29 December 2020
London‘s party expert duo FERAL FIVE is a seductive and swirling Shake It dance tandem specialised in creating adrenalised knockout crackers to fill dance floors. They mix droning synths, glimmering disco ball percussion, layered guitar fuzz into an effervescent cocktail. Add sensuous vocals and what you get in the end are sensual-hip-swaying vibrations to start and end all 24-hour raves and dirty dancing extravaganzas. Hot Saturday Night Fever stuff, indeed.
Let’s get a grip on Kat and Drew Five and find out how they experienced these past strange 12 months. But as usual Turn Up The Volume starts a chat with music. Here’s
one of my favorite FF bangers…
Hello Kat and Drew,
Thank you for making
time for this Q & A…
I follow you for a long time now, but I never asked if there’s
a story behind your artist name FERAL FIVE. Is there?
Kat: “We see ourselves as a space gang… We ate the others.”
Drew: “People think there’s an upgrade path… room for an
extra three… but it’s just our family name really.”
Writing swinging dance floor killers is what FERAL FIVE is about.
I suppose you’re both party animals too, are you?
Kat: “For sure, though I make it on to the dance floor more often.
Drew’s the demon dancing behind the decks.”
Brand new track GET A GRIP is a psych-chilling groove, with a
different vibe than before. What or who inspired you for this one?
Drew: “We’d been too long not being in the studio together this year. We both
thought that it was time to get on with things but just in a different way.”
Kat: “Yes. I was really missing the studio part of the creative process. So, we were
both angry with how this year played out at home and across the pond and felt
it was time for people to ‘get a grip’ on things. For the world to have a rethink,
or at least the humans running it. Or should that be ruining it?”
Over the years you wrote enough material for a whole album,
but so far no longplayer. Any specific reason why?
Drew: “You’re right. In fact we’ve probably got several albums
worth of material but we wanted to create some new stuff.”
Kat: “We considered releasing an album a couple of years ago.”
Drew: “In 2019 we had a really fertile writing period. We started writing some really
cool new stuff which we felt deserved to be up there with our best stuff so we had a rethink. Shelved the release plan and continued working on the new stuff.”
Kat: “We’ve pretty much got most of the album written and are working on mixing it. Although from March onwards there have been some difficulties. I’m usually at the controls with Drew when it comes to mixing and production so this has been a tough
Drew: “2021 it will happen.”
Hello Five’s, I want EGO on the album…
This year you both, Kat and Drew, released solo tracks
for the first time. How did that happen?
Drew: “I mean we’ve both been writing separately and as Feral Five for a while. Feral Five
is our main channel but occasionally there’s a personal piece of music that expresses our individual creativity.”
Kat: “As we weren’t able to rehearse and gig, let alone finish album production,
we both released solo stuff to keep our creative energies flowing.”
Drew: “In addition one or two of the things we have been working
on have been with extended members of the Feral family.”
Kat: “Can’t say more yet but in the new year we’ve both got some more
solo stuff. Rather than dilute what we’re doing, it’s really recharged us
for the final album push actually.”
During these weird times lots of artists came up with covers.
Which song would you pick to turn it into a Feral Five one?
Kat: “We’ve done a few covers. Usually we play them as a fun extra at gigs.”
Drew: “We covered Japan, The Normal, Poly Styrene…”
Kat: “…Kylie! We did a cover of ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ which we played at
our Neurotrash launch show ages ago. We decided to call it ‘sad Kylie’ because we
made it dark in a very upbeat Nadine Shah style way. Maybe we should record it
How’s life in London after 4 years of Brexit?
Kat: “Turbocharged! So much creativity around right now, especially in music,
and activism to fight the powers. London said a great big fat no to Brexit. Maybe
we should form a breakaway state.”
Drew: “London? Where’s that? Isn’t there a London, Ontario I wonder how
the Canadians are getting on? “
Suppose you were asked to rewrite and put new music to the British
royal anthem ‘God Save The Queen’, without any restrictions, what would
be the outcome, in sound and vision?
Kat: “We definitely need a punchier national anthem. We don’t need it to be royal. I’m
a big fan of the Marseillaise. What would we make? Think Kylie crossed with the Sex Pistols.”
Drew: “I think the Pistols did it.”
What was the best track and album you heard in 2020?
Drew: “Best track: ’Unfollow The Rules’ by Rufus Wainwright just because this year really made everyone I know think about what we’re doing and how important family and friends really are especially when times are tough. Best album: Max Richter’s All Human Beings because that’s all we are and all we got baby, and it’s up to us to work things out.”
Kat: “My yes for best track is for Billy Nomates’ ‘No’. Absolute fire. Best album: Bugeye’s Ready Steady Bang, razor sharp disco punk party with meaning.”
What video clip impressed your eyes the most in the past 12 months?
Drew: “I’m a fan of dance and was moved by the video clip of Michael Fryer’s BLM dance protest that went viral this year. The concept of ‘Dancers For Social Justice’ is also a really important movement. Artists and creatives have a duty to speak and for that matter ‘dance’ for humanity. It’s said that Shiva created the world from a dance.”
Kat: “Chicago footwork dancers at a BLM protest. Amazing. I follow some of them on
insta now and watch all the rehearsals.”
Best movie of the year?
Kat: “The Small Axe series of films by Steve McQueen. Mega movie
power in so many different ways, though they’re on the BBC.”
Your hero-ine of 2020?
Drew: “From a creative point of view it has to be Sonequa Martin-Green in Star Trek: Discovery. There’s a moment where she gives the command for: “black alert”, a poignant moment reflecting our current collective realities and a creative call to action that calls
out beyond the fourth wall.
Also sadly we lost great granny this year. She was a total inspiration for everyone who knew her. She was 94 and during WW2 when she was probably only 13, she was trapped between retreating Germans and advancing Russians. She survived many changes and difficulties through her life but was responsible for bringing up an amazing family and inspiring further generations.”
Kat: “In music, a joint first – mastering ace Katie Tavini and artist/producer Rookes who founded the 2% Rising group for women and non-binary producers and engineers, that
I’m part of. So much talent and support in that virtual room, punching through more by the day.”
Which song would you pick to play out loud on 31 December,
when the clock strikes midnight?
Both: “Get A Grip”
Kat: “It’s what our so-called leaders need to do, as they push us off a cliff.”
Drew: “That or ‘Here Comes The Sun’ by George Harrison.”
31st December: The remix…
Three things you really want to see happen in 2021?
Drew: “Peace, love and Feral Five’s album, insert name here.”
Kat: “Build back better happening for real, positivity winning out, and
that insert name here (note TUTV: Get A Grip On Feral Five) album, oh yes!”
(photo: Gary Hennsey)
Thank you Kat and Drew for this interview.
May the road rise with Feral Five in 2021.
FERAL FIVE: Spotify – Bandcamp – Facebook