While love is never guaranteed, there are two things certain in a new relationship: there will be ups, and there will be downs. Drawing upon these dynamics, Fergus coined his debut album, Love Upside Down — a walkthrough of a tumultuous relationship that still manages to find the light. Baked throughout the album, a potent authenticity is found in every track alongside cliché-free lyricism and compelling melodies.
Speaking on the effort as a whole, Fergus says, “Thanks to all pre-covid plans being put on hold, I have a much more mature body of work. My sound evolved a lot. Maybe love songs might be an easier sell than my previous angry rants! That said, I’m not naturally an upbeat person and I hadn’t written a happy song in five years. Even now, hearing myself sing about being in love is out of my comfort zone. I feel I’ve covered all bases in Love Upside Down, I definitely couldn’t write a whole happy album.”.
Perhaps one of the best encapsulations of this ideal, the release of the album also sees in a spellbinding music video for the track “Fight Forever”. While the track creates an intense contrast between tender vocals and pulse-raising baselines, the music video mimics a sense of disarray and orientation. Within the two minute clip, we see the couple intimate, at odds and in a state of resolution — all mismatched in order as the track plays on, showing the unpredictability of love.
To mark the release of the album, we spoke with the artist about his journey so far, his experience writing the album and his favourite track at the moment. To stream the album, music video and for the full interview, head below now…
Hey Fergus! How are you doing today?
Hey! I’m doing very well thank you.
What have your peaks and pits been of the year so far?
Well, firstly, it’s crazy to realise we’re already five months down this year. It’s been such a blur preparing for the release of Love Upside Down. A definite peak was receiving the vinyl test pressings and giving the album its first spin, albeit at the slightly slower speed of 33rpm because of my eccentric record player… Also playing Great Escape for the first time was the realisation of a long-held ambition of mine, and also the culmination of so much trial-and-error with my live setup. As for pits, there have been a few hiccups, setbacks, and wobbles along the way. But, they also all inform how to continue moving forwards in a better and more effective way than before. So I can’t complain!
Let’s begin with your journey into music. How did it come about? Was it something you always wanted to pursue?
I went to a musical school from four and we were all encouraged to learn an instrument there from an early age. I started on violin but gravitated to the ‘cello because I didn’t like standing up in lessons. Not long after, when I was eight or nine, there were auditions happening for the very famous choir attached to the school, I went along and was successful. I became a fully-fledged chorister at 10 and went on tour to Australia for three weeks, singing in the Sydney Opera house twice. And walking off stage one of those times due to a full bladder… I continued in that musical world until I dropped out of uni. Only after that did I really teach myself guitar and start trying to write my songs. I have been making music my entire life, and doing so professionally from a very young age. It’s so deep-rooted in my psyche that I cannot possibly imagine doing anything else. It’s my talent and my mission.
And who would you say inspires you the most?
Sharon Van Etten. Her latest album is further proof of her unique powers, and another progressive, evolutionary step in a journey which has been a pleasure to witness as a fan. It gives me a lot of hope for my own career to see an artist succeeding by doing things their way, with integrity and grace. If, one day, I can emulate her, I will be very happy.
Congratulations on the release of your debut album, Love Upside Down! What first inspired you to create it?
Ah thank you! It’s been a long time coming. After the first two EPs I felt really hungry and ready to take on a bigger body of work, and really show what I can do. The concept of this album shifted and evolved alongside events in my own life, while I was making it. It’s autobiographical in that way and that’s where the inspiration came from.
Are there any particular themes that run through the whole album?
Love in all its forms. Its triumphs and failures. The mistakes we make and our promises to do better.
Do you have a favourite track at the moment?
Ooh it’s a tricky one. Depends on my mood! I really like “All I Had” for those sad, reflective moments. “Fight Forever” is my weird little baby and psyche-up track. I think my favourite to play live is gonna be “The Brink”.
What do you hope people will take away from the album?
To be less hard on each other. More courageous and straightforward. To keep an eye on the bigger picture as much as possible and focus on what’s really important, not get bogged down over petty things. Don’t give in to the coldness and darkness of this world – always love upside-down. These are all things I am trying to apply to my own life.
And finally, what’s next for you? Do you have any goals for the near future?
I’m gonna be playing these songs live as much as possible, wherever and whenever. It would be amazing to be able to play some festival stages this year. And I’m going to start working on album number two.