Steven Ford shows off his groovy minimalist style with a special live set for the RA podcast.
The journey from speed metal drummer to minimal techno producer isn't exactly a common one, but it's exactly the music path that a certain Steven Ford has forged over the past 20 years. After leaving his Voice Of Reason bandmates back in Texas and making a move out west to Seattle, Ford became increasingly interested in computer-based music and electronic minimalism, steadily learning the tools that have made him such an accomplished producer.
His early years in the electronic music scene saw him split his output between two different monikers. While his now defunct Bobby Karate pseudonym explored Ford's more abstract side, his more dance floor-focused work came out under the Bruno Pronsato name, and was promptly picked up by respected labels as Musique Risquee, Philpot and Orac. A move to Berlin opened up yet more opportunities for Ford, leading to collaborations with both Sammy Dee and Daze Maxim—the former as Half Hawaii and the latter as The Others—and a more suitable hub to take his live show around Europe and beyond.
The last couple of years have seen Ford start up his thesongsays record label, which debuted with his deftly executed 39-minute Nico-sampling composition, "The Make Up The Break Up." RA's Peter Chambers saw fit to give both that 12-inch and also his sophomore album, Why Can't We Be Like Us, rare perfect scores upon their release, and with a new album on the way, fans won't have to wait too long to hear more of Ford's liquid percussion and mindbending sound design.
What have you been up to recently?
As far as production goes, I'm finishing up my album, Lovers Do. Ninca and I have just finished our first EP as Public Lover called Musique D'Hiver Pour Lete, which should be coming out on my label at the end of the summer. We are working as diligently as we can on an album, which we hope to have finished by winter and have a small Japanese tour planned for this August. We are playing quite a few shows for a group with no releases yet.
Sergio Giorgini (of Benoit & Sergio) have just put out our first NDF record on DFA with an amazing Villalobos remix, and there’s a new Others record with Daze Maxim coming soon. As well as that, I've been playing a handful of shows as Bruno and some gigs here and there with Thomas Melchior and Half Hawaii. So, I've got quite a lot on!
Where and how was the mix recorded?
It was recorded here in my modest home studio with the aid of Logic, a Jomox 888, Mbase 01 and Ableton Live.
Can you tell us a little about the idea behind the mix?
Well, for this mix, Daze Maxim, Thomas Melchior, Fumiya Tanaka, Sammy Dee, Ninca Leece, Caro, Efdemin, Anthony Collins, Seth Troxler, Benjamin Myers, Dilo, Timefog, Mikael Stravostrand and Sarah Joy Murray all let me use their musical contributions and samples for my various studio projects that wound up making it into this mix, for which I’m extremely grateful.
With this mix I was sort of trying to cover what I have been up to the last seven or eight years, but put into more of a club context. Mind you, the sort of club that probably only exists in my mind. I was trying to keep it loose and fairly consistent, less reliant on changing kick drum sounds, clap sounds, snares etc. and more about moving through some of the musical ideas I have had or am currently having. The percussive elements became more a backdrop so that I can showcase some of my past and present ideas, with the help of the above contributors.
How will your new album be different from the last one?
Well, that's a difficult one. In my mind, there will be a bit more of an emphasis on the jazzier side of my productions. The tracks are a bit slower than my normal tempo, lots of Rhodes, pianos, etc. Though of course they all have their club elements. I think this album was one that sort of just came together. The consistency was already there. On Why Can’t We Be Like Us, I had to work constantly to find a consistent line between all of the tracks. This one came much more naturally.
Can you tell us how your hook up with Sergio Giorgini came about?
A mutual friend of ours introduced me to his music when I was in Detroit a couple years back. Actually it was the "Full Grown Man" track on their What I've Lost EP on thesongsays... I fell in love with his sort of classy pop sensibility. It just so happened that I was playing in DC a week or so later. There, I hung out with Sergio and Benoit and we agreed to do the record. Later that year, Sergio came to Berlin and we wound up making the DFA record together. Though admittedly, there's more Sergio than Pronsato in that one.
What are you up to next?
Well, the album is done and will be released on February 1st, so the next step is to wrap up the Public Lover album. We have two EPs coming out this year—one on thesongsays and one on Telegraph—and we'd like to see the PL album out in summer 2011. Aside from that, I'm beta-testing Caro aka Randy Jones' new software synth called Aalto, and having a super fun time on that project. Just making sounds and little patches. I am having an incredible time doing that!