Fans of Independent resident DJ All Night Shoes’ monthly FRESH Sessions mix were treated last July to a guest mix by JF//Discord.
Ferguson recently discussed his interest in becoming a DJ.
“I just wanted to move people with good underground electronic music,” Ferguson said. “I think I have a good ear for underground electronic music and hopefully translate the connection I have with people to where they can dance.”
Ferguson isn’t shy about his adoration for metal music. He often wears a hoodie jacket with the logo of the metal band Death. He’s also known for his saying, “Horns Up!” He said first discovered metal music when he was in the fourth-grade.
“I first started off with Def Leppard and Pyromania, and I got that on cassette,” Ferguson said. “It was my first actual music purchase. When Hysteria (Def Leppard’s follow-up to Pyromania) came out, I got that one. There was a store in Palm Desert at the time … called Music Plus. My brother and I would go in there, and we’d just start looking through their audio section in this thing they had with four pairs of headphones you could use to listen to music. I remember seeing the list of bands … Autopsy, Death, Testament, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth. We started listening to all these bands, and it piqued my interest. From there on out, it was just all metal.”
Ferguson was even a member of a metal band in high school.
“I was in a death metal band called Discordance the whole I time I was in high school, as the lead vocalist,” he said. “Metal took a real bad turn when all the grunge stuff started popping up. Nobody wanted to be associated with metal whatsoever in any way, shape or form. I was still kind of young back then, so I was like, ‘Maybe metal is starting to die, and maybe it’s going to start fading away.’
“I got exposed to electronic music. It was super-underground at the time, and the masses didn’t really like it yet.”
Ferguson’s interest in metal led him toward a different side of electronic music.
“I was drawn more to the underground, darker styles,” he said. “The darker production style (features) a lot of minor chords. House is a lot more soulful; deep house is a little bit more deep; and trance … is atmospheric and euphoric. I like the darker, more subtle, disturbing undertones with bass music. Right now, I really like the underground techno coming from Greece. Guys like Christian Cambas, Axel Karakasis, Spiros Kaloumenos … are putting out some really good techno.”
Ferguson’s equipment includes two of his own Pioneer CDJs and a Pioneer mixer. He said that while he started out using turntables and likes vinyl, a lot of the music he selects isn’t available on vinyl.
Ferguson also said the local music scene is not always so embracing.
“It sucks getting no love from anybody in your hometown,” he said. “You don’t get any love from the locals here at all. No one really comes out to shows. No one cares, really, and it’s just tough. It’s not just DJs, but it’s universal to all artists here. We have no venues to play at, and the venue owners don’t really understand electronic music, or care about it. It’s tough to get something built and keep it going on a regular basis.”
Still, Ferguson said he enjoys what he does as a DJ.
“The upside for me is focusing on that musical side of me and getting it out,” he said. “Hopefully, somebody that you play for in the crowd will connect with it. That’s the cool thing—when you expose somebody to a different style of music, and they say, ‘Oh yeah! I’ve never heard that before. Who is it?’ That’s what’s cool for me.”
Ferguson explained what he wants to happen in the Coachella Valley’s DJ scene.
“I’d like to see all of us come together as a community and not be so fragmented,” he said. “We should support each other whether or not we like the musical style—and I’m saying that for me, too, because I have my own certain style. We all need to be more open-minded and come together to make an impact for the local community here. That’s what we need in order for it to grow and succeed, and to get exposure from out of the valley.”
For more information on JF//Ferguson, visit www.facebook.com/JFDiscord1.