PressPlay: Issue 7

Gettin’ Groovy With The Ferenjis

Salem neo-soul quartet The Ferenjis is poised to release a full-length album [July 13] at The Space Concert Club. We caught up with drummer/bassist Jason Pluemke for a Q&A before the big event.

When did the band from?

-April of 2017. Andrew, Peter and I had planned to participate in one of The Space’s decade cover nights, and we wanted to cover The Killers. We needed a fourth to fill out the roles, so Andrew recommended having one of his piano students, Trevor, play guitar for us. After that night, we wanted to continue playing together, and we loved every minute of it.

What’s the story behind the band’s name? Star Trek reference?

- We heard the name from a friend who visits Ethiopia from time to time to see family. Ferenjis (fir-en-jeez) is a slang term derived from [Frenchi], to mean “outsider,” “beyond the border,” etc. The name seemed interesting enough and didn’t have any takers for a band name, so we thought it would work out for us. Plus, we like to see ourselves as genre boundary pushers, it seemed to fit. The Ferengi name from Star Trek actually comes from the same background, but we didn’t make that connection for some reason until after we chose to go with the name.

Where did you find your inspiration for music?

-We definitely look at other musicians for inspiration when writing songs, specifically the different moods we hear and want to emulate. Lyrics though tend to be more influenced on current feelings in our lives towards our relationships (past and present) or often times addressing stresses we encounter.

Tell us more about the album.

-We’re going with a self-titled release of The Ferenjis. It’ll be around 10 tracks, mostly songs that we have in our current lineup, but we plan on sneaking a few new ones in too. With the exception of one song, everything on the album will be previously unreleased music, so no updated versions of tracks from “Live From The Space” or “The Smith Sessions” EP’s. It’ll be released, of course, online through all the popular retailers, as well as physical copies as CDs. If there’s a way we could make it work, we would love to have it pressed to vinyl too, but we’ll see how things go. First things first, we got to finish up the tracks.

The Ferenjis are heading out on a west coast tour?

-We are heading out for our first lengthy tour this summer! It’s broken up between almost every weekend after the album release and will be done around Labor Day. We are taking a long week at the beginning of August to go hit the cities farther away than a short weekend could accommodate. Cities include Salem, Corvallis, Eugene, Bend, Ashland, Medford, Boise, Salt Lake City, Reno, Chico, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose, Portland, Hood River, Vancouver, Olympia, Seattle, Bellingham and Vancouver, B.C. 

This isn’t our first time out of the area though. Last summer, we hit Olympia and Seattle with Chromatic Colors for the Washington leg of their west coast tour. Definitely looking forward to playing in all these places.

Before the album release show, catch The Ferenjis perform at Salem Ale Works June 8 and on the CCTV Stage during Make Music June 21.

“Our hand-bleached T-shirts are only available at shows, so people should come pick one up and party with us one of these nights,” said Jason. Check out The Ferenjis on Youtube to watch them being made, along with some other music and non-music videos.

Find the band’s music, merch and more at

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