20 Questions: Ross From Friends - XLR8R
Felix Clary Weatherall talks books, Brainfeeder, and his debut album.

Ross From Friends is the latest signing to Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder, but you probably already know that. The 24-year-old, real name Felix Clary Weatherall, has made quite a name for himself since he first set tongues wagging with 2015's "(Talk To Me) You’ll Understand, a hazy lo-fi number with woozy synths and classy vocal samples. It's racked up close to four million Youtube plays alone. Former British Prime Minister was even caught humming it after his July 2016 resignation speech. It really was that infectious. 

Clary Weatherall is born and raised in Colchester, United Kingdom. His affiliation with music came through his father, a local DJ with a penchant for '80s Hi-NRG and Italo disco—and it wasn't long before Weatherall's experiments began. He divided his time between making music in bands and solo work, operating under a slew of different aliases, before becoming Ross From Friends in 2012. He's given various different explanations for his adoption of this alias. 

A first release came in 2015 and set the tone for things to come. Released via South London label Breaker Breaker, Alex Brown featured three sample-laded, rough-edged house cuts; but it wasn't until the "(Talk To Me) You’ll Understand" that he really broke through. It took him over six months to produce, drawing inspiration and an endearing sense of melancholy from a series of unfortunate changes in his life. "There was quite a lot of emotion genuinely put into that song," he said in a previous interview. He's since gone on to perform a three-man live show in clubs across the world, while sharing music via Lone’s Magicwire, Molten Jets, Lobster Theremin, and, most recently, Brainfeeder—distancing himself a little bit more from his original lo-fi sound. With a debut album in the works, XLR8R caught up with Clary Weatherall as part of our 20 Questions series. 

Ross From Friends will be performing at this year's Parklife Festival, taking place on June 8 and 9 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Also on the bill are Four Tet, Peggy Gou, Mall Grab, and many more. More information can be found here

1. What have you been up to recently?

I just got a Nintendo Switch so I’ve been rinsing that a whole load recently. Just got Zelda so I think that’s gonna start consuming my life. 

2. You just released on Brainfeeder. How did the relationship with the label come about?

I think someone showed FlyLo some of my tunes in like 2016 and he got in touch over Twitter. We were chatting for a pretty short time then he asked me to release music on his label. It felt like I was being proposed to.

3. Is it true that David Schwimmer is suing you for defamation?

Haha, I wish! That was a prank article from Mixmag, I had no idea they were going to do that. The thing is now if the TV show did actually sue me for defamation, it’d be a proper boy who cried wolf scenario, I think.

4. What’s your connection to Friends as a show—or was it just a whim?

The reason I chose the name was because there was this TV in the studio where I was making music that had a DVD of Friends jammed in it and it was stuck on. So every time I made music, the TV show Friends was constantly playing while I was recording. If you listen carefully you can hear some of Chandler’s sarcastic quips in the background of my tracks where the mic picked it up.

5. Do you read record reviews of your music?

I really try not to. Even whether it’s positive or negative, it always seems to have some kind of influence on me. I feel it’s better to try and cut myself off from that world and remember the reasons why I make the music.

6. How much of your online goofy persona a reflection of you personally?

Yeah, it definitely is a massive part of myself. Quite a lot of the time I try not to take things too seriously. 

7. What was the last book you read and why?

Nicholas Pileggi "Wiseguy." That was the last book I actually finished, and that was a few years ago. I’ve got about five other books I’m reading, but I feel like I’ll never actually get to the end of them. I read "Wiseguy" just because I’m super into 20th Century mobster stuff. It was the book that became Goodfellas.

8. How do you feel about London as a city, speaking generally?

Yeah, I like it. It’s super convenient, there is loads you can do and all of my friends live here. I always think about moving abroad but I have everything I love in one place, so I think I’ll stay here for the foreseeable future.

9. What do you get up to on weekends, when you’re not playing?

Usually just seeing my friends as much as I can really. Going down the pub, chilling out.

10. If you could have dinner with any musician, alive or dead, who would it be?

Probably Michael Jackson. I’m a huge fan of his music, like everyone is,  I’m sure, but to see what he’s really like on a personal level would be wicked.

11. Besides music and skating, do you have any other hobbies?

I haven’t skated in so long so I feel guilty for calling that a hobby anymore, unfortunately. But I play five-a-side football in London every Thursday, that’s always a hoot.

12. How much time do you spend in your studio per week?

I share a studio with John, the saxophonist from the live show, so we divide up the days throughout the week. But when it’s my turn, I try to spend as long as possible in there. Like 20 hours or something stupid like that. When I’m making tunes it feels like I could stay up for days but I just have to tell myself to stop after a certain amount of time. 

13. What’s your favorite place to visit on tour?

One place that really stuck out for me was Florence, Italy. I’ve only been there once, and we had the opportunity to walk around for a few hours or something but it was beautiful. Definitely going to visit again.

14. What music are you listening to at home right now?

I’m rinsing the new Jpegmafia album, Veteran, at the moment. Such an expressive, genius album.

15. Who do you show your music to before you release it?

I always get well excited when I finish something so I’ll be playing it at home. But I usually send it straight to my girlfriend, John and Jed from the live show and my manager Simon.

16. Do you think deeply about where you’re going musically?

Yeah definitely. I always have a vision in my head that I’ll be like 40 years old and have released like 10 albums or something like that. I always like to progress and experiment, try new things out and challenge myself. It keeps it interesting for me.

17. What’s the last thing that made you laugh and why? 

The last thing that made me laugh was Peep Show. I've just binge watched that show for the past, like, 10 years. I don't know how but it always just reliably makes me laugh out loud, even when I'm completely on my own. 

18. Do you have a favorite album of all time?

I always seem to have a top three in my head that hasn’t changed in the past five years or so, in no particular order:

Madvillain Madvillainy

Michael Jackson Thriller

The Smiths The Queen Is Dead

19. What’s next on the production front—can we expect anything in a longer format?

I’ve actually just finished putting together my debut album. It’s been an absolutely grueling process, and a proper look inside myself. I’ve loved it and hated it. But now it’s finished I want to try and make another one all over again!

20. What can you tell us about the album

My debut album is a real culmination of everything I've been working towards after making music for so many years. I spent a really intense amount of time just obsessively trying new ideas out until I created something that I was satisfied was a step beyond what I'd made before. It was a super intense and horrible process and I can't wait to start making another one!

Ross From Friends will play at Parklife's Afterlife after-party series on Saturday, June 9 at The Soup Kitchen in collaboration with Now Wave