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Fergie Interview

A chat with the Northern Irish techno king

After making a name as a hard house DJ, with his own show on Radio 1, Fergie became disillusioned with the genre and sought out another kind of groove to get him excited. It was techno that would get the DJ from Larne in Northern Ireland, christened Robert Ferguson, fired up again, and after several years in the techno realm he's been garnering props from other heads for his DJ sets and productions alike, which have been appearing on his XCentric Muzik stable. DJmag.com rang the DJ to get the lowdown…

You're firmly in the techno pantheon these days, but did you find it hard initially to make the transition from the hard house sound which you started out with?

"It was actually DJmag that first interviewed me when I stopped playing it, I literally took all the records out of my box, and I remember talking to a journalist out in Ibiza, and I was like, 'No, that's it, I'm not playing it'. But I didn't have a clue what I wanted to play so I went through a few different genres before I really found what I was into. If I'm honest it's really been the last sort of six months that people have actually accepted it and welcomed me a bit more, with my productions."

What's happening with your XCentric Muzik label?

"It's for my productions, and also people from the XCentric artist agency as well. That's an extension of what I've done on Radio 1, basically, bringing new people through is what I've always tried to do - to create a platform for them to get their music out."

Which producers are doing it for you at the moment when it comes to your DJing?

"Phil Kieran, he changes his style all the time but is still consistent, this guy Kevin Gorman I brought on the radio early doors, I wanted to bring him through with the XCentric agency but he was approached by DJ Hell's label, and ended up doing an album for them. I play an awful lot of my own stuff, I'm enjoying what I'm doing at the moment and I've been getting some really good feedback. It keeps it a little more exclusive, I think it's quite hard these days with all the download sites. Now you send out a digital release and next week it's on Beatport! I'm constantly in the studio now, and I'm really enjoying playing out."

You've hooked up with Gregor Tresher for the 'Recluse' track. How did that come about?

"I've been getting Gregor to come over, he's been doing a few of the XCentric gigs. With the agency and the label, it's important to do the gigs as well, for the other people on the label, to get them playing with these other DJs, to keep the consistency. I hooked up with Gregor 'cos he's a massive DJ and a brilliant producer and it's good for the other guys, to mix with some really good DJs. And I got on really well with Gregor, I've been over to Frankfurt a few times, and we said we should do something in the studio."

What else have you got coming up production-wise, and on your label?

"We just had the 'ME' EP released a couple of weeks ago, it's done quite well, I was really pleased. You mentioned being accepted into the techno thing, it's been twice as hard for me than maybe for other people because of my past, but the EP went to number three in the techno chart which is really special for me. It made me very happy, the effort that I've been putting in over the years is really starting to pay off. I've just done a remix for King Unique, that's being promoed at the moment. I've just finished another single, that's being promoed at the moment as well. Over the years people have said what does Fergie play? So I'm trying to get the right stuff out so that there's no more questions."

What's next for Fergie?

"We got the XCentric nights, bi-monthly at the Ice Factory in Scotland, we've got Slam, Phil Kieran, Annie Mac coming up there. We do the Custard Factory in Birmingham – I don't know if you've been but it's a full-on, heads down rave in there – I'm doing something up in Bristol as well, with Funk D'Void, on 16th May, and we're just trying to put an album together of everyone who's on the label, there's six of us on the label. Not sure about Ibiza yet, we went there last year, but this year is up in the air at the moment."