Farryl Purkiss
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Farryl Purkiss

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa | INDIE

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa | INDIE
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The best kept secret in music

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Before performing to adoring crowds South African acoustic singer/songwriter Farryl Purkiss had his sights on a thriving career as a video store assistant and, perhaps later, as a respected marine biologist.

Purkiss was persuaded to suspend these professional aspirations after friend and fellow musician Nibs van der Spuy made an offer he could not refuse.

Van der Spuy had just launched his own record label, Greenhouse Music, and offered to help promote and distribute an album if Purkiss got into the recording studio. The video store assistant took up the challenge and in 2006 his self-titled debut Farryl Purkiss went to stores. A South African Music Awards (SAMA) nomination followed and — excuse the overused adage — “the rest is history”. He said it.

Regular tour dates abroad have garnered Purkiss a following, and his fan base is growing rapidly after popular American medical drama Private Practice featured Pennies in the Snow off his second album Fruitbats and Crows in a recent episode. And it’s the second time the hit series has done so, after using single Sticks and Stones as the musical backdrop to a previous episode.

“They [producers of Private Practice] were already familiar with me, and when the new album came out they liked Pennies in the Snow and wanted to use it. I’m super blessed and super happy. It’s opened up a lot of doors for me,” says Purkiss.

Although he’s had some good luck after he “fell into a music career accidentally”, Purkiss is quick to point out that the journey from obscurity to recognised headliner is a long and arduous one.

“People work their arses off to tour, tour, tour, and then they still don’t get their name out there. One little song on a TV show really helps, though.”

Purkiss is no stranger to the rigmaroles of touring both in South Africa and abroad, and he’ll be off for another stint in Canada and the United States next year. While he describes audiences on home turf as “rad and super-receptive”, he reckons there’s far more support for unknown artists in other parts of the globe.

“Starting out in this country, I find it’s very difficult to get people to come out and pay money for shows when you’re unknown, unless you’re opening for a bigger band. I find overseas people support: if there’s a date booked and a cool venue, people will come.
They’ll pay the money even if you’re unknown and from a foreign country.”

Although Purkiss says he has played at some “amazing” shows and festivals overseas, he still rates the local version of the legendary Woodstock music festival in Jo’burg as his best gig. “It was pissing with rain but as we started playing the clouds parted and it was sunset. It was just mad, one of the most fun shows ever,” he recalls.

His weirdest show has also been on home soil, he adds. “We played in some arb little town in the Northern Cape at a school beauty pageant…It was so weird. That was probably the most awkward, worst one I’ve done.”

From playing weird gigs to inadvertently becoming one of South Africa’s top artists, spontaneity is part of Purkiss’ creative process. This applies to creating albums, too, as he prefers going into studio without a rigid plan in mind.

“I never really know what I’m going to do with it,” he explains. “I have the bones of the song and just the guitar and the voice; you can take it any direction…The sound is evolving — I’m following it, it’s not following me. The music is a lot bigger than you are.”

The go-with-the-musical-flow philosophy seems to be a winning formula for Purkiss, whose second album Fruitbats and Crows got heavy rotation on radio stations and several nominations and a Best Producer win at the 2010 SAMAs.

Although he’s flattered to be recognised by the local music industry, Purkiss makes it clear he doesn’t “do music for the awards, the accolades, or even the money”.

“You obviously have to pay the rent, and the awards do motivate you, but it’s definitely not a big part of why I do it.”

For him, there just isn’t any other option. “I write songs. It’s what I do. No motivation required. I love doing it. I want to do it. Until I can’t pay my bills or support my future family, then I’m going to have to do something else. But until that point I’m going to keep on going. My goal has never been to be super-famous,” he says.

When Purkiss and his girlfriend — whom he met on the internet (“a long story”) — are not chasing squirrels and braaing at their abode on a Constantia farm, he’s working to ensure he’ll still be playing music long after he greys. That seems likely with a third album release planned for early next year. Until then Purkiss is killing time with a collaborative project with Pierre Greeff from Afrikaans band Heuwels Fantasties.

“This is my first time collaborating with anyone. So it’s a bit of a learning curve for me to share a writing space,” he muses.

Aside from the occasional interview, you also won’t find Purkiss on the self-promotion trail, most - The Big Issue



After a Major buzz earlier in the year from international fans of the hit TV show, Private Practice, South African fans will soon be hearing why South Africa's most beloved Singer/Songwriter, Farryl Purkiss, has had his international fan base grow rapidly overnight thanks to the TV show.

2011 brought a great start to the year for Farryl Purkiss after his single 'Pennies In the Snow' aired on major US TV series Private Practice on international TV screens in January. Fans from all over started contacting Farryl via his social network pages and those who were still finding out who Farryl was, were posting blogs across various websites commenting on the song Pennies In The Snow which they had just heard on the show. After all the international hype, we get to watch this highly anticipated episode of Private Practice as it airs in South Africa on mNet and mNet HD on Monday, 12 September, at 21:30.

