In 1990, when Felix (aka Ross From Friends) was just a twinkle in his father’s eye, his dad – having built up a sound system in the 1980s while playing at various squat parties around London (including the then derelict Roundhouse) – decided that he wanted to get out of the capital and see some of Europe. He got his hands on a bus and started putting word out through a network of like-minded friends and acquaintances. At the time just a friend of a friend, the trip caught the attention of Felix’s (future) mum, who offered to document the whole thing in return for a seat, and in 1990 they loaded up the sound system and hit the road. They travelled through France, Belgium, West and East Germany (though returning through a unified one) and beyond, setting up in towns to share their passion for the sounds of hi-NRG dance, Italo disco and proto-Techno through spontaneous parties in whatever venue they could find.
Ross From Friends will release his debut album “Family Portrait” next Friday 27 July via Brainfeeder. Watch the video of ‘Pale Blue Dot’ – a new track lifted from the album.
Having recently made his inaugural outing on Brainfeeder with “Aphelion EP”, British producer Ross From Friends aka Felix Clary Weatherall returns with his debut album on Flying Lotus’ label. “Family Portrait” is characterised by a perpetual desire to experiment and Felix’s obsessive attention to detail, somehow marrying an intricately layered production style with warm, heavily saturated sonics that elevate, rather than stifle, his melodious funk. With a handful of revered 12”s under his belt via Breaker Breaker, Lobster Theremin, Distant Hawaii, Magicwire and a 10” on Molten Jets. “Family Portrait” showcases his ability to shift and evolve, moving from the world of lo-fi to the world of FlyLo, he demonstrates a versatility exemplified by the ease in which he can switch between playing shows with Little Dragon, holding down a peak-time slot in Berghain’s Panorama Bar and performing live at Maida Vale for BBC Radio 1.
The culmination of almost two years of intense studio time, working 20 hour days, and often spending months perfecting just one aspect of a track. “I tried to be careful with every single sound” he explains, “Trying new things, making a bit more of an explosive sound”. The album also finds Felix recording his own voice for the first time, with the resulting tracks acting as snapshots of his personal life while recording. “Every time I went to make music the things which would really grab me are the emotional things, and while I’m in that place I felt I could really focus on the track. That was a massive part of this album, tapping into my emotions… into my emotional instability”.
The album title – “Family Portrait” – also nods to a very specific personal aspect of the record: the influence of his parents. Dance music has always been a feature in Felix’s life, with early memories of his dad producing music on his analogue set-up, or pumping out hi-NRG tracks on the turntable, he grew up discussing, sharing and learning about music from his dad. “My dad has been hugely influential to the whole thing,” he explains. However it was with the emergence of some old family VHS tapes, and the story of how Felix’s parents came to meet, that the true significance became clear.
Having built up a sound system in the 1980’s while playing at various squat parties around London (including the then derelict Roundhouse) Felix’s dad decided he wanted to get out of the capital and see some of Europe. He got his hands on a bus and started putting word out through a network of like-minded friends and acquaintances. At the time just a friend of a friend, the trip caught the attention of Felix’s mum-to-be, who offered to document the whole thing in return for a seat, and in 1990 they loaded up the sound system and hit the road. Travelling through France, Belgium, West and East Germany (though returning through a unified one) and beyond, setting up in towns to share their passion for the sounds of hi-NRG dance, Italo disco and proto-Techno through spontaneous parties in whatever venue they could find.
As integral to the Ross From Friends identity as the recorded music is the live show, the two having always existed in tandem. Enlisting the skills of two friends, John Dunk on sax and keys, and Jed Hampson on electric guitar, to build out his arrangements into a show which works as well on a festival stage as in a club. The band head out on a headline tour in September, with appearances at Primavera Sound, Field Day and Kala Festival this summer to name a few.
“Family Portrait” is released on vinyl, CD and digitally via Brainfeeder on 27th July 2018.
To say the release of this EP’s tracks is long-awaited would be a terribly gross understatement, so it’s with much fanfare and general HQ excitement that we announce the sophomore release from the monstrously talented Ross From Friends.
Having been circulating on the net for a fair while now, ‘Talk To Me You’ll Understand’ finally arrives with a fresh mastering, but still thudding along with those scuffed Reebok drums and soaked into fuzzy, stomach-squeezing low-pass filter. All soft chords, soothing vocals, deep-sea bass and skittering hats.
Middle-man ‘Gettin’ It Done’ is a solid label favourite. Less the full vocal flourishes and more the tinkered & chopped MPC underpinned by more dusty drum work that just grows in impact as the track goes on. One for late running and early morning truckin’.
Last but not least comes the R’n’B-inflicted house jam ‘Bootman’. Although it takes a good couple of minutes to get going, this is pure 2016 date playlist vibes. Slip the iPhone into the restaurant system and watch the silk melt down from the walls, the tables coat in velvet and ever-lasting passion effervesce from the heaving masses. Proper nawteeee. – Lobster Theremin