Interview: Fergus - Not Enough

London-based singer-songwriter Fergus delves into heartache and the journey of self-acceptance with new single, ‘Not Enough’. Haunting vocals and melancholic guitar lines evolve into layered harmonies and dark electronica, creating a sobre, contemplative mood to close his ‘Three of Swords’ EP. 

Ahead of a performance at the Big Feastival in Oxford, Fergus chatted to us about his writing process, working with super-producer Jake Gosling and overcoming the peaks and troughs of being a musician…

Interview by Annie Rew Shaw

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Annie) Hey Fergus! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Fergus) Hey everyone, my name’s Fergus and I’m a singer-songwriter from London. I write songs about how I’m feeling or whatever pops into my head, really. I focus a lot on the lyrics and try to create something that feels musically original to me. The songs are very personal, but I try to leave the specifics out of them so that listeners can interpret them in their own way and take away whatever it is they need or want to. Whether it’s escapism or catharsis, I’ve got you covered...

Congrats on your new single ‘Not Enough’. Can you give us some insight into the song?

I wrote ‘Not Enough’ last September. I’d spent all summer chasing someone and doing a lot of damage to myself in the process. It’s about acceptance, really. And a bit about rage! Realising how you’ve let yourself be manipulated and also that there were just fundamental differences that would never match up – ‘visionary’ vs ‘provisionary’. It’s the last chapter of the story behind the ‘Three of Swords’ EP. Bitter, but positive in its finality and the strength gained from that.

What was it like working with producer Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, The Libertines and many more)?

I love working with Jake. We always come out of the studio with something different. He’s very patient – he has to be to decipher the scrambled way I write! Once that’s done, we work very quickly together; capturing inspiration as it happens and bouncing ideas off each other for the production. I trust his vision and experience to take my songs to the next level. He’s also just a really genuine, lovely guy and friend. And agony aunt. I feel like everyone I work with is an agony aunt…

I see you’ve got quite a few live shows coming up. What can we expect from a Fergus gig?

I hope to transport people at my gigs, whether that’s by drawing them into my world at an intimate solo show or by overwhelming their senses with the full sound when I play with my band – it’s pretty loud and there’s a lot of hair on stage! Whatever the setup, it’ll be something new for the audience and I hope they’ll want to see and hear more!

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

Sharon Van Etten. She’s my absolute favourite artist. Even if it was just me making her tea. I have really loved following her journey over the years and I think she’s such a great role model. I think the way she writes her lyrics and melodies is really interesting and different, which I find refreshing and something to strive for. Also, I just know she’d give the best life advice!

What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a musician?

This sort of bleeds over into my personal life a bit but bear with me – the two are unavoidably linked! It’s simply to trust my process and try to enjoy everything as much as possible. It’s a weird and often lonely life being a solo artist. It can flip from feeling like everything is taking forever to happen to suddenly feeling overwhelmed by all the things going on. There’s a lot of waiting around.

But yeah, just to trust that everything I’m doing is working towards fulfilling my dream, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes you need these lulls to collect yourself and fuel the busy times. It’s really important not to get too frustrated by things not going 100% to plan (or at all to plan!), which is really hard to do when you just want so badly for everything to be right and as good as it can be. So just go with it, roll with the highs and the lows, learn from them, enjoy that you’re able to spend your life doing what you’re doing and don’t give up. Jake taught me this.