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Catching up with D Farren
By EA Poorman
Fort Wayne Reader
Back in 2012 Fort Wayne saw a plethora of great local releases. TIMBER!!!(RIP), House Of Bread(RIP), Vandolah, and Jason Davis all released great albums that proved to my ears Fort Wayne is more than just mega churches and strip malls (and strip clubs.) There's quite a few extremely talented folks that could put the Fort on the map as the next big musical mecca.
Another one of those talented folks doing his part to add some integrity and class to the Fort Wayne music scene is D Ferren. He released the excellent For Glare & Gun in the spring of 2012, recorded and produced by Jason Davis at Davis' Off The Cuff Sound recording studio. Ferren is something of a dusty Midwest troubadour. He dabbles in Americana and folk, but never fully committing to either. His influences are vast and it shows in his dusty, noir-ish compositions. He takes elements of early 90s alternative bands like The Jayhawks, Son Volt, and even some Grant Lee Buffalo and mix it up with more fuzzier elements of School Of Fish and adds some Midwest soil and turbulence to give it something slightly swinging and beautifully odd.
I caught up with Ferren recently to ask him how the follow-up to FG&G was going. I may have asked a few more questions as well. First though, how did the experience of releasing FG&G go for him? "It opened some doors for me that's for sure, I've made new friends and gained new fans. It has allowed me to play in some new venues as well. It was a great experience for me. That album took a long time to record, and there were times that i was sick of working on it, and i just wanted to finish it and put it out. In a lot of ways it's like working on a painting; you have the canvas covered and you can tell what the picture is representing, but it's not polished or refined to the last detail. I knew what kind of record that i wanted to make, and i just pushed it as far as i could to get there."
So now that he's got another great album under his belt, the process is to move on and work on another album. One that may even surpass what he's already done. Ferren wasted no time in that department. He's begun work on a follow-up. How is that going? "So far I have five songs almost completely tracked, so we are about half way through the album. I started with the more eclectic songs that lean a little further than I usually do, just to see which direction the album may be headed. The remaining songs for the album will be tailored to make it seamless." And how do these song compare to the last batch of tunes? "It's definitely going to be a different sounding album. I think that i will always have certain influences associated with my songs, but i think that this album would be defined as "moodier". And much more personal. The lyrics are more intimate and revealing, so i think it's a very idiomatic album. Stylistically it represents a lot of the different influences that inspire me. So song one isn't going to tell you much about the "sound" of the album, but it will set the tone of some of the themes that i am exploring."
D Ferren had quite the talented group help him out last time around. I wondered who was helping him out on the recording of this record. "I'm planning on using some different musicians for this album, but you never know about some of them "old bastards"(Sad Bastards are the moniker of Ferren's live band). I want to wait until the songs are almost completely tracked before i start bringing people in to play and sing on it. I have a few people in mind, so hopefully they will be willing to do it. Sometimes I feel so displaced from the music scene, but when I have needed help the folks have all stepped up to get involved. There are an amazing number of talented singers and musicians in Fort Wayne, and the fact that some of them would like to appear on one of my albums is a nice feeling."
Like most of the musicians in town, D Ferren pulls double duty as a musician as well as a 9 to 5 clock puncher and a dedicated family man. I wondered how he balances the many hats he dons. "Honestly, everyone involved has to make sacrifices. I try to assure my family that my time with them is far more important, at the same time i think they understand how important music is to me and that it is something that I am good at. My wife is really a treasure. Being married to a musician is not the easiest gig."
So what does D Ferren the music fan listen to when D Ferren the songwriter is tired and taking a nap? "Lee Ranaldo's album Between the Times and the Tides is a really great album that I can't seem to get enough of lately. That Water Liars album Wyoming is just sick. I have missed those guys coming through town a couple of times, but that record is spun at my house frequently. I cant wait to see them." He even got out to see a concert over the summer. "We saw Son Volt at The Vogue this summer. Everybody warned me that it's not much of a stage show, but Jay Farrar plays long sets which was really great. The one thing about Jay that I love, is that he just writes one classic song after another. At first listen they don't sound like much, because he's not really swimming in uncharted waters. But they are timeless songs. And that great big sonorous voice...we had a great time."
Being a collector of vinyl, and knowing Mr. Ferren is as well, I had to ask about his collection. What are some gems he holds above the rest? "There are a group of records that came out in the 90's that I have been hunting for my collection. Some were limited release and some were only released on vinyl overseas. The Afghan Whigs Black Love, Jellyfish Spilt Milk School of Fish Human Cannonball, The Posies Frosting on the Beater, Pete Yorn Music for the Morning After, and The Jayhawks Hollywood Town Hall. These albums were huge in shaping the musician and songwriter that I am."
So, this new album. Will 2014 be the year of D Ferren? "I'm hoping to finish tracking the songs by December. Then mix and master in the springtime for a 2014 summer release. I really want to issue it on vinyl only and maybe do a short tour of the midwest over a week or so. Baby steps E. A. … baby steps."
Keep your ears and eyes open for D Ferren and his Bastards in 2014. Until then, crank up For Glare & Gun.