The One With The House Dj: Ross From Friends Talks
Ross From Friends started his career as a fictional palaeontologist in New York, where he had a series of hilarious failed marriages and an on/off relationship with fellow fictional character Rachel From Friends that kept viewers guessing. It was only in the last few years that he decided to change his job and become a DJ, and in that short space of time has already started making waves with his heavy reliance on woozy synths, hip hop-esque sampling and relentless four four bass kicks.
His debut EP, ‘Alex Brown’, was released in 2015 on Breaker Breaker, and since then he has been prolific in putting out material on his Soundcloud page. This year he put out another EP on Lobster Theremin associates Distant Hawaii called ‘You’ll Understand’, which featured one of the low key songs of the year in ‘Talk To Me You’ll Understand’, a typically fast paced and melodic house track that’s been doing the rounds on a fair few dancefloors this summer.
It seems like conditions are ripe for Ross From Friends to be hitting some widespread acclaim in the near future so I sat down with him to find out more about what makes him tick.
Hi Ross From Friends, how’s it going? Can you tell us a bit about yourself for the R$N readers that might not know you?
Hi guys, Ross here I’m good thanks how are you? I make electronic music as Ross From Friends and also play in a band called Ross From Friends.
What are you up to at the moment, touring, recording, catching up on repeats of classic late 90s to mid 2000s American sitcoms?
I’m mainly just focusing on making sure that all of my invoices are dated and collated properly with the right reference numbers and payees on them. Also trying to digitise all of my receipts for expenses from the past year to make sure everything is organised for when I have to file my Self Assessment tax return in January.
How did you get into dance music? Both making it and in general? Are there any local scenes that you cut your teeth in or artists that helped you out along the way?
Growing up in Mongolia, I found that dance music was really difficult to come by. There was one big radio station called ‘Andrew Style FM’ that played a lot of trance and hardstyle that me and my friends got into as kids; we used to drive down to the quarry, tune all of our car radios to Andrew Style and talk to each other until we got tired and all drove home. DJ AMAI, the founder of the radio station, really guided me and crafted my style that I have developed up until now—showing me all of the clubs and introducing me to the local scene. Making the music then came as a natural progression after this.
Who were your biggest influences growing up and who are the people going right now that you listen to the most?
DJ AMAI really was my only influence growing up, and now I really appreciate Red Bull x Snickers x Topman who have been such a tight support of friends approaching my European tour dates and have inspired me to make some great music.
It seems like tech house, especially more melodic sample based stuff is really popular right now, why do you think that is?
I think that the world is going through some really rough stuff at the moment so it’s great to have some escapism from that—dance music in that context is always really important for this. It’s great that tech house DJs like Stefano Noferini, Steve Lawler and Jamie Jones can always push the boundaries and help the listener escape from the awful things that are going on in the world.
Do you feel like you are apart of a growing wave of this kind of house, along with people like Chaos In The CBD?
Yeah, I think tech house has really taken off recently and I’d love to be considered contemporaries with the likes of Stefano Noferini, Steve Lawler and Jamie Jones. But tech house has a tendency of being ever changing, so what’s great now could be awash in the future, so I’d like to keep it fresh and original like Stefano Noferini, Steve Lawler and Jamie Jones have all managed to do.
You’ve been pretty prolific in releasing tunes on soundcloud and EPs, is an album in the works or are you just happy to release music like this right now?
There’s certainly an album in the works currently. With a label that I’m wicked jazzed about working alongside.
When you play live do you prefer to play mostly from your own tracks or do you only wanna play other artists?
On the upcoming tour we can only really play music that isn’t legally owned by a third party—library music, licence-free music, that kind of thing; it just makes it far easier for our friends supporting the tour to register it with the music licensing services and because of advertising standards. Haha, I dunno ask my lawyer!
I actually came across your music on a YouTube channel that has a lot of similar music on it, how do you feel about the Internet in terms of having it be a great way of getting your stuff out there but then also that it makes it harder to get paid for it?
Entry into the music industry through the Internet is no longer reliant on record deals with major labels rather allows for up and coming musicians upload and distribute their music via other means. English singer Lily Allen is a perfect example as Allen success was largely due to the fact she was able to release and promote her own record on the social networking page MySpace. It was only when her songs grew their own fan base reaching over tens of thousands online streams she was offered a record contract with Regal Labels.
Are you just reading from Wikipedia?
O.K. So, what are your plans for the rest of the year and what can we expect from you in 2017?
For the rest of the year I’m probably going to be working on my tax returns and drinking Red Bull.
I have to ask, who has a better name out of you, DJ Longdick and DJ Boring?
DJ Boring because although your friends might think that you’re boring, you’re actually probably getting quite a lot of important things done.
I agree. So why did you choose Ross From Friends as a name? It’s basically my favourite name in music right now.
My Uncle, when we were living in Dubai, began a company that acted as a middleman distribution unit for furniture from the manufacturers to the stores. In this industry, because of packing, glass objects like windows and mirrors we’re specifically difficult to ship. So each distributor had a sign that would indicate whether they sent mirrors or not. My Uncle had a sign that said ‘Sends Off Mirrors’ to indicate that his distribution plant would, in fact, send mirrors. After staring at this sign over long summers of working at the plant, I discovered that ‘Sends Off Mirrors’ is an anagram of ‘Ross From Friends’ and so it kinda stuck!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Make sure to catch us, Ross From Friends, at various bars and clubs up and down Europe—and remember—the first 30 people through the door get a free Topman iPod touch case!
Thanks, Ross From Friends.
Follow Ross From Friends on Facebook HERE.