VOLTAGE Podcast 04 - Ryan James Ford
Ryan James Ford, a Berlin-based Canadian, has been pushing raw dance tracks in the techno underground since 2015 and has only been gaining traction ever since. He has been known to meander between styles since he started putting out records, but like any good artist, his fingerprint can always be easily found despite being eclectic.
Can you give us some insight on your selection: why these records and how do they reflect where you’re at artistically right now?
Just bits I like or have been focused on really. I am always tinkering around with tunes so I wanted to include some of them, also some ones I think are nice or fun. My brain is always wrapped up in what I’m making and interested in, so this is a snapshot.
Can you pick one record from the mix and tell us why you like it or how you found it?
Acid Up Dub - Blue Stone on Dune from 2009, he's from Marseille. This song makes me feel like I’m in a massive tunnel rave with tons of bass! It’s super powerful, compressed, dirty, but with emotion. I love it. I am always looking for tracks all over the place and found this one.. Don't steal it!
You’re a very productive artist when it comes to record releases and your catalogue is impressive in its variety. We see that you started very strongly on Marcel Dettmann Records in 2015 and moved to Answer Code Request’s label a year later, who’s also closely affiliated to MDR. These past few years, however, have seen you release everything from straight-forward break sampling rave music to full out IDM/electronica to even more melodic and calm techno records on labels as different as Afterlife and Clone Records.
How has your sound evolved these past years and how do you see it going in the future?
I like to make music, so I just do it and have fun. I let the direction be dictated by how I feel at that specific point in time. When I make a tune, I try to encapsulate feelings and emotional memories I had. I love the direction music ebbs and flows in, things are constantly changing and moving. New people come and change things, it's fun. There are also some classic artists that still rule and keep the momentum going as well. Music is on a continuum and I am interested in the things that come up, and then I plop them out. I like a lot of styles, so why can't I make them? That being said I am very happy to be able to work with the people I have, such a wide range of artists that I have been able to work with and I’m sure there will be more coming too... Marcel Dettmann, Answer Code Request, Nina Kraviz, Ellen Allien, Anetha, IDA, Keepsakes, Francois X, Z.I.P.P.O, Pearl River Sound, to name a few... I’m also really happy that I have found such a great place for my latest projects at Clone Records, working with Serge is awesome. Also, I have to give major respect to my friend T++ who has been really very important for my artistic drive and motivation. He always keeps me on my feet.
Can you pick a release of yours that you’re particularly attached to and walk us through its conception and why you like it?
It doesn't work like that for me. I’m not attached to them. They come, happen, and once they are finished then I work on new stuff and that's it! I am really happy that I get to keep making stuff and that my favorite labels want to put them out, and of course, that people listen. I just can't wait to play out again as that gives me some really nice motivation to create.
With such an extensive catalogue of music out, but most of it so clearly destined to be played on the many dancefloors you’ve played at these past few years: would you consider yourself more of a studio or stage artist?
I am a music maker who loves to play. Sometimes I get to play lots, and sometimes not as much and that's ok as I’m not looking at riding trends or trying to be popular. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don't. I would like to play more, though, for sure. Making stuff and playing go hand in hand really, if I wanted to only be a studio musician I would never play out, playing out is basically where all the energy and inspiration comes from...
With the situation at hand, how have you been spending your time off - musically or not?
I am always plonking away making stuff... I will keep making stuff till I die...
What records have you been listening to lately? Have you been getting any inspiration from particular artists in or out of electronic music?
So… I have been getting heavy into buying old records that I never got or just discovered... Here's what I got lately:
Autechre – We R Are Why / Are Y Are We? (12")
µ-Ziq – Lunatic Harness (2LP)
Pete Namlook – The Definitive Ambient Collection 1 & 2 (2LP)
The Orb - Live 93 (4LP)
As for current artists, my favourites are Fauzia, Pessimist, Caterina Barbieri, Nkisi, Uncrat, Pearl River Sound, and Sansibar. Of course there are also tons of others, but these ones are very special.
Any guilty pleasure music you listen to?
Well, guilty for me no. I have no guilt about my love of Rap/HipHop artists like Lil Durk, Pop Smoke, King Von, Lil Baby, Gunna, Juice Wrld, Young Dolph, Key Glock, 21 Savage, and Polo G. They are pretty special and I also love the production methods and techniques... bit nerdy, but true.
Any upcoming projects you’re looking forward to?
My first ever album titled 'Exshaw' will come out in the spring via Clone Records NL. First there will be a limited white label with special versions and unreleased tracks then comes the album 2LP right after. I'm also part of a compilation coming on Anetha's Mama Told Ya label with some of my favourite artists and I also have some fun remixes I'm working on as well. I will keep it moving.