Originally hailing from Scotland but now based in Copenhagen, Perko debuted on Numbers back in 2018 with NV Auto – his take on UK soundsystem culture and modern experimental music. It was an early demonstration of his talent, fostering atmospheric, blissed-out sound design with club touches of UKG and Detroit techno, a record met with critical acclaim and praise across the board for its brilliance. The release seemed well beyond his age at the time, carrying a sound and musical outlook he’s maintained in releases over the years that have followed. This has also transferred onto his label, FELT, a venture he started last year with aim to release timeless, minimal music still rooted in the sonics of soundsystem culture – a well he continues to draw from. We caught up with Fergus to chat about his time in Copenhagen, pragmatic approaches in the studio, improvisation during live sets and all things FELT. His Truancy Volume, coming under his full name Fergus Jones today takes centre stage however; his mix of twisted, early-2000s electro and minimalistic, shuffling house deftly waving groove-based subtleties to bewitch the dancefloor.
Hey there Fergus, thanks for taking out the time to answer some questions and doing this mix for us! So just to start, how have you been, and how has the year been getting on for you so far? “Thanks for having me! I’m doing well, getting into a nice routine now after a period of feeling somewhat unsettled. This year has been amazing, if a little hectic. I’m trying to slow down a bit and give myself some time to relax before launching into another set of projects.”
What’s been the pace of life like since moving to Copenhagen? Are you quite comfortable here now? What’s your routine like? “The pace of life here is extremely pleasant. There’s a general emphasis on maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and I feel very comfortable. It’s a fairly compact city as well, so even if I’m doing a lot in a day I don’t typically find that I’m spending ages sitting on public transport. My apartment, my office, my studio and my university are all within a 15 minute bike ride, and most of my friends live within that same radius. I can’t really imagine living anywhere else.”
What do you think is the role of local scenes in dance music today? With you being someone new to where you grew up what does “local” mean to you? “I feel like there has been a renewed emphasis on the importance of local scenes in the past couple of years. Most of the clubs, parties and DJs I’ve found inspiring this year have their roots in a strong local scene (Nowadays, Super, Zhao Dai, OIL etc). Could easily spend a whole interview speaking about this stuff but I think the European festival & club circuit has an unfortunate side effect of stamping out individuality, but in these local scenes and communities DJs are given the time and space to flourish and develop their own voices. It’s important to remember that the most interesting things in dance music don’t happen on Instagram.”
With your routine in terms of production I was reading an interview where you mention that you divide your time up in the studio by either doing sound design sessions or writing sessions, and it got me thinking why I don’t read about producers doing this more often. What goes into a sound design session for you then? Are they easily separated? “It’s been a couple of years since that interview, and I think since that time I’ve diverged somewhat from this routine. I find that I go through phases of discovery and boundary pushing, and then phases of playing around within that new area. At that time I was in a very exploratory stage, whereas now I feel like I’m trying to make music within the realm I’ve created for myself.
In general though I go into one of these sessions with a goal of simply playing around with some new plugin, or recording some new sounds from hardware. I’m quite pragmatic when it comes to actually writing music, so I usually only start that process when I have a clear idea of a project or release. This is also influenced by the amount of free time I have in a week. 5 years ago I had far fewer responsibilities, so could easily spend 8 hours in the studio fiddling with the feedback on a delay pedal. Sadly this is no longer the case, so I need to be a bit more careful with my hours.”
So let’s talk about FELT as the label has got off to such a magical start and it feels like such a carefully curated label already whilst only being four releases in. What kind of ideas were floating around when you were thinking of getting this off the ground? I know it’s early days with FELT but I get a real feeling of the way Moopie run’s A Colourful Storm or Tasker does with AD9 with the label. “Thanks! I can’t remember now exactly why I wanted to start it, but if I recall correctly it was drawing connections between certain records and artists, and wanting to present that. It was also during COVID so I had a lot of free time to ponder. I would say that the curation comes mostly from listening to each new record within the context of everything else, and asking if it fits into that story. Side note is I don’t think any of the music I make would be right to release on FELT, but let’s see. Yes, big respect to Moopie & Nic. ACS in particular has shaped my idea of what a record label should be.”
What can you tell us about the first release from Civilistjävel!? He’d been self-releasing with the help from Low Company since 2018 that I imagine it must have felt quite special to get him to release a record officially on a label for the first time. Were you just a big fan of his music or had there been a prior relationship? “I was just a big fanboy. He did a mix for my rinse show some years back and then I asked him if he had any music he’d be up for me releasing. He sent me FELT001 basically in its finished form, and we released it about a year later. I’m so happy to have him on the label.”
