Spotlight On: Ernesto Ferreyra
After four years since his debut album on Cadenza, the Argentinian-born, Berlin-based producer Ernesto Ferreyra returns to Luciano’s label with his sophomore LP, Some Kind of Sign. A stunning long player comprised of intricate soundscapes, crispy percussion and conscious spatial awareness make for a cerebrally charged listening experience that can only truly be heard in full detail with headphones. The songs on the album are not strictly club-play material, but can add an elaborate dynamic when layered over tracks. A standalone play offers an intellectual listening experience full of new-found aural aesthetics with every gradual listen.
The album opens with “Still Waiting,” a tune that sets the tone for the entire disc, with rooted sub-bass, supple beats and liquid electronics built around highly inventive drum programming and micro-samples. Moving forward, “Cristal Clear” adds a worldly element with a distant saxophone sample, atmospheric strings, and a chugging bassline that runs through the harmonic spine of the track. The author’s favorite track, “Astral,” stands out on the LP with purposeful percussion and modular synths warping around sub-bass that could rattle any dancefloor. The listening journey continues on “Copina II,” featuring distinct wet synths championed with crunchy hi-hats that click and clack in all the right places. Rounding out the album with “Beluga Dance,” Ferreyra further proves he has moved into the upper echelon of dance music production with an infectious space ride. In its totality, Ferreyra’s sophomore offering showcases his musical abilities with detailed production aesthetics and maintenance of the utmost technical integrity. We had the opportunity to talk to the brilliant producer about Some Kind of Sign, his recent tour in South America, and more.
RP: Your new album is called Some Kind of Sign. It sounds like there’s a story behind the name. Can you tell us why you chose this name? Is there a deeper meaning or story behind it?
EF: The idea behind this album has to do with my recent years in Berlin and how the atmosphere and energy of the city influence my days. The photo on the cover is a sculpture that stands between my flat and my studio, so every day I pass by it and depending on my mood I have different theories about what happens to him. Sometimes I think that this acrobat is about to make it to the other side of the rope, but many other times I see him falling and braking his neck on the ground. Either way I feel that he is looking for something and he is challenging himself. Some kind of sign is in part that man that keeps on looking for signs knowing that at any time he can fall into the abyss, but whatever the outcome is he’s never standing still.
Wow, that’s deep! Tell us about the use of space in the album. There seems to be a spatial element to every track. Is this something you were trying to achieve or is this just the kind of sound you’ve acquired?
Creating spaces was one of the most important points for me when I started to work on it. I wanted to achieve some sort of cinematographic feeling, I imagined many layers in different depths of the tracks. For that I had to find a balance between the dry and wet elements to keep the energy of a dance track but with subtle changes of ambient music. I had a lot of fun processing these tiny layers and placing them all over the frequency spectrum.
We saw a picture of your studio, jam packed with amazing modular synths and drum pads. What hardware/software was utilized in the making of Some Kind of Sign?
Almost everything! I was doing some of the audio stuff on Ableton, a Cirklon sequencer was handling the MIDI instruments, lots of the processing was done through Eventide pedals some euro rack modules, like the Echophon from Make Noise or the Deflector Shield from Synthesis Technology. I was also using Elektron’s Octatrack as a overdrive unit and as a bit machine, on some tracks I used the Nord Drums 2 to overdub some layers of drums, playing them live to get a more human feeling.
You’ve got a pretty psychedelic vocal sample on “Dr. Moon,” what’s that from?
Nice one! Well, that voice comes from a passage of the movie Gentleman Broncos when Jemaine Clement as Dr. Chevallier talks about “Cyborg Harpies” to a class full of kiddos. Hilarious shit!!
Furthermore, were a lot of field recordings used in the making of the album?
Yes there are a lot, but used very far away in the mix, so you have to listen the album with headphones in order to discover them. There’s also a submarine transmission; and I used a hidden microphone to capture the conversations, laughs and all the sounds that comes out of our family BBQs we do each time I go back to Argentina.
A lot of the percussion used has got a Latin flavor to it, meanwhile the overall sound has an element of minimal techno. Do your home country of Argentina and your current living space in Berlin influence your sound?
Things can’t be denied, yes I come from the south and for sure I have a tendency to use some percussion but not necessarily Latin. The fact that I like to spend time on sound design makes me achieve some different kind of percussion. Using modules and different synthesis I create more futuristic kind of sound which are the type of elements that I’m using more and more in my music. What influences my work here in Berlin is Schneiders Bureau! The most amazing shop for euro rack addicts like myself.
Tell us about your recent South American tour- what were some of the highlights?
I’m just back from Argentina and Chile and it was the first time in my career that each and every single one of the gigs were completely highlights, everything worked perfect, the clubbers were the best, the promoters very professional and the turntables worked perfect every time! Many European clubs should follow that lead! Also Boiler Room in Buenos Aires was pure magic! It was one of those times when you feel that nothing can go wrong and everything is there to enjoy.
What’s next for you? Any upcoming releases and tour dates our readers should know about?
Just released a collaborative EP with the Mole and Hreno called Best Buds on Maybe Tomorrow, a remix for Savor Music will be released soon on vinyl, and around February a new release of Chic Miniature will be out. Now I have a few gigs before the album release party at Watergate Berlin where I’ll be playing live for the first time in five years, and then finish the year playing in Romania at Studio Martin. Also we are putting together a new live set for our Chic Miniature project that we will be presenting at Womb in Tokyo next March.
Purchase Some Kind of Sign here!