THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE HIGHLY PERSONAL QUESTIONNAIRE: Ferocious

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THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE HIGHLY PERSONAL QUESTIONNAIRE: Ferocious

Ferocious is the trio of Bill Direen, Johannes Contag and guitarist Mark Williams. Ferocious is also the name of their debut album which Elsewhere highly recommends for its mix of poetry, spoken word, song, experimental musical settings and dark intellect.

In our review we noted the backgrounds to the players and here the trio speak with one voice as they answer some personal questions.


Where did you grow up, and with whom?

Ferocious grew in Wellington. However many of our early memories were shaped by extended spells in the Southern badlands.

Was music an important part of your childhood?

Music was essential. We integrated a spoken-word element from the start.

What are your earliest childhood memories of music which really affected you . . .

Mr Whippy’s ‘Greensleeves’, from whence music was forever equated with panic.

Was there a time when you felt it was going to be music and nothing else?

It was always music, and something else -- a unique word/technology thing. (But we’re always open to offers.)

When you started on your music career were people around you supportive or did you have to find those people?

People around us were supportive from the start. Friends made the effort to come and hear this new beast. Later gigs were supported by the organiser of festivals like Rising Tides. Later, the Pyramid Club in Wellington supported by recording us in its then studio. In terms of label interest, Rattle has been a pillar of support.

The first song of yours which you really felt proud of was . . .? And why that one?

Blue Rain was our first song. It happened spontaneously, and took us by surprise. We realised that, almost without really trying, we could produce music that did not resemble what other people were doing at the time.

Any one person you'd call a mentor, angel on your shoulder or invaluable fellow traveller?

Dan Beban, at the recording stage. Excellent feedback came from people like filmmaker Chris Todd, DJ Steve Dean and Radio Celeste mastermind Sally McIntyre. And now Steve Garden of Rattle.

Where and when was the first time you went on stage as a paid performer?

We first played at a place called Watusi around behind some brick buildings near Manners Street in Wellington, former site of a French restaurant called Ma Maison. The suggestion cooking gave us a great appetite to go get some cuisine after playing, if only our earnings had been great enough.

Ever had stage fright or just a serious failure of nerve before going on stage?

No, we do not suffer from that. Not yet.

As a songwriter, do you carry a notebook or have a phone right there constantly to grab ideas they come? Or is your method something different?

Each of our heads composed in self-isolation before we congregate. Then we found the right place and moment to mix the pre-compositions together to make the cake greater than the ingredients.

What unfashionable album do you love as a guilty pleasure?

A 12" vinyl record by Taranaki United Artists (Rocketeers, The Hi-Glows) called 'On Stage'. Blue ÖysterCult - Agents of Fortune. Roxy Music’s For Your Pleasure.

ferociousAny piece of advice you were given which you look back on which really meant something?

Respect the soundperson.

It's after a concert and you are in a hotel room or back at home, what happens then?

Sleep. Wake up with a jolt, remember a certain 'thing too much' you said to some audience member after playing. Remember how soon you must get up. Breathe more slowly, get more tired. Sleep.

Is there any fellow artist you admire for professional and/or personal reasons?

Peter Stapleton and Stephen Cogle of the Terminals. Dave Edwards, for sheer persistence. Delaney Davidson for unwavering dedication.

And finally, where to from here for you do you think?

We have no plans. But hey! we had no plans when we began. 

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