Silver Moonshine: interviews with some of our favorite artists.
December 2004 - John Ferenzik
I would describe your CD, House Of Boris, as a "fusion-rock, spooky Halloween soundtrack." Many of the song titles suggest that theme as well (October, Vampira, Black Highway). And apparantly your recording persisted despite a heavy deposit of fog. Is this the dark side of Ferenzik?

I hadn't thought of it that way, but I suppose it comes off as a little moody. A lot of the music was compiled from out-takes and leftover jams from other recording sessions, particularly during the time frame of Zero Points For Zeus. While the jams were a lot of fun, it was really difficult to pare down all the noodling and edit the stuff together. I had a much easier time putting together songs like Mr. Relentless and House of Boris because they were composed first, demoed and charted up for the musicians, then recorded in a very short space of time. Also, there were a lot of delays in getting the CD finished - scheduling problems, budget problems, equipment failure and just distractions in general - so I suppose a little gloom may have slopped over. In that sense, House Of Boris was indeed a "haunting" experience.

Of the songs that you mentioned - House Of Boris was a reaction to House Of Blues. I felt like writing a "blues" with an eastern European motif, and that's where that ditty came from. Black Highway was just a title that seemed to fit the song - riding down a highway music. Vampira was a tribute to the original Vampira - Maila Nurmi - the vampire girl in "Plan Nine From Outer Space" - it's a little theme song for her, if you will.

Quite a few notables lend their talents to the project like Jesse Gress and Prairie Prince. I also see that Mike Keneally plays guitar on a few tracks. I'm curious as to whether all tracks were recorded right there in person or if there was any long-distance track-trading going on?

It was all done in person. Prairie cut his tracks at Maja Audio in Philedelphia. Jesse came down to my project studio and did guitar overdubs. And Mike Keneally was in town playing up the street from the studio where I was cutting, so he walked down before soundcheck with his guitar and rolling suitcase, then he just plugged in and played - it was very spontaneous. I'd rather be there when the playing is happening, rather than let someone take it back home and stew over it before submitting it for approval. It's more fun that way!

Two tracks from Boris stand out as a little bit different for you, the previously-mentioned October and As Far As The Eye Can See. They both have more of a contemporary jazz feel to them and I believe they are both outstanding. Do you agree with my assessment of those two tracks?

I agree, especially the part about them being outstanding. Thanks, I'll take it. Seriously, the smooth jazz thing wasn't intentional, I just thought it offset the heavier stuff. Both "October" and "As Far As The I Can See" had been written a long time ago, but I never had a definitive document of them until now.

October is probably my favorite month of the year, for all the obvious reasons, beginning with the crisp autumnal atmosphere and ending with the biers of Oktoberfest not to mention the magic of Halloween. Do I sense a kindred spirit in you?

Yes, especially the beer part.

I've noticed that you've established a pattern of releasing an instrumental album and then a more pop-oriented album with vocals. So can we expect another pop-oriented album next?

Well, I'm getting alot of interest in the instrumental stuff, so that might be what happens next. I'd like to do both!

It seems like your music would lend itself to soundtracks and the like. Do you see yourself pursuing that sort of avenue, or have you already been approached?

I'd love to compose music for film. I'm a big fan of movie music and of composers like Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Herrmann and Henry Mancini (to name a few). A couple of project have been floated my way, but so far it hasn't gotten beyond the discussion phase.

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