal producers would love to work with them. Singer wise I’d love to work with the Weeknd and Whitney Houston. What a voice she had, unreal. Name three things that you think should be free in nightlife.
Water, toilet visits and beer ;)
Finally, for individuals unfamiliar with your music, which three tracks would you suggest they listen to as an introduction to your sound?