At the end of last year, Justify took up the reigns and started writing our New Music recaps. They’re a weekly (or as near weekly as we can get them) round up of the 10 (or so) tunes we’re feeling – with no rules on genre, location, producer, release status etc.
In what I think was his first New Music of 2014, published as we slowly got our act together after 10 or so days off for Christmas and New Year, Just included a tune from a young New York-based producer called Cris Fern. As I do with all of the producers I’ve not checked before, I visited Chris’ SoundCloud after publishing the post and was Blown Away (so much so those two words need to be capitalised) by what I heard.
He’d only been posting tunes for a few months, including one or two free downloads (hosted by OneFortyDeep and Infra Tribez), so we’d caught him early. From his first inclusion in New Music, Chris’ tunes were a regular feature in the recaps during the months that followed. His music has appeared in six of our recaps since Just first brought him to our attention (me included) at the start of the year – more frequently than any other producer we’ve featured.
Chris and I got talking soon after his first inclusion and became firm friends (or as close as you can get on the internet) very quickly. We talked music, life, events and cats (both sharing a passion for cats and their many amusing antics) most weeks for the first month or so – and then started talking almost daily – as he started to gain recognition as (what we called) “one of our favourite American upandcomers”.
A month ago this weekend, Chris passed away.
“My introduction to Chris was after hearing a track he had produced called Rewind – the sounds he used drew me in straight away. I put it in my New Music and, when it went up on the website, (like I always do) I let Chris know by commenting on the track on SoundCloud. A few days later, I got a friend request from him on Facebook. I accepted and our friendship kind of started from there…
“Chris sent me a message telling me how excited and thankful he was for me featuring his track in my top 10. The thing with Chris’ tunes were, because I liked his style, if they never went in New Music then they’d end up in my mixes. Chris never came across as an arrogant person, he would just pop up now and again on FB and send a tune or ask my opinion on something he had done. I remember one day saying “I don’t really comment on people’s tunes, if I don’t like the tune I don’t play it. Chris’ response was along the lines of “that’s probably the best/ most mature way to do things” .That’s the kind of guy he was. He always sounded like the kind of guy that took things in his stride.
“Although we were only acquainted for a short time, the impact Chris had on Facebook the morning I heard he passed away shows just how far this kid was destined to go. It’s a true saying that all the heroes die young. He is greatly missed, but I know he’s looking down from a better place.
As, it often seems to be the case, with most things important I first found out on Facebook. While it took a few very horrible moments to sink in, I verified the news with a few people and pretty quickly discovered it was true.
While Chris’ passing was the first in my circle of ‘internet friends’, it seemed my entire network; those who knew him in real life, those who knew him or his music or those who had heard of him, were united in sadness. I think that’s testament to Chris’ character and nature – he and his music was loved by everyone who new him.
Sadly, Chris has three releases (four if you count his place on Albion Collective’s freebie compilation) pending and will not be with us to see any of the releases drop. He was one of the most excited people I’ve been fortunate to come across (let alone talk to) about producing music, and was regularly overwhelmed that people (let alone record labels) enjoyed his music.
His three releases come out in pretty quick succession. He has Darwin coming out on Digital Weapons (alongside a remix from Karnage and MarkIV) on 19/05/14 and a two track EP (Pockets and Innu) with USV Recordings out 25/05/14.
He also has a place on this year’s 20 track best-of-the-best FKOF compilation album, FKOFUn/Known02, with Justus (which you can hear teased around 14m in the mix below). That’s how much we believed in him and his music.
I have spoken with Chris’ friends and family and, with proceeds from the album, we are going to be donating money towards Chris’ local animal shelter (via his family in New York). The general consensus seems to be it’s what he would have wanted. I have put the Digital Records and USV Recordings label heads in touch with Chris’ family and hope they will do something similar.
Chris may be gone, but his music will live on. And hopefully you can all do your best to support that fact. I’ve been in touch with SoundCloud and, thankfully Chris has a free account (i.e. nothing to cause billing issues etc.), they do not delete profiles after an extended period of inactivity. Chris’ account will stay public and available for as long as SoundCloud exists. You can listen to Chris’ music here.
Life is short – so please make the most of it.
Our thoughts and love go to Chris’ friends and family – especially Martin, Nick, Sue and everyone else we’ve talked to over the past few weeks.
RIP Chris ‘Cris Fern’ Ferrantello.
We miss you dude.