- Hi Ferdous, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thank you, I think I’ve been pretty okay despite the ongoing lockdown circumstances in my country (which are obviously necessary). All things considered I guess I’ve been pretty stable lol. Also Biden moving into the White House definitely helps. Feels like we can now finally shift our global attention back to things that are actually important, like the climate crisis.
- Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Gravity”?
I’ll be 100% honest. I wrote “Gravity” during a moment where I felt more confident about myself than usual, which isn’t necessarily something I was planning to share with other people. It was just a lot of fun to try a different feel compared to my other music, but the more I listened to it, the more I convinced myself that this was something I should put out, just for the sake of being direct about the music I make and not wanting to shy away from my contradictive nature as an artist.
- Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Yeah actually the piano part for “Gravity” was the first thing that popped into my head at a random moment. I was moving between places and didn’t have a proper studio at the time, so I’d made my peace with not being able to properly write new stuff for a few weeks. You gotta love not having inspiration in the studio for months and then it strikes with almost comedic timing, when there’s literally no space for me to properly make music. Luckily I was able to record the first idea after all on my laptop and then it became a song afterwards.
- The single comes off your new EP For My Own Sake – what’s the story behind the title?
I had been really, really aching to put out a first project for a really long time now. I wrote about five to six albums worth of material for my new solo project in the past three years. It felt like a very long time where I was stuck between different worlds and somehow wasn’t able to let go of (inner) conflicts from the past. I wasn’t really aware of this until I came closer to the release of my first solo EP – I realized I’ve been holding in a lot and putting out a first project was my only way of breaking through this situation and it definitely feels that way now that I’ve released ‘For My Own Sake’. It’s like I’m a different person and that I’m now able to just let go a lot of sh**. It’s more than just a symbolic moment for me in my life, hope that makes sense!
- How was the recording and writing process?
Songs like “For My Own Sake” and “ tillness” just completely started and evolved organically, I didn’t really have to search long for the right sounds and words to capture what I was feeling, so it felt like very little effort compared to the other songs where I really took my time to cement all parts of the songs. I can pretty much always lead myself to some exciting place with production/melodies if I work long/hard enough on an idea, or at least I have a clearer picture of when a production idea is worth pursuing or not. But writing lyrics is a whole different universe, I have to find this right balance between focus but also not really forcing anything if I want to write something that feels genuine to me. For this I usually need a couple days of warming up first where I write a lot of crap (and sometimes go through phases of crippling self-doubt hahaha). After that I’m just able to work a bit more fluently and regularly on writing without over-thinking too much. This way I could sometimes work on the EP for weeks without any day off, and then let the music sit for a week or two so I could revisit the songs with a fresh mind, and repeat this process. Half of the material I’ve written in places like Belgium, London and Bali, and then I recorded, mixed and mastered everything at my studio.
- How does your Afghan and Dutch background influence your writing and music as a whole?
The Afghan music I grew up with would often sound melancholic and percussion-heavy. I definitely think this plays some part in the music I make now, but above all I never really knew which part of my background I identified to most. For me this was an important drive to keep making music since a young age. In my teens I’ve never really had a clear sense of self, especially not about my cultural identity, and I think a part of me was always looking for this in music. I’d always find sounds and emotions I could connect to in other people’s songs, and when I make music I both find myself and lose myself at the same time. Sounds trippy but music always has been therapeutic for me this way.
- Would you call this a complete departure from your previous work?
Not really, I keep changing all the time and I always want to be transparent about that in my music. It never feels like I’m ditching my older work. Sometimes I just put things aside for a little bit and perhaps it’ll find its way back at a later stage in my life, and perhaps it won’t.
- Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
It was different for each song but they all came about because I felt a certain way during that moment. I just tried to capture it in a way that could make sense to someone who doesn’t know anything about me. I don’t mean I wanted to have a perfect translation in lyrics on my exact thoughts, because in some way I feel that’s counter-productive if I want to convey a certain feeling. It’s the same way I feel about art. I never really feel spoken to when I see every single detail captured of an object or environment, I always feel more drawn to abstract because I feel the bare essence of something is enough to provoke the strongest reaction. This is kind of how I want to approach music. I don’t want people to know every single detail of my life. I just want to give certain glimpses, if it serves to the emotion I want to communicate with my music.
- What else is happening next in Ferdous’ world?
I’m set to release more new music this year and already started to work on my next project. I’ve also started to build my new live show which I’m excited about. I’m looking forward to being able to play live shows for the first time as a solo artist. I’m also working with this artist called Stevie Bill. She’s a crazy talented singer and songwriter who I’m massively excited about. Other than that just enjoying the release. Happy that it’s finally out there and I hope you enjoy it!