Ferentz and the Felons: “Hudson County” by Eileen Shapiro
Ferentz and the Felons just released their new EP on April 1st entitled “Hudson County”, inspired by the real life experiences of frontman Zak Ferentz. Battling the urban streets of Hudson County NJ, watching his parents fight drug addiction, Zak calls this a true story about urban America.
From the artist: “All of my music is inspired by my life, real situations that made me who I am. From watching my parents battle drug addiction to running the streets to earn a living, this is a story about urban America that is best described as “Folk from the streets”.
Ultimately Zak wishes to bring people together. He desires to bring people together at his concerts as well as giving back. He plans to give back to a cause or a charity in each of the local communities he performs at….
Zak, your video of Hudson County is very powerful. Can you tell me about it”?
That is the first video from the up-coming album which is “Hudson County”. The band is brand new. It’s essentially the second single that we released. We shot it all over Jersey City, and Bayonne which is in Hudson County. I don’t know where you’re located but it looks like you’re from Long Island, so we are right outside Manhattan. So we’re not New York, we’re not New Jersey, we can’t get credit for anybody so we are kind of our own thing.
What inspired the song?
I grew up on the streets of Hudson County. I was partaking of all illegal activities, I’ve done it all. All of the stuff that gets swallowed in with an urban area and it was kind of like the depression that it brings with it. Both of my parents being into drugs, growing up in public housing, low income area, it’s kind of the depression that comes with that, and wanting to leave the situation…get out of that mental state.
How did you manage to escape?
I got an offer to move out to Long Island actually. I lived in Montauk for five years. In the winter time it was like isolation out there. It was very isolated but I always played music. I play heavy-metal music. I was always a songwriter so I always had these songs written. Hudson County I didn’t have written, that’s the newer song but, I was always a songwriter so… I wrote a lot of rock songs in my early musical years in heavy metal. Then I would go home when I was done playing with my band, and play blues on the guitar. That’s what I like too.
Your music doesn’t exactly sound urban, more so alternative….
Urban is kind of the vibe. It’s the lifestyle and also the look that I have. I had my nose split in half, my teeth knocked out, I’m just an urban kind of guy. A lot of tattoos…
I love tattoos.
That’s a good thing.
Where do you hope that your music takes you in five years.
Truthfully, I actually want to grow bigger and bigger. I want to attract like-minded people who are like me and the rest of the Felons because obviously I have a band behind me but it’s more than just like a few musicians, it’s like a whole army. We played our first show last night in our hometown. We packed the room out. The energy is really deep. I’m a vegan and that is something I’m very strict with. I’m also into thinking outside the box, I’m very open minded, and i’m surrounded by a lot of beautiful open minded people. We all create art, we all express.
If you could have your ultimate stage fantasy, what would you need to happen?
I would want it minimum. I would just want pure raw music. I would want everybody to feel it because I feel like sometimes with me the flames and all of that is just part of the show. For me I don’t want there to ever be that type of show, I want it to be more of a feel. So flames and all of that is great if I were in Metallica, for me it’s all about just stripping it down and just playing… only a human being with an instrument in my hand. I’m surrounded by other people that are playing music.
You seem to be looking to bring forth a message, if you could phase that message, what would it be?
If I could phrase it I would say this: no matter what walk of life you come from, no matter how you look, no matter what you’re like, who you are, embrace who you are and surround yourself with people who are different. Take chances with yourself in situations that you may not ever think to put yourself in. Take a chance and like I said surround yourself with different people because we are all different, we’re all weird and we’ve got to embrace art. We have to embrace who we are. I want to bring people together. If there’s one thing you are going to write about me, please just write that I want to bring people together at my concerts. I also want it to be more than a concert. Every concert I perform I’m going to give back to a cause or a charity in that local community. So I want to bring people together and get people away from the media and all the stuff that is brainwashing them, poisoning them. I want them to vibe out and listen to good music and meet new people.