Growing up in the 80’s Farrel was exposed to typical pop radio hits, as well as the soul, funk and disco that was being played in the clubs. While studying journalism in 1991 at Peninsula Technikon, his musical horizons were broadened when he met and started playing with James Reynard. The experimental rock/jazz outfit Nine was born.
It was during this 10-year period that he began to explore other, more serious musical styles, and after the likes of Miles Davis, John McLaughlin and John Coltrane touched his soul, he developed a deep-rooted love for jazz.
Grunge, the popular style of the early 90’s, introduced him to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin among others, as that was the root of that genre, and also pushed him to check out the heavier, more modern acts like The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Sound Garden, Pantera and Sepultura.
During the band’s 10 year existence, Nine consisting of James Reynard (guitar), Jerome Reynard (drummer with Arno Carstens) and Grenville Williams (bass player and producer of Godessa, Teba) produced two albums (Nine and Entropy) and toured the country extensively.
Having played all the major festivals in the country, including OppiKoppi, Rustler’s Valley, Up the Creek, Woodstock and the hugely successful Benson & Hedges Band Slam Tour (with the Springbok Nude Girls, Lithium, Squeal and Sugardrive), Nine found a fresh angle through the creation of their alter-ego, The Firing Squad. This hip-hop/ reggae/ dancehall crossover act became popular as a party band, and was a big draw card on the festival circuit. It was during this time that Farrell met and started playing with DJ Bob and Blunted Stuntman of the 206 crew, and DJ The Boogieman made his way into the world.
As with the bands, the Boogieman has DJ’d at most of the major festivals throughout the country, as well as a myriad of clubs and high profile corporate gigs including the Sithengi Film Festival opening, the Loerie Awards and the launch of The Most Amazing Show.
It was this connection that brought him back in touch with his funk roots, as this is the base of his DJ style. This style has since branched out to include hip-hop, house, break beat and drum ‘n bass.
“As long as it funks, I’ll play it,” he says adding, “From disco to drum ‘n bass, I set the pace. Spreading love and happiness to the whole wide human race.” It was this dance floor orientated thinking that led to the development of his next band project, the inimitable and controversial Golliwog. Born on the dance floor of District 206 in Cape Town, Golliwog initially took the form of a freestyle act, taking over from the DJ’s last tune and jamming until the people could not dance any more. Eventually this freestyle form concretised into a more organised format, with the band writing songs, keeping the funk flavour, and continuing to rock dance floors. This led to it being a festival draw card as the eight-piece band was visually exciting and the infectious music was extremely danceable.
This phenomenal band consisted of the cream of Cape Town’s young jazz scene, and the line-up included Rob Nel (B-World, Interzone, Flat Stanley), Kesivan Naidoo (Tribe, Closet Snare), Lee Thomson (Hog Hoggidy Hog, Springbok Nude Girls, Closet Snare), Nick le Roux (Errol Dyers, Reenboog), Dan Shout (Johnny Clegg, DSQ), Blunted Stuntman on the decks, and Norwegian maestro Gorm Helfjord on guitar.
In June 2005, Blaze McLeod convinced Farrell to relocate to Johannesburg to start work on his first solo project. This musical collaboration with Kevin Leicher (Plum), has led to the composition of a number of songs which make up the album, Little Sins, released in May 2007. The album goes under the style of ultra-modern retro, and is a culmination of all the musical genre’s Farrell has managed to assimilate over the years. It incorporates old-school song writing values using modern production techniques. The album has been produced in a high energy, potent impact way, but can be played in a stripped-down, chilled format which highlights the craftsmanship of the songs.