After a ten year absence from the live music scene, Daveit Ferris returns with a bumper songlist to choose from.
It has been a busy decade for the local musician, but 2015 in particular was a hectic year with his 365 Sparks project, which saw the release of one track each day throughout the year. Prolific doesn’t come close to describing Daveit’s work, totally hands on from production through to promotion and each and every aspect of the process oozes with passion.
So how does it feel to be back under the bright lights? “It feels great” Daveit told me when I caught up with him this week.
“I've only done two shows at this point, but that number will be five by the end of the weekend. No matter how great your recorded work is and how well it is received, it's impossible to feel connected to the music scene if you're not out sweating on the stages with other musicians. I have played a lot of shows in the past, and I feel that I've slotted back into things nicely and thankfully the live industry has barely changed.
“My goal was initially to book one or two shows just to dip my toe in the water, but I decided that to truly rediscover my former love of live music I'd have to book a mini-tour, and that's why I ended up booking 12 shows in 20 days. What else would I do in december?” He laughs.
Taking the time away from the live scene has made the former ‘Mascara Story’ frontman realise just how much he missed it. “Having lived in my recording studio for the last two or three years endlessly writing and recording, this is a whole new world to me again, but one I'm realising more and more that I have missed being a part of. Recording is great, but it can get insanely lonely and can make you go a bit mad if you're the only one there.
“Live is a different beast because you get reactions and cues from faces, applause - or no applause, attentiveness, etc. It's a real-time evaluation of how you're doing and that makes it super exciting. So I guess I miss that feedback, those interactions and just the feeling of being a citizen of something collective as opposed to being the president of my own world.”
The Northern Ireland tour is now already underway and Daveit is excited to be back on the road. “Two shows in and I'm loving it” he said.
“I know I'm not travelling far as all the shows are in Northern Ireland, but I'm still excited to spend full days exploring Newcastle, Armagh, Dungannon, Portrush, Bangor etc, as I rarely travel at all. It's a great upside to having shows in different places. I feel like i've performed well at the two shows I have done thus far and I've thoroughly enjoyed myself at both of them.”
The tour will be stripped back, solo acoustic, a different take on some of Daveit’s existing tracks. “I started booking these shows at the start of november and didn't want anything or anyone to hold me back, so I decided to go alone for these dates. But I would have to say that there's an energy to my set and it's not all sombre music that would fit nicely as an elevator soundtrack.
“I'm a rocker at heart, so there's a lot of energy in the delivery of the songs. There's about eight new songs being rotated too, so there's new sounds for those that may be familiar with my released output. I have great supports on all my dates and a handful of them are free admission too!”
“It's been pretty cool to learn piano-based songs on the guitar as they sound completely different and I find myself singing them completely different. There's a hefty majority of the '365 Sparks' songs that are rock orientated, a few of which I've converted acoustically, so it might be interesting for a few people to hear what things sound like completely stripped down. A few of the new tracks 'Coffee to Go' and 'Please God' have been getting some nice praise and attention, which is great!”
This Friday sees Daveit return to the city’s live music scene when he takes to the stage at the Grand Central Bar for a free gig. Throughout the tour he will be supported by some of the finest local talent, and during his time away he has been encouraged by what has been developing through the local scene.
“Although I haven't been playing live myself for a long time, I have consistently been watching live music in the town. Some of my current favourites from the city are Ports, Sous Le Monde, Roe, Lost Avenue, Making Monsters, Scenery, Noel Barr and One Man Town. Those are all folks I've seen live at least a handful of times and always really enjoyed. There's probably about another 20 that I love, but I haven't had a coffee yet so my brain isn't working!”
Never one to sit still, Daveit is already looking ahead to 2017. “Musically, the first thing on my list is to produce and release the final songs from the '365 Sparks' project. I'll likely do that before anything else. I have written all year long though and have plans to record and release an album in February, this is why I have already five or so dates pencilled in for March.
“I really want this year to be full of collaborations, so I have a few interesting projects that I'll announce soon that'll see me go down that road for the first time. Playing live, collaborating .. you'd almost think that I'm getting over my fear of humans!” He laughs.
This Friday, Daveit will be supported by local artists Reevah, ROE and Jessica Doherty, but if you are unable to catch this weekend’s gig, he will be closing his Northern Ireland tour with a show at Sandinos on December 20th. Either gig, is a must see, go and support one of N.I’s finest