Releasing music from your dad (The Catburgers) also must have felt pretty special. What were his thoughts when you proposed the idea? Were you also raised in quite a music-loving family would you say? “Those master tapes have been sitting in the attic at my parents house for years. I think when I first suggested it he was a bit surprised, but with some gentle convincing the band all came around to the idea.There was always music around the house, and I’ve been playing music all my life, but I’m wary of falling into the usual “raised by my parents record collection” DJ interview trope, even if it’s a little bit true).”
What can you tell us about that liveset you played with Huerco S right next to a waterfall for Lunga Festival? I hadn’t heard of the festival before but what a dream location. From playing in cinemas for five hours and doing live sets and releasing music together it seems like you’ve become quite the pair! “A few of my friends run an artist residency in Seydisfjordur in Iceland called HeimA, and they asked if I wanted to go there for a residency, and if I would like to bring someone. Brian and I had been talking for a little bit about making some music together so I asked if he’d like to join. There’s a small music festival in the town called LungA, so we booked the residency so it would coincide with that, giving us a chance to play out a bit. It was a really surreal month, and completely changed the way I approach making music and performing it live. Brian is a really inspiring person, and every time we perform live I feel like he completely shifts my perspective on music, especially since our live sets are completely improvised, with almost no preparation or practice time.”
Your live sets seem to be finding themselves in amazing locations as you also played a live set on a Metro Train for Strøm last year. What can you tell us about your live sets in general? I was reading an interview where you often find yourself making, scraping and returning to a lot of tracks so I wonder if that lends itself quite well in setting up a live set? “I have a tricky relationship with live sets. It’s only after performing with Huerco S. that I’ve found a setup and process that I believe to be both stimulating (for myself and the audience) and loose enough to allow for improvisation and fluidity. With this current setup it’s almost entirely improvised, and falls somewhere between plunder-phonics and a dub DJ set. That process of making and scrapping ideas means I have a lot of source material to work with, and draw on this to create a loose free-flowing performance.”
June was also a massive month for you this year with you traversing on a little tour across China and Japan. How was the experience? Any particular highlights? FFKT festival in Japan looked incredible! “That trip was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I feel like I’m still processing it.Everyone was so nice, every club was amazing, and I left feeling extremely optimistic about the state of dance music. Far too many experiences to highlight, but big thanks to everyone who looked after me over the whole month.”
Can you tell us about three albums that a) define you getting into electronic music in general, b) maybe a midway album when you were fully invested in DJing and and c) a recent album that you’ve especially enjoyed?
a) The cool answer would be the “Jeff Mills – Live at the Liquid Room” CD my dad would play in the car sometimes. The real answer is probably something from r/futuregarage or the FunkySouls UK Funky threads.
b) Kassem Mosse – Workshop 19
c) Hard to say one but here are some albums on rotation right now:
Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 – Strangers from the Universe
Aaron Dilloway – The Gag File
Mark Hollis – Mark Hollis
Microdisney – Everybody is Fantastic
The Dead C – Tusk
Lukid – Tilt
What sort of other hobbies or interests do you have outside of electronic music? Are there any books, films, art pieces or other things you’ve seen or been reading/watching that you might want to share?
Like every other semi-freelance creative in their late 20s I’m spending a lot of time at the climbing gym at the moment. Other than that, music consumes most of my free time.
Here are a few books I’ve read recently:
Lucy Sante – Maybe The People Would Be The Times
Tarjei Vesaas – The Birds
bell hooks – All About Love: New Visions
Could you describe the process of creating this mix? Was there a specific message or feeling you wanted to convey? “I’ve been travelling a lot this year, and have had the opportunity to share and discover music, and I think this mix reflects that. Most of the tracks here I’ve either found in a record store, heard in a club, or a friend has shared them with me. In that sense it didn’t take too much planning, and felt like it came together fairly quickly. Thanks to JR, Tom, Gareth, Bake & Liv.”
What are you looking forward to for the rest of the year? What are your artistic goals for this year and beyond? “I’m looking forward to moving in with my partner, and spending more time indoors as the weather gets colder. As always, my artistic goals are to maintain a healthy relationship with the music industry, and interact with it in a way that feels comfortable for me.”
Last, usual question from us, what was the last thing to put a big smile on your face and when was the last time you had a proper dance? “Picking chanterelle mushrooms in the woods with my friends a couple of weekends ago. Vladimir Ivkovic 6 hour set at Nowadays Nonstop from 9am – 3pm the morning after I played there. Finished my set, went home, had a nap, and then went straight back to the club :)”
You can download Truancy Volume 319: Fergus Jones in 320 kbps and view the full tracklist on Patreon here. Your support helps cover all our costs and allows Truants to continue running as a non-profit and ad-free platform. Members will receive exclusive access to mixes, tracklists, and discounts off future merchandise. We urge you to support the future of independent music journalism—a little goes a long way.