Features

Meet FØRD, the producer who ditched classical music because of Flume

In our new series Spotlight, DAVE RUBY HOWE is profiling the local electronic artists you need to know. Today, it’s Byron Bay’s FØRD.

In the same way that Nirvana inspired legions of fans to pick up a guitar, Missy Elliot made people want to rap and the sight of Armin van Buuren saviour-posing caused stocks in white linen to skyrocket, it was only a matter of time until we felt the Flume-effect on the next generation of producers.

While there’s been no shortage of artists trying to trade-in on the popularity of that sound, now we’re seeing youngsters turned onto electronic music and inspired to make it thanks to the Future Classic star. That’s true of Byron Bay producer FØRD, known at home as Ford Miskin, who credits the pioneering Harley Streten with opening his eyes to the possibilities of electronic music.

“I discovered Flume’s first album and something clicked that changed my whole perspective on music”

“Before I got into electronic music, I was listening to a lot of Chopin,” Ford grins. “When I was about 15-years-old I discovered Flume’s first album and something clicked that changed my whole perspective on music. I had never heard anything like it before and it inspired me to look for a way to create music with more than just a single instrument.”

With his head expanded and now burrowed deep into the realms of electronic music production, Ford approached his folks with the courageous proposition of leaving high school to focus on music full-time.

“I’m lucky I have very supportive parents, they saw very early on that music was all that really mattered to me and school was just getting in the way of that,” he says of the Chillest Parents Ever. “I spent a long time after I left just evolving my production skills and really didn’t leave the house much unless I was getting some fresh air. I feel like my schedule is probably more full on that if I was just at school now with back to back all night sessions and sometimes never seeing the day!”

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 7.08.29 pm

As well as being cool with Ford leaving school early, the Miskins also happen to be family friends with Simon Lewicki, the dance music veteran behind GT and a myriad more successful projects. He like what he heard from Ford so much that he came on as his manager and mentor.

“When I heard Ford was getting seriously into electronic music production I asked to hear some of his music. He really impressed me with his grasp of track structure and production chops considering his age, and how short a time he’d actually been producing,” Lewicki says of his young charge.

The FØRD project only officially kicked off earlier this year with the debut tune Take You Down featuring fellow prodigious Byron artist Grace Hughes as the guest vocalist. Follow-ups included the fiery hip-hop tinged Touch and recent single Folding Hills. With the foundation laid, Ford’s been learning the ropes across frequent studio sessions at home and abroad.

“I’ve been spending a lot of my time recently in Sydney and LA finishing up a few new tracks and working on a shit-tonne of new musical ideas and concepts outside of what I normally do,” he says, touting upcoming collaborations with the likes of Dim Mak’s Dan Farber and Canberra stalwarts The Aston Shuffle among others. “Writing over in LA really inspired me to push the boundaries of what you can and can’t do within my genre.”

“Writing over in LA really inspired me to push the boundaries of what you can and can’t do within my genre”

The only bummer about Ford pursuing his passion for music full-time across two major cities roaring with music communities – bear with me – is that clubbing in the US is restricted to 21 and over, a cruel twist of fate for someone who just turned 18.

“I had just turned 18 for about a week and was really excited to start going out to clubs, we then go to LA and I find out I’m still three years from being allowed to get in to a show,” he cries. “Luckily LA has a pretty full on house party scene so I got to go to a few of those. The few artists and producers I’ve met so far in LA all seem to have a really high level of drive and commitment, which is really inspiring.”

Dave Ruby Howe is a writer, broadcaster and music director of Australia’s largest independent music discovery platform. You can find him on Twitter.