When I call Ross from Friends, he's at home making a chilli.

"Oh, don't worry," he grins as pots and pans clang in the background. "There's plenty of spice in there."

The same can be said of his highly anticipated debut record, Family Portrait, which has just been released on Flying Lotus' influential Brainfeeder label.

"It's my first release, so I'm obviously a little anxious about it," the UK producer says of the album that has been two years in the making. "But I'm so excited to share the music I've been working so hard on. I wouldn't say it's been arduous, it's been super-enjoyable experimenting and trying to find a new sound. But it's definitely been a long process."


Along with the similarly ironically named producers DJ Seinfeld and DJ Boring, Ross from Friends, aka Felix Clary Weatherall, helped define the recent lo-fi house movement. It's aesthetic, all tape hiss, crackles, jazzy chords, deep, murky bass and enveloping warmth stood a generation away from the polished and pristine sounds currently pumping at the club.

However, having been lumped into the movement, Weatherall clapped back. In the last year he released a barrage of well-received EPs that seeked to push things forward and expanded Ross from Friends into a three-piece band, cramming a guitarist and a saxophonist/keys player into the DJ booth with him for live performances.

The result is an album full of hazy, deep grooves and nostalgia soaked melodies that conjure a warm melancholy for days long past.

"It was definitely about my childhood, 100 per cent," he says. "The music does feel like it led towards this idea of family and my parents' influence on my music," he says. "And there's themes of loneliness ... it's been an emotional outlet for me as well."

How so? I ask.

"I have that side to me. It was something I felt I could tap into and when I did I would really explore something quite deep," he says. "I put myself into that emotional state, like a weird sort of trance, and could focus a lot more. It's really strange."

A jazzy house influence still forms the backbone of the Ross from Friends sound - along with that inescapable lo-fi core - but its looser and more relaxed, its songs full of intricate detail, weird sonic flourishes, all soaked in a tangible nostalgia.

"I'm definitely a nostalgic person," he says. "I always fantasise about the past and that kind of thing. If I can share that experience with other people, that sense of nostalgia, that's amazing."


Then he laughs and says, "But hopefully not for something cathartic or sad like I put into it. I hope it really does evoke positive feelings for people."

The other big influence on the record was the story of how his parents got together. His dad was an electronic and techno DJ who acquired a bus in 1990, loaded it with a sound system and set off on a tour of Eastern Europe. Pulling over at whim, he'd hold impromptu raves, spreading the joy of music to the oppressed Eastern Bloc.

Upon learning of the trip, his mother, a casual acquaintance at that point, blagged a seat on the bus as the official photographer/videographer of the trip. It's a helluva story and her incredible footage is used in the music video for his new single, Pale Blue Dot.

"I look back and what they did and go, 'Woah, that's unbelievable," he says. "I completely support what they were doing. It's something they really believed in. They were really supporting people that had been trapped for so long as a result of the Cold War. Hearing that was the reason they went out really struck a chord with me."

Is he also politically motivated?

"I absolutely am," he says. "I try and do my bit, campaigning et cetera. But I don't think I'd go so far as saying I'm an activist like they were. It's not something I put into the music."

His chilli's ready now, so I ask one final question before leaving him to his dinner.

Back in the day, before success on YouTube propelled him to the forefront of a new genre and Flying Lotus signed him to his label, Weatherall would produce his lo-fi, melancholy tracks while episodes of Friends endlessly repeated on TV. Needing a name to upload his work he simply took his name from the show that'd been his constant companion.

So does he still write while the lives of a group of New York 20-somethings play in the background?

"Yes! Oh yes. Every single time. Always an inspiration," he laughs before a revelation. "Sometimes it seeps into the track as well. Through the microphone."

So if you listen very, very carefully as Family Portrait's shuffling nostalgic grooves bounce along and its mournful saxophone wails and those wistful melodies tease your memories, you might just be able to hear a hangdog voice buried deep in the mix pleading, "We were on a break ..."

Who: Ross from Friends
What: Highly anticipated debut album Family Portrait
When: Out now