We recently covered Fergal's latest single "Golden Sky"which along with his latest album demonstrated his versatility as a musician. Fergal has released a lot of music over the years and In today's spotlight interview we take a closer look at the story behind his latest releases as well as the story behind the artist.
1. How did you start in music? Being an Irish artist, there is a lot of incredible talent that has come from the country over the years. Have you always been creative and played instruments?
"I started playing guitar around the age of 10 when my uncle gave me a Christmas present of an old classical nylon string. I soon got lessons from a local guitarist, learning basic chords and songs, such as “The House of the Rising Sun” and “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. I then joined my first band in secondary school and I was on my way. We were a rock covers band called “Nemesis”, playing songs from bands such as Nirvana, AC/DC and Guns N’Roses. I started seriously writing my own songs when I went solo in my mid-twenties, which would have been around 200-2001 direction. And yes for sure, some outstanding artists have and continue to come out of Ireland. We are a very musical country. Singing and playing in embedded in our DNA. For example a band from my hometown, Limerick, The Cranberries, which in global terms is a very small city, went on to become one of the biggest bands in the world!"
2. Your sound is truly unique and blends various genres, what inspired your sound and music? "I’ve always liked the bands that combine uptempo guitar hooks, with catchy vocal melodies and pumping drums and bass. So the one's I’ve mentioned, along with Manic Street Preachers, The Stone Roses, Oasis, The Pixies and Primal Scream, that kind of vibe. But I also like more acoustic based singer/songwriters such as Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams and Josh Ritter. So I try to combine elements of both those styles, both collectively and separately. Most of the songs I write can be recorded and performed both electrically and acoustically. I enjoy the flexibility that gives me as a performer."
3. What was the intention and message with your latest single and album? "I think both the song and the album are quite positive. The “Golden Sky” symbolises hope for the future, which is very relevant in the times we are living in. Other songs on the album such as “Top Of The league”, “On The Front Foot” and “Rewards” embrace themes like ambition, moving forward with intent and hard work. And the music behind them reflects that. It’s catchy and pumps and soars. There are some quieter moments as well. The last song “They’re Calling For You” is a gentle acoustic tribute to my mother, who sadly passed away in 2018.It seems to really have touched people who have also lost loved one’s, especially a parent."
4. When it comes to the writing and production process do you find it easy to find direction and begin writing? "As I’ve gotten older yes. In the early days it was quite a struggle, figuring out a style and a voice. It was really hard work just to finish writing any song, never mind a good one. But persistence pays off. It’s no different to any endeavour in life, the more you do it, the better you get. So over the years my singing, guitar playing and songwriting have all developed significantly, to the point where decent melodies, lyrics, hooks, and chord progressions come easier and faster to me. As for the production side of things, I have my own studio. I studied sound engineering in college, so I have a decent understanding of recording and mixing techniques. But again that is something that has improved a lot over time, especially with the aid of online tuition. My recordings are consistently improving."
5. Looking at the visual for your latest single Golden Sky, we see a lot of various scenes with an actress and you playing in different locations, did you come up with the idea for the video? How did the whole thing come about? "Yes. If you listen to the lyrics it’s based on a fictional female character who is going through a bit of a mid-life crisis, just reflecting on her decisions in life, whether they were correct or not, but still hoping she has time in the future to fix some of the wrong ones. It could be to do with relationships, career, home location, whatever. So it’s all “She” this and “She” that. Apart from the fact that I don’t want myself or anyone else to have to look at only my mug for three and a half minutes (lol!), it would have been ridiculous not to have a woman playing the lead. So I came across a great actress called April Genadivia on the website Fiverr. I sent her the song and lyrics, gave her a briefing of the type of role I wanted her to play and the type of shots I was looking for, and she absolutely nailed it! She took all the shots at her home in Spain herself on her mobile phone, sent them to me and walla! I had all I needed to mix with my screaming at the camera footage (which I shot myself at home in Limerick) to make the cut. I couldn’t have been happier with her performance and the final result."
6. Do you take inspiration from other artists from the past? "Of course. You have to. And different elements of different one’s as well. For example Guitar? Berry, Hendrix, Page, Marr. Energy combined with melody? Cobain. Lyrics? Morrissey. Soft harmonies and nice acoustic guitar chord progressions? Young. Singing (and guitar) James Dean Bradfield. I could go on and on. The key thing to do is to take the best characteristics of all your favourite artists, both past and present, mix them up, but most importantly, combine them with your own unique style and voice, and hopefully come up with original songs that will both excite and move listeners emotionally. "
7. You've been busy, keeping consistently active with your releases over the years, what should we expect from you this year? "At the moment I am very much focusing on the on the whole promo/media/social media side of things (hence doing this interview!) Over the years I have spent too much time in the studio trying to perfect my art, which is all well and good, but pretty pointless if nobody ever hears it, unless you’re just doing it as a pass-time. With the lockdown it’s something I can do from home easily. I need to let people know who I am, what I’m about, what inspires me, background to the music ect. And of course get people hearing it, sending tracks and promo emails to radio, TV, online streaming services ect. Also branding, getting my photos, logo and image out there. Increasing my followers across all platforms, more subscribers on youtube for instance. It’s a lot of work, but I don’t mind it, it’s filling my days and starting to pay off. Numbers are going up, feedback and interaction is increasing, and networking is proving hugely beneficial. I have also been recording and rehearsing some new songs in the studio, so an E.P before the year's out is a possibility. I’m also hoping to get back to live performance at some stage if it’s permitted, but that still looks a long way off. But when it is, a small local, national and international tour in support of "Golden Sky" is hopefully on the horizon, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for that!" 8. Obviously live performances are restricted right now for many artists, do you plan to do any live online shows in the near future? "Yes I’ll probably do a few. I did some last year. It’s something to keep you occupied and rehearsed from a live point of view, and hopefully create some fan engagement. But nothing compares to the experience of performing live in front of real people present “in the moment” at a proper gig in a venue. I think the absence of audiences at these livestream gigs has really highlighted their importance. It’s just not the same. The atmosphere is flat. One thing I did last year, and hope to do more of in 2021, is busking. Some people might turn their noses up at it, and I did in the past, but it’s a way of getting you and your music in front of real people passing by on the streets, bringing in some badly needed income and selling your CD’s and merch. They're not going to sell at home in the garage!"
9. Artistically what are your aspirations? Do you plan on touring or collaborating with other artists in the future? "Well I touched on the touring in a previous answer. As for collaborating, yes that’s a possibility. I obviously have a jammed a lot with local musician friends in the past, which I love. It’s a great way of networking and supporting each other. I haven’t done any online collaborative writing or performance yet, but it’s something I’m considering for sure. It’s a good way of getting your music in front of another artists audience, and vice versa, so watch this space as they say!"
10. Do you have anything to say for your fans and followers?
"Firstly, thanks for all your support over the years, coming to gigs, buying merch and CD’s,
busking tips, streaming songs, watching videos, commenting on tweets, posts ect. It’s
what keeps me going, the feeling that you're connecting with people and your music is making a difference in their
lives. And just to nicely ask people to continue doing that. Please follow, friend request and subscribe to my mailing list.
I’m always available for chat and advice, and love feedback. And please purchase my audio CD
at https://fergalnash.bandcamp.com. It’s the only way to hear the album in full."
And thanks to Artist Central for the opportunity to speak to you!
Further links below:
Golden Sky Youtube https://youtu.be/-04wDGi7-u0
Golden Sky Spotify
Soundcloud Profile: https://soundcloud.com/fergalnash-gmail-com
Youtube Profile: https://www.youtube.com/Fergo10