Pennies In The Snow is taken from Farryl's most successful album to date, Fruitbats & Crows. Since its release, Fruitbats & Crows has generated three major hit singles with A Million Grains Of Sand, Kissing Devils On The Cheek and Creeping Up On Me doing incredibly well on radio and Brian O'Shea winning the 2010 SAMA for Best Producer for his work on Fruitbats & Crows.

This is not the first time Farryl's had a song placed on Private Practice. The piano mix of his song Sticks & Stones was used on episode 5 in the 3rd season of Private Practice, but till now has never been available to fans on any release. Fruitbats & Crows has been repackaged as a 2CD Special Edition and released in June 2011 with a bonus disc which includes unreleased songs and some brand new material, including the piano mix of Sticks & Stones.

Also on the Bonus disc is In Apostrophes, an acoustic version of a brand new song for the next Studio album, Monkeys' Wedding Live which has become a fan favourite request at live shows and differs vastly from the album version. Number Seven never made the final track-listing when Fruitbats & Crows was released and is now available on this bonus disc as the only instrumental song on the album, and the release also includes Farryl's stunning versions of the Bob Dylan track Positively 4th Street and the classic New Order single Blue Monday!

The latest video to be released by Farryl Purkiss from the Special Edition, is the beautiful video shot for Seraphine in London earlier in 2011. The creator of the beautiful music video is Hamblin Imagery, originally from Durban (Umdloti) and now based in London. Headed up by Peter Hamblin, the growing unit are dedicated to creating still and moving imagery that is inspiring and original. They are guided by the beauty of individuality and focused on creating cut through and visual substance, as evident in the music video for Seraphine.

The idea behind the video for Seraphine, came when Farryl met up with Peter in London about five months back, and over a couple of beers they started talking about Farryl's next singles and his inspiration behind the track Seraphine, which is ultimately about the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of God. In line with the message of the song, they thought it would be fantastic to depict this life journey over the course of the song. In a sense we are born happy (born into God) and as we grow up we explore who we are, we adventure out in to the world and create a journey of experiences, some good, some bad, and ultimately they define who we are. The video does exactly this, which you could see as that moment when your life flashes in front of your eyes. Our Angel Seraphine (played by Yulia) appears at the definitive points of this journey highlighting where true happiness lies.

Peter Hamblin had been toying with the idea of shooting this music video in stop motion, but after a couple of conversations with his DOP, Mat Gardner, and realizing that they only had 3 days to shoot, they decided on the existing treatment of shooting Farryl against as many backdrops as possible to create this ever-changing journey effect. This led to a great deal of walking around London, shooting where permitted, against whatever backdrop they could find (all-in-all they shot against 110 backdrops). The entire crew was exhausted and it was quite a process to edit, but it's made for a stunning video!

In the words of Farryl "If I was still in London, we could walk some more".

Visit the gig guide pages for all the details on Farryl's gigs in September.

Want to own this album now? Buy it on Omusic.com -
South Africa's premiere digital music store, offering users unprecedented access to over 3.5 million affordable, legal, top-quality MP3 and AAC tracks and albums online and via mobile.

Connect with Farryl Purkiss on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Farryl-Purkiss/21183980229 - or on Twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/farrylpurkiss.

Watch Farryl Purkiss's Music Videos online:

• A Million Grains Of Sand - http://www.youtube.com/wa - SA Music Online


Hey Fez, we really liked that Seraphine video, tell us about making it: were you traveling Europe in the same denim shirt or were you shot against a green screen?

It was all shot in London. No green screen, we shot 110 locations in 2 days - 110! - it was so heavy. Was full on guerilla style shooting cause we had no permits. So whenever official people weren't looking we pulled out the lights and camera and shot until they looked at us and started talking into their walkie talkies. When they would ask us what we were doing we would just reply “fala portouguese?”

Who’s that girl, she's gawgous? How did you meet her?

That's my girlfriend. To be honest we met online. She lived with a good mate of mine in London for a bit and he put us in touch with each other... boom!

Oh, that's creepy. Anyway, at first listen I thought you were singing about 'surfing' but it's 'Seraphine', what's that?

Its a name, Dylan.

That last video of yours also had just your face singing into the camera. You got nominated for some award for that, right? Are you sticking to the winning formula or just giving your fans what they want?

Yea that vid got a nomination. And no, I'm not sticking to any formula, the whole concept for the video came from the director Peter Hamblin, I just arrived and said, “Ok so what we doing?”, and we shot it like that. Next video we might get super arty and just shoot my foot, or my elbow or something... Deep.

Would you consider yourself either of the following: a handsome man, a sex symbol, a great hunk of spunk?

I would consider myself a man with a beard who is fascinated by squirrels.

How do you keep your neck-beard looking so good?

Yoga.

You kept a pretty straight face after shooting that shot of vodka. Or was it water you big phony?

It was as real as my beard.

You wear a lot of denim and flannel. Are you happy with your wardobe?

I have a phobia for printed, or plain coloured clothes. Denim and flannel keeps me calm, especially on Wednesdays.

What are your essentials?

Pair of jeans, flannel shirt or denim jacket, favourite pair of Puma's, my girl, and roast chicken.

What album is this song off of, where can we download it/buy it?

It's off “Fruitbats & Crows” is available in most Musicas and Look and Listens, or just go to www.farrylpurkiss.co.za for links to download it.

