While Ryan James Ford has been involved with electronic music for over a decade, his production career officially began when he was featured on Marcel Dettmann’s Fabric 77 mix, in 2014. Since then, he has released an EP on the German honcho’s eponymous label and that of close friend Answer Code Request. This year, he launched his own label — SHUT — aimed at pushing more of his solo works to the world. We caught up with him to peek into the mind of the man behind the machines. Tune in to his heady submission for our 112th podcast episode and read on:
1. You have a mysterious naming system for your tracks. Is there a story behind how you come up with the titles?
There is a system… Its basically an ongoing system of cataloging and curating words and word forms in which I know the basis but no one else will. Having proper (full word) names for songs is something that I never felt would work for me. I actually read track titles and the name can be quite a powerful thing (in a good and a bad way…). I created a system which gives the listener the ability to create their own experience from the beginning and a way to associate something to an abstract form. Or they could think its just silly.
2. Calgary has come up in a lot of your previous conversations about your history with electronic music. Has your new home in Berlin influenced your music direction too? (How so?)
Sure, I think it has, but in ways I never expected. The more disconnected I am from home (Calgary, Canada) the more I realize how strong the influences and ideas from living there my whole life are. I can see that I am heavily influenced from my past experiences in Calgary (also a couple years in Montreal). So since living in Berlin, I have been able to see the connections and influences much clearer than ever before. Basically I’m stuck in the past, but am also being influenced by current/future.
3. You recently put out the first release on your new label SHUT. A lot of the time the rigours of starting one manifest behind the scenes. What has been the toughest thing about getting the label off the ground?
I have a history working in vinyl manufacturing so that part was simple. Getting the opportunity to have Hard Wax handle the distribution was a big factor which also happened quite smoothly. So I guess maybe creating all the artwork and to specifications was a bit nerve-racking. That being said, I am quite happy with how it turned out and I think it added another level to the EP creatively.
4. Your sound keeps evolving while retaining elements that are signature to you. Are you interested in collaborations going forward? Who would you be interested in working with?
I have such a specific way of working on music that I don’t see how this could work with someone else. It would be almost impossible at this moment but you never know…
5. You’re playing in a few different places now. A lot of debate has been going on in the recent past about the challenges of achieving balance for travelling producers-cum-DJs. How do you try to achieve a balance between in your life?
I have been DJing and buying/consuming music for quite a long time, much longer than I have been producing (proper finished songs) so the chance to travel and play more is quite exciting. If you were playing 2-3 times a week I could see it being quite difficult to have the proper time to come home and sit down in front of the computer/machines for a proper length of time. DJing and producing are very separate entities that both play an integral role in my process. Some of my longest lasting influences come from raving and growing up throughout the nineties so any form of listening/experiencing music (i.e. DJing) is really useful.
6. What plans for SHUT and personally can you share with us as 2016 draws to a close?
I am going to have another EP on SHUT for release next year, spring I assume. Also tossing around a couple of ideas for other places where I might release but nothing is currently locked so I will just work on music now until the end of the year and see what the future brings. Perhaps a bigger project in 2017… Let’s see…
Sincere thanks to Ryan James Ford for making the time to give us a fitting podcast episode and personal interview. Get his latest release on SHUT from Hard Wax.
1. Leiras – Nubian Legacy
2. Lucy & Rrose – Stained Glass
3. Marco Shuttle – Flusso Dinamico
4. Svreca – Instituto Para El Futuro
5. Stephanie Sykes – Walking Alone
6. Sigha – Finding Myself
7. Shifted – Watchers
8. Keith Carnal – Sword Play (Shlømo Remix)
9. Terence Fixmer – Devil May Care
10. Cosmin TRG – Kapotasana
11. Psyk – Odio
12. Héctor Oaks – Uno A
13. Ryan James Ford – Lazore Thout
14. Eric Cloutier – Heuristic
15. ? (Ryan James Ford Remix)
16. Johannes Volk – Terraforming
17. Daito – Breach (Matrixxman Real 909 Remix)
18. Matrixxman – Switchblade
19. DJ Hell – Eat My House
20. Dave Clarke – Wisdom to the Wise (Robert Hood Remix)