Wordplay interviews local emcee Alex Ford in the lead up to The Wild Imagination EP launch at the Ellington Jazz Club.
For our readers who aren’t too familiar with you, tell me a bit about yourself.
[I was] born & raised here [in Perth, I] lived in Vancouver on and off for a year and studied Music & Business. Then went back [to Vancouver] and interned at a label/studio and [have] been working on music. I started writing when I was 11, started recording when I was 18 and, yeah, I record music.
You mentioned doing an internship in music overseas, what was that like?
That was awesome, that was for Chin Injeti who produced on Eminem‘s last album [and] also did Aloe Blacc‘s new album. When I went to school, I went to a workshop with [Chin] and we became friends. Later, when I was looking got an internship, he said to [work] with him.
How was that work shaped you as an artist?
Knowing what a single is, is the biggest thing. You always need a single. I obviously like to write stuff that I love, but there is another [space] where you can still make it “big” and still love it. And watching [Chin] work.
With your new EP, The Wild Imagination, you collaborated with Beats by Esta who is on the LA-based label Soulection. How did you link up?
That was just on the internet, Soundcloud. I heard his stuff and I wanted to use his beats.
How did the process of working together go down?
All of those beats are off his past projects so I just went through and [chose]. I think most of the beats were off [his project] Radiant.
Tell me about some of the themes on The Wild Imagination EP.
I guess, looking at how ridiculous the world is, I’m all alone, the world is kind of crazy stuff. There are some break up songs on there and looking back at that. The opening song is talking shit, basically, as emcees love to do, and it’s a bit tongue in cheek. And that’s just where I was at the time, looking at the world, break up bullshit.
So you’re at a different place now?
Yeah, I use the music to get past all of that shit and vent your issues.
Tell me about the music video you did for Sea of Desire with Coin Banks and Marksman, that was a cool clip.
I’ve known Coin for awhile and that was the first time I’ve met Marksman. David Vincent Smith, DVS, directed [the music video] and he directs all their clips. I just knew when I heard [UPNUP] that I wanted [them] but when Anders was with them but he is no longer in UPNUP, so I hit Miles Bonny up. With a bigger song, [I knew] I wanted a clip for it. I’ve done a few songs with Coin before that we’ve never released, so I definitely wanted to put this one out this time.
How did you come up with the concept of the music video? I really liked it. My favourite part is when you’re walking through the bushes, you can’t tell where you are and then you get that shot of Perth. It was like shit you’re right near the city.
Yeah, that’s actually in Maylands, across the road from the racecourse. We thought you can make it seem like you’re in the bush, but the city is right there. The concept of the clip is; to leave technology behind, have an adventure without phones and all the bullshit, and just organically have fun. Get rid of all the things you desire.
You mentioned Miles Bonny and you have a show coming up with him on the 13th of April at the Ellington Jazz Club and he’s on your single, how did you link up with him?
I’ve been a fan of his for awhile, and I wanted him on the beat. I’d sent him stuff before and he wasn’t sure about the beats. But he heard the [Sea of Desire] beat and he was like definitely. With the verses, he sort of worked around us, which was good.
And how did you manage to get [Miles Bonny] to come out to Perth for a tour?
We’d been chatting about it after the song. I [mentioned] it would be great if you [came] over, but then I started to [properly] get him out here. I’ve done all the promoting for this show as well as the guys from the band who will be playing everything live.
What’s it like working with people, such as Miles Bonny and Esta, who you are obviously a fan of?
I remember I was having a few drinks the night we got everything sent back to us with my buddy who mixed [Sea of Desire], Oliver Hart. I got the email on my phone and we rushed home, had some beers, played it a million times over, and acted like school girls [laughs]. It was an awesome feeling.
I’ve seen you perform previously with the Magical Noise Experiment and you have a tight show. What can we expect from your show on the 13th April at Ellington Jazz Club? I know you’ve also got the performance on the 10th April at Juice at The Good Shepherd.
The 13th [April] will be all live. We’ve got 6 or 7 piece band which, with the horns itself, makes everything sound exactly like the beat. A lot of the sample songs that are on The Wild Imagination EP still sound … really tight. That’s pretty much the biggest part, having all of these guys come in. The biggest change is the full band which I’ve always wanted to do so it worked out well. It’s sounding really awesome.
So what’s next for Alex Ford now after this?
I don’t know. Tossing up between doing a mixtape of original stuff and maybe even covers. Or another EP, but something small. People can’t eat up music like they used to. It’s got to be small stuff because there is so much music out there.
Interview by Kylie de Vos
Catch Alex Ford perform at JUICE at The Good Shepherd with Miles Bonny on the 10th of April. You can also catch Alex at Sunday Sessions at Ellington Jazz Club for his EP release with Miles Bonny (USA).
Download The Wild Imagination EP for FREE from here.