Ferris & Sylvester: Americana SW16 Style

With 2018 a blank canvas to paint with exciting new musical talent, Ferris & Sylvester’s modern take on Brit folk is a great place to start. The singer-songwriting duo release their forthcoming EP Made in Streatham on 2 February 2018 to follow up last year’s critically acclaimed debut The Yellow Line.

Ferris & Sylvester are London-based musicians Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester. First meeting as solo artists, they navigated their way through London’s vibrant live music scene alone before realising that writing together would create an almighty partnership.

The twosome swiftly made an impact, including on high profile producer Martin ‘Youth’ Glover who recorded their debut EP at his Space Mountain Studios in Spain. Regulars on the London live circuit, their tracks have clocked up numerous plays on Spotify and have been championed by BBC Radio 2 and BBC Introducing.

With their own unique version of folk/alt-country and a subtle dust of blues and rockabilly it makes for a captivating blend. Issy’s velvety, dusky voice and Archie’s bluesy guitar are enhanced with carefully crafted songwriting. Their influences include Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell as well as Laura Marling.

Made in Streatham was written and recorded in the pair’s South London flat with a bunch of their favourite musicians. Released tracks so far include lead single The Room, an impassioned slice of autobiographical Americana that depicts the pair’s life in Streatham Hill and London’s Blues, which recently featured at No.14 on Spotify’s ‘New Music Friday’ playlist.

Their latest release Better In Yellow was a worthy inclusion on BBC Introducing’s ‘Best Of 2017’ list. Brass notes are added to their signature mix of guitar licks and dazzling harmonies and it comes accompanied by a pastel hued video directed by Sam Rookes that channels the ‘80s. It cleverly achieves the duo’s vision of a striking and simple concept “using bold and clashy colours to get that old TV set vibe”. 

On 11 January, Ferris & Sylvester played London’s Battersea Arts Centre for the launch of the Made in Streatham EP. The ceiling and stage dripped with hundreds of twinkling lights which gave a cinematic feel to the launch. It wasn’t just the room that dazzled; Ferris & Sylvester brought the set to life with their stomping, London take on Americana.

The track list included the bittersweet The Room and a captivating cover of Shakey Graves’ Dearly Departed, with Issy taking up the reins from Esmé Patterson with effortless vocals. Ferris & Sylvester’s sound may be dreamy but on Berlin their lyrics offer a darker narrative, telling of battles with “these pills that I’m taking”.

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Stripped back, mellow tracks were achy and haunting, while Andy Watts on trumpet balanced the crisp tones of acoustic guitar. Issy and Archie have an enchanting onstage presence, smiling at each other and having the time of their lives.

The retro twang of Better in Yellow made it impossible not to sing along. Final encore London’s Blues with finger clicks and vocal rounds made for a triumphant, cheerful ending . The duo said they were “blown away by the support they’ve been shown” but they fully deserve the backing.

Ferris & Sylvester’s sound has been described as “pretty as a California sunset”. It’s a glorious comparison, but we think it also sounds just as radiant in Streatham, too.

Made In Streatham is released on 2 February 2018 you can find out even more here




Feature by Nicola Greenbrook. Nicola is a music, fashion and lifestyle freelance writer based in East London and you can find out more here.

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