Right place, right time. It’s an old cliché, but it’s one that’s been the definition of Dennis Ferrer’s musical career. Just as the dance music world was heading into the world of afro-centric house, Ferrer was there. And then, when it began to embrace the mix of tech and soul, Ferrer was there again, leading the way with his impeccable productions.
Dennis Ferrer has been crafting techno records in the mid-’90s as Morph and then had success in the Afro and gospel house scenes with releases via his Sfere label, an imprint he began alongside Kerri Chandler. It’s this past work that gives his new productions such resonance: unlike many of this house peers, Ferrer’s techno experience has given him an edge that you can hear in his recent work.
Ferrer has brought his ‘anything goes’ approach to his label, Objektivity. Celebrating its 9th anniversary in 2015, the imprint has thus far focused itself on vocals, featuring often unlikely turns from indie heroes like Ane Brun and Télépopmusik. Low slung and deep, Objektivity is a cutting-edge label in touch with its time, putting a uniquely American spin on the deep house revival that is currently making waves in Europe. Objektivity is a living, breathing thing – one that’s set to drop bombs on the dance floor for years to come.
2015 will mark the release of his much anticipated full length artist album ‘Paranoia Aftermath’. With a deep knowledge of the past and a constant push for the future, Ferrer remains one of the true greats of house music – a leader and innovator whose enjoying the buzz around him but keeping on pushing the limits.
Ahead of his Viva Warriors headlining performance at Sankeys Ibiza on August 16 and 23, we spoke to Ferrer about his memories on the island, the resurgence of New York City’s dance scene, and much more.
“I’ll relax when the good lord tells me its time to relax. Until then I’m just doing what I know how to do….play and make records.”
Can you walk us through a gig day on Ibiza? How do you prepare? Do you have any pre/post gig rituals?
Since I normally arrive the day of the gig…I usually try to recover a bit. Sleeping up to 3 hours before the gig sometimes is the norm. After this comes the normally frantic chase for new music.[laughs] I personally hate to prepare sets….they rarely work out. I prefer to feel the moment which is taking chances but to me that’s what dj’ing is all about….chances and emotions. I normally don’t eat before gigs as I feel it makes me tired when I play…I prefer to eat afterwards[laughs] So my pre/post gig rituals are actually quite boring. [laughs]
When did you come to Ibiza for the first time? In your view, how has the Island evolved since then?
I honestly can’t remember [laughs] It might have been the early 00’s or late 90’s. I’ve lost too many braincells at this point…I have a hard time remembering what I ate yesterday!!! It’s funny…I don’t see that much of a change except for a few housing developments and a few new clubs. What’s changed is the cost of living and the cost of doing business. That’s put a big hurt on the local Iberican lifestyle.
I read that you don’t like working on your computer and with your headphones. First of all, how do you prefer to work? How do you reconcile with this while on the road?
I’m old school in this regard. I just can’t seem to get into it. Whatever I make on headphones NEVER translates into what I then hear on my studio monitors. It’s just frustrating. I also get bored so easily trying to work on the road. I need to be comfortable. Making music to me is way too personal and being in a hotel room is not my ideal situation. So I just wait until I get home. It’s not ideal…but it is what it is. At this point making records is not a financial decision to be carried out but a desire and want.
You’re often described as a “gearhead”. What are some of your current go-to pieces of gear? What is a piece of gear you cannot live without in the studio and/or in the booth?
I have way too much gear and all of them are classic vintage pieces that I’ve carefully acquired according to their usefulness for me. Pretty much all I have is my go to gear. I tend to get rid of stuff that isn’t. Now..there are some “babies” that I have….like my Octave Plateau Voyetra 8 or my Memorymoog or PPG Wave 2.2 that I love…lol.
As a label head, what do you look for in an Objektivity record? What about personality traits on artists? Do you have a pertain personality type you find Objektivity gravitates toward?
We try to look for quality finished records….not tracks. There’s a huge difference in this. Making records is an art form…making tracks? Anyone can do that. We don’t want to follow trends…yet we want to remain current…so we try to find what I consider interesting records yet not so obvious. It’s quite interesting that you’ve mentioned personality traits…..as this is honestly a BIG factor in signing records for us. You leave your ego at the door…or we just don’t open it. We don’t care who you are. I love normal people who do this who have realistic goals and are humble enough to judge their work with a fair mentality. I honestly hope we attract like minded individuals.