Built to Fade ready to shine

Dane Ferguson performs at The Gene Pool last Fall. Photo courtesy of Craig Zirpolo and The Horn RVA.

Craig Zirpolo
The Horn RVA Editor

Songwriter and house show favorite Dane Ferguson is prepared to unveil his most ambitious collaboration to date, featuring a super-group of talented musicians from across the country assembled by Kno, a member of the hip hop trio CunninLynguists.

The new group, known as Built to Fade, includes Kno and Ferguson alongside Anna Wise, a vocal artist, Berklee music graduate and collaborator on CunninLynguist’s 2011 album, “Oneirology.”  Zoe Wick, whose YouTube cover of CunninLynguists’ “Love Ain’t” shows a distinct, but similarly vocal-driven style, rounds out the quartet.

Though recording sessions wrapped last year, scant details have leaked about the untitled album. A webcast teaser posted by CunninLynguists featured a new take on Ferguson’s old favorite, “Static.” Reimagined as a lush, soulful, naturally bass-laden extension of Ferguson’s best house show performances, Kno’s critically acclaimed beats and production elevate the saucy love song to unparalleled heights.

“I get phone calls from Kno as he finishes each step (in the production process) every couple of weeks,” Ferguson said. While eagerly awaiting the album like many listeners, he rests assured that (the release) is definitely in motion.”

Ferguson traveled to California this summer with the rest of the group to film two music videos with a videographer. The first single and video, “Willie Sutton,” centers around bank robbers in a dreamy, but Tarantino-esque desert with Wise taking the musical lead.

“We had a great time filming, and I’m really excited to see how both videos turn out,” Ferguson said.

In the meantime, Ferguson debuts a weekly residency at Conch’s Republic Rocketts in Rocketts Landing on Thursday nights. While he looks forward to expanding his audience beyond the Fan, he maintains his Tuesday residency at the Metro Bar and Grill as well.

Amid his busy schedule, house shows at hangouts such as The Yerb! and The Gene Pool still represent an integral part of Ferguson’s songwriting process.

“It’s hard to grab the audience’s attention at a bar and really vet a new song by them,” Ferguson said.  “Playing at house shows in the Fan is unlike anything I have ever experienced … it’s very intimate and liberating.  You can talk to the audience off-mic and interact on a personal level.”

Ferguson said that feedback from engaged audiences in living rooms, backyards, basements and hallways across Richmond shapes his songwriting more than anything else.

“It’s your space to truly be an artist,” he said.


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