FergusBy day, Sydney’s Fergus Brown is a school teacher. By night, he’s a talented singer/songwriter with a growing fanbase. His pun-tastic debut album Burgers Frown was released last year and he’s set to perform alongside a host of other Aussie musicians at the Ben Sherman Big British Sounds this week.
BBM’s Dan Jeffery chats to Fergus about his album, the over-talented students he teaches and his love of British music…

BBM: Hey Fergus, what have you been up to lately?
FB: I just got back from Melbourne actually where I spent 11 hours just for one show. That was weird. But the past year I’ve just been promoting my record. About a month ago I came back from the States and Canada.

What’s the reception been like for Burgers Frown?
Pretty good. I’ve had some really nice reviews. As much as you try not to pay attention to that sort of thing, when a good one comes out it means a lot, to be honest. You put so much work into it you end up being a little sensitive to whether or not people like it. Now I’m just trying to write the new one, which is fun and mildly terrifying.

Has life changed for you much since the release?
I was in a bit of a vacuum for three years before the release, so now there’s a bit more reality and more opportunities to tour around.

You won the John Lennon Song writing Competition back in 2005 with the song Nerds in Love, so the album was obviously a while in the making…
Yeah. That was four years before the record came out. It was a slightly different version of Nerds in Love, but when you’re the main stakeholder in the record (Fergus recorded and released his album by himself) time doesn’t matter so much.

You’ve had a song feature on US TV show The Starter Wife. That must have been good advertising.
Yeah it is because the media takes notice, which is good. I got a freaky email from a producer asking permission to use a song. It said something like ‘Your music is making me hot’ – wait, maybe it said the music was ‘haunting’ him? I don’t know but it was strange.

I read you are a school teacher as well. Do the kids know you’re a rising musician?
They do. They’re pretty good at Googling. But the interesting thing is that I teach at a musical high school so they’re probably better than I am.

You don’t take your guitar in then?
No, none of that because occasionally a kid will have one and they’ll be shredding on it, playing Iron Maiden or something. I’ll be like, no I’m too busy to play – let’s look at Gallipoli. But it’s a really nice job to have to balance out with the music.

You’re taking part in the Ben Sherman Big British Sound. Are there any British bands that you particularly love?
Yeah, I really love Pulp and Belle and Sebastian. I think British songwriters are my favourites, whether it’s Elvis Costello or Jarvis Cocker. There’s a wryness to British music.

Each performer has to throw in a few British songs. What’s are you going to do?
I don’t know yet. I’ve been sort of fiddling around with this song by The Ruts and a song by Pulp. Maybe Elvis Costello and Bowie too. But we’ll see what works with the band. There’s a song called In a Rut (by The Ruts) which is pretty good.

See Fergus Brown at the Ben Sherman Big British Sound 2010:
6 May: The Corner Hotel, Richmond, VIC
7 May: The Metro, Sydney, NSW