‘Dreamy, deceptively lovely folk-pop that tickles the ear and softens you up for the thornier sentiments contained therein. Pretty as a California sunset. Gorgeously dusky singing voice and immaculate harmonies.’ – Rolling Stone Magazine
Ferris & Sylvester are a London based duo made up of Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester. The two met as solo musicians, battling through the carnage that is London’s vibrant music scene and started writing together. In early 2016, Ferris & Sylvester’s thoughtfully crafted song writing caught the ear of legendary producer Youth (Paul McCartney/The Verve/ Crowded House). The pair recorded their first record ‘The Yellow Line EP’ with Youth in his Space Mountain Studios, Spain. With clear references in their catchy folk setup to the mid-60s sounds of NYC’s Greenwich Village such as Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel, the duo also sit firmly amongst contemporaries like Laura Marling and Ray Lamontagne. Their clever combination of Archie’s blues influence and Issy’s soft folk tone has created a distinctive genre of their own.
‘We were both part of the same music scene in Camden until eventually we met and started doing some writing together. Since then, we’ve spent most of our days locked away in Archie’s bedroom, writing and recording. Early last year, we took our scruffy demos and unpolished material over to see legendary producer Martin ‘Youth’ Glover and stumbled through a few new songs in his front room. A few months later, we were recording our debut EP with Youth and his amazing team in his studio in Sierra Nevada. It’s been a great year – touring Ireland, releasing our EP, and working with some incredible people.’
As people, rather than musicians, what do each of you bring to Ferris & Sylvester? – Graffiti Punctuated
Issy brings the sparkle and Archie brings the grit. We both work really hard. Archie’s attention to detail combined with Issy’s creativity makes us tick. But we both bring a lot of passion. And humour.
How do you write your songs as a duo? – GIGsoup
We have no formula. Sometimes, one of us will have come up with a nearly complete idea and we’ll finish it together. Other times we start completely from scratch but we both contribute equally. The one rule we have is we have to feel the song works on acoustic guitar and vocals. Until we’re completely happy with the song in its most basic form, it doesn’t go anywhere near a recording studio. We are completely honest with each other and that results in better song writing. We know each other so well, there’s no need to hold back. We make each other feel comfortable enough to make mistakes and voice our crazy ideas.
What are some of your inspirations? – GIGsoup
We listen to a lot of music. We both grew up listening to our Dads’ album collections so some of our influences are pretty old school. Issy grew up on a strict diet of Dylan and Christy Moore whereas Archie spent his teenage years trying to be Jimi Hendrix! We both love Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell and Ryan Adams. And Prince. We love Prince. By combining our influences, we think we’ve found our sound.
How did it feel when Youth first reached out to you? What is it about your music that he connected with? – Graffiti Punctuated
It felt great to work with Youth, but it took quite a while. Archie had known Youth for a year or so when he was doing his solo stuff. He used to go round and play Youth his new songs, only for him to say they were rubbish! Then we went as a pair in early 2016 and played Youth ‘Save Yourself’ and ‘Berlin’ which turned out to be our first two singles. It felt pretty good when he eventually said he liked what we were doing. Youth connected with our song writing and he felt that we had a vulnerability about us. We were only just starting up so there was room to develop and grow.
What did you hope Youth would bring to your songs? Is there anything he did once you were in studio that surprised you? – Graffiti Punctuated
We hoped he’d bring our songs to life. We knew that Youth would take them the extra mile and really stretch us creatively; get us out of our comfort zones. He taught us how important it is to be brave and open minded with our songs. Youth would always be thinking where else we could take it – his creativity is endless. We were surprised with how intense and detailed working with him and his team was. The two of us worked closely with Youth’s engineer, Michael Rendall who was immensely talented. We worked very long days. But it was the most amazing experience. We stayed at his Space Mountain Studios which looked over Sierra Nevada and every night, we sat down and had a great meal with his team before turning off all the lights and listening back to our day’s work.
This is the first of many records from us. We are constantly writing and developing so follow us on our journey and we will try and keep you entertained with our music. We also love a Guinness and a pale ale so come along to a gig and have a beer with us.
Love from Issy and Archie x
‘They are exquisite songwriters’ – Music Is My Radar
‘I very much look forward to their musical journey and plan to go along for the ride.’ – Building Our Own Nashville
‘A vocal treasure’ – Breaking and Entering
‘They have all the softness and soul of Joni Mitchell but there is something glorious about the moment that Ferris’ vocal is joined by the smooth, deep, velvetiness of Sylvester.’ – Listen With Monger
‘You would assume the duo have played together for decades.’ – Artree