If we want to keep up with you, on what channels can we stalk you?

www.farrylpurkiss.co.za has links to my facebook and twitter pages. Also you can watch me through my window if you know where we live. - The Star Newspaper - Tonight section


Discography

- Chapter One (Album, Independent, 2005)
- Ducking and Diving (CD Single, 2 Feet, 2006)
- Farryl Purkiss (Album, 2 Feet, South African release Oct 2006)
- Fruitbats & Crows (Award-winning album, 2 Feet Music, South Africa 2009)
- Special Edition: Fruitbats & Crows (2 Feet Music, South Africa, 2011)

Photos

Bio

Born and raised on the north coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal (South Africa), singer songwriter Farryl Purkiss’s music is captivating, emotive and memorable.

His 2005 debut EP release, “Chapter One”, a self financed project, was recorded in collaboration with South African guitar legend Nibs van der Spuy and marketed and released with the assistance of Sheer Sound. Apart from a heavy 2006 touring schedule which has included headline appearances at festivals such as Splashy Fen, Wavescapes Film Festival, Mr Price Classic and The Billabong Pro Farryl has also recently completed two national tours as a guest of Australian superstars Missy Higgins (July 2006) and Ben Lee (April 2006). He has also toured with Donovan Frankenreiter and has played with Jack Johnson, which resulted in a co-composition with Jack. The “Chapter One” EP was nominated for a 2006 South African Music Award (SAMA) in the ‘Best Adult Contemporary’ category. He has completed two succesful Australian tours including a headline spot at Big Day Out (Perth). Farryl has also been featured heavily in the Audi TT (UK) campaign with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street” (www.ttremastered.com).

2007 saw Farryl support Australia’s Bob Evans on 31 date tour, where he enjoyed heavy rotation on over 40 radio stations with his debut single “Better Days”. In beween these tours Farryl made his European debut in April & early May of 2007.

2007 also saw Farryl’s single “La-Di-Da” reach the #1 spot in the charts on the French radio station FIP. His debut album was also released in Japan. Farryl also was voted as the #19 “Hottest” celeb in the Heat Hot 100 voted for by the public.

“Fruitbats & Crows” (2009) was the long awaited follow up to Farryl Purkiss’s 2006 internationally critically acclaimed self titled album. In the pastthree years, Purkiss has toured Australia three times, Europe, USA and of course, South Africa. He’s had radio success in all of the above territories including Japan and a #1 in France with “La-Di-Da”. His songs have been used in campaigns by Nissan (Greece), Audi (UK), MTN (South Africa) as well as placement in the international film “Adopted” (featuring Pauly Shore). In 2007 he was voted the most popular musician by Heat Magazine (South Africa) and has been featured by every major newspaper, magazine, TV show and radio station in South Africa as well as an ambassador for Woolworths.

This album was produced by one of South Africa’s most successful producers, Brian O’Shea, who won a SAMA (South African Music Award) in 2010 as Best producer for his work on “Fruitbats & Crows”. The album contains 12 brand new tracks and feature international guest musicians such as Ash Grunwald (Australia) and John Ellis (Tree 63).

2011 brought a great start to the year for Farryl Purkiss after his single ‘Pennies In the Snow’ aired on major US TV Series Private Practice on International TV Screens in January. Fans from all over started contacting Farryl via his Social Network pages and those who were still finding out who Farryl was, were posting blogs across various websites commenting on the song “Pennies In The Snow” which they had just heard on the show. After all the international hype, we get to watch this highly anticipated episode of Private Practice as it airs in South Africa on Mnet and Mnet HD on Monday, September 12th, at 21:30.

“Pennies In The Snow” is taken from Farryl’s most successful album to date, “Fruitbats & Crows”. Since its release, “Fruitbats & Crows” has generated three major hit singles with “A Million Grains Of Sand”, “Kissing Devils On The Cheek” and “Creeping Up On Me” doing incredibly well on radio and Brian O’Shea winning the 2010 SAMA for “Best Producer” for his work on “Fruitbats & Crows”.

This is not the first time Farryl’s had a song placed on Private Practice. The piano mix of his song “Sticks & Stones” was used on Episode 5 in the Third Season of Private Practice, but till now has never been available to fans on any release. “Fruitbats & Crows” has been repackaged as a 2CD Special Edition and released in June 2011 with a Bonus Disc which includes unreleased songs and some brand new material, including the piano mix of “Sticks & Stones”.

Also on the Bonus disc is “In Apostrophes”, an acoustic version of a brand new song for the next Studio album, “Monkeys’ Wedding Live” which has become a fan favourite request at LIVE shows and differs vastly from the Album version of “Monkeys’ Wedding”. “Number Seven” never made the final tracklisting when “Fruitbats & Crows” was released and is now available on this BONUS DISC as the only Instrumental Song on the album, and the release also includes Farryl’s stunning versions of the BOB DYLAN track “Positively 4th Street” and the classic NEW ORDER single “Blue Monday”!

2012 has been a great start for Farryl having performed at some key International showcases. Firstly at MusExpo in Los Angeles at the end of April, followed by Pianos in New Y