DJ Fergie ‘performing with heart and soul again’
One of Northern Ireland’s most famous musical exports, DJ Fergie, has spoken to the Larne Times about the impact the pandemic has had on his career and how he is enjoying performing again.
The former Boyne Square man recently topped the Beatport Techno Peak Time Charts with his first techno track in over a decade, Alpha Centauri- available to download here
Released on Armin van Buuren’s Armind label on July 23, it is now third in the Beatport charts.
In a candid interview with our reporter, the superstar DJ said: “The last time I released a techno track was back in 2009 on my own record label, Excentric Muzik. The track was titled Rockin Musik. Oh man I have missed it so much! It feels so good to be home.
“Alpha came together quite quickly to be honest. I’ve spoken to you before about our big transition in 2020 (Click here to read Larne’s DJ Fergie ‘taking stock’ during coronavirus pandemic)
“I sold everything in my huge amazing home studio when we went into lockdown, along with our dream house and everything in it.
“I was able to see opportunity in the midst of all the craziness going on in the world and realised it was time to pivot; rid ourselves of our material possessions so that we could focus more on fewer things.
“The initial idea for Alpha came together while working on my laptop when we were in transition; living in the caravan between houses. It’s a beautiful thing to have walked away from seemingly everything, but with that came the realisation; that is what we had to do in order to free ourselves from the daily burden of unnecessary bills and material possessions that had been blanking out all creativity.”
Fergie’s latest track has taken the techno world by storm over the summer, after the east Antrim native teamed up with Dutch DJ and producer, Armin van Buuren.
Fergie added: “James Hiett, head of A&R at Armada is an old school raver who used to come to my shows back in the day and he’d actually been hitting me and my mum, Alice, up for months.
“At that time we were just not in the frame of mind. But then after we made Alpha Centauri we knew it’d be perfect for Armada- so we decided to send it over and Armin and the team absolutely loved it.
“We actually ended up signing five singles to the label. I’ve personally known Armin for many years, we both played on the same circuit as young lads so it’s been great reconnecting with him; he’s probably one of the nicest to be doing it.”
Detailing how it feels to be back making techno music and performing as Covid-19 restictions ease, the Las Vegas resident explained: “The nicest part has been that so many of my old crew, the original Fergie friends and fans, have all been messaging me telling me they are now back buying vinyl and DJing, also producing again.
“They are excited by my return to techno and have been galvanized by my comeback so that is amazing! That feeling mixed with loads of younger folk who have no idea who I am- discovering me and listening to the music for the first time, it’s just been incredible. I’ve been told the Larne Express is back in service!
“It feels good to to be performing with my heart and soul again. When I came to Vegas, it was the first time I looked at DJing as a job, and as soon as the pandemic hit my contract became null and void.
“After we sold up, my wife, Ellie and I, took much of 2020 to do some soul searching and that introspection led us to the decision to do only what spoke to our souls, to try to be true to our passions in life and nothing else.
“I am playing some of the best music in my sets that I have ever played and have also had my first number 1 single with Alpha Centauri, so things are off to a great start. If I can relay one single message to your readers it is to is follow your heart and don’t look back!”
Fergie recently revealed to his tens of thousands of followers on social media that he has been sober since the summer of 2018.
Speaking frankly about his own experiences and praising the work being done by community groups at home, including the Factory Community Forum, he stated: “I am deeply saddened by the less publicized effects the pandemic has had on UK communities, particularly the younger generation.
“Mental health awareness has fallen by the wayside in light of public health unfortunately. However, I am heartened by the work that the Factory Group has continued to carry out here, in my very own neighborhood, Boyne Square!
“And yes, I myself have been sober for over three years. I take every day as it comes. It’s hard to make any blanket statements as the situation is different for everyone depending on how substances and/or drinking affects their lives.
“Generally speaking, I don’t think an ‘all or nothing’ attitude in life is good- I’m usually all about moderation. But in this instance, at least for me, I’ve been completely clean from drink, drugs and even ciggys.
“The main thing that helped me become sober was the realisation that the juice was no longer worth the squeeze. I finally sat down and thought about the toll it was taking on my life, even if it wasn’t every day, or even every week.
“It was mostly the drink that had started to make my music, my marriage, my family relationships, my health, and most importantly my relationship with myself suffer, and I simply had had enough.
“I think that everyone should give themselves some time and allow themselves some grace. At the start, what helped me the most was just avoiding the triggering situations. Of course it meant taking a break from social activities, but time off from other people gave me more time with myself.
“In that journey I found myself drawn to various gurus and ancient wisdom traditions, but the one that still speaks to me most is the late, great Ram Dass.
“I found meditation and that has been the biggest part, not only staying sober, but also staying sane in this crazy life.
“It’s helped me find more clarity. I am able to plan and make better use of my time, and best of all, I have been enjoying my gigs more than ever. Unbelievably, I’ve now played nearly 600 gigs sober! I feel more in control, less anxious.
“I feel confident in my abilities and I enjoy getting high off the music (and not having to worry if I’ll get drunk and end up naked in the Bellagio fountains).”
Fergie’s latest track, Man From Athens is available to download here from today (August 20).
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers. Please consider purchasing a copy of the paper. You can also support trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription of the News Letter.