When first talking to JOYRYDE, it immediately became apparent that he is an individual who is truly passionate about electronic music. Nearly two hours after his set in the Solar Tent at Moonrise Festival in Baltimore, Maryland (a clip of which is below), the British bass house producer was still buzzing with energy. Since emerging onto the bass house scene and playing his first show at Electric Daisy Carnival in 2016, he has been on an astronomical rise, producing some of the biggest tracks of the year.
Jonney Ford first emerged into electronic music in the early 2000s with his Eskimo and Let’s Be Friends projects. After producing in their respective trance and dubstep genres, Ford began to search and explore new opportunities and genres for him to delve into, hence the birth of JOYRYDE. When asked about his shift in focus, Ford stated,
“an idea or creation has its boundaries or limitations. If it exceeds its limitations, it can either be positive or negative. With Eskimo and Let’s Be Friends, I felt as they were genre based projects. If I delved deeper into other styles, fans of Trance or Dubstep wouldn’t f*** with it. It was built to exist within a certain perimeter of sound.”
JOYRYDE gave Ford an opportunity to explore new leads and opportunities; he was no longer trapped in one box, but he felt he could collaborate with who he wanted, including vocalists, hip-hop artists, and underground acts.
Looking at things, Ford doesn’t see the JOYRYDE image as just something for music; he sees it as an entire scope or picture, “JOYRYDE was born out of me wanting to do more things in my life as a human. I wanted to build a project that people could build appreciation for not just the music, but the look, the brand, the design, and everything… This will be my project for the rest of my life because it offers me so many elements of my life to explore, not just music.” Despite only being around for two years, the Brit and his image have made quite the impression on the industry, not only with his music but with his #RYDRWARE clothing collection and innovation.
A Sound That Is His
Along with the likes of Jauz, Ghastly, and Tchami, JOYRYDE has quickly become one of the names synonymous with the bass house sound. When creating this new venture, Ford not only looked up to individuals like the aforementioned but people who are innovators and dedicated to exploring, artists like Justice, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, and Drake. JOYRYDE stated, “I’m inspired by human beings who give everything to their projects and being passionate humans and creative people. That’s what fuels me more than any one particular sound.” Tracks like “New Breed,” “The Box,” and “Hot Drum” have spread like wildfire across the electronic music scene and feature on festival stages all over the world.
Producing chart-topping tracks and festival hits come with added pressure though. Ford stated that once people know that you are capable of producing those types of records, it then becomes a responsibility to continue, “you touched people, you got a point across, you waved your flag high up in the air and said, ‘Listen to me!’ You have the floor after that, so you better have songs ready.” The added pressure is welcomed by JOYRYDE and fuels his inspiration, “I want people to know that I respect the importance of having this attention and that I am going to go deeper into my creativity and bring out more from me.”
Opening His Gene Pool
Since starting the JOYRYDE project, hip-hop influences have always shown through in his style and sets, including his collaborations with Rick Ross and Darnell Williams. However, producing the collaborations was not always the easiest process for Ford and took some adjusting. He states, “[W]hen you write a track, you want to fill it with ideas. When you deliver a track for a vocal, you have to deliver it stripped because they need space to create ideas. That’s always been the biggest hurdle for me, translating my direction without being too forceful for a vocalist to record.” With the rate that the project has been growing, JOYRYDE has now been able to book studio time with his collaborators, not solely exchanging ideas over emails, which helps foster creativity and cohesiveness in the final productions.
While hip-hop and electronic music do not always go together, JOYRYDE sees it as an effort to continue to push new boundaries and explore new options. When producing music, constantly coming back to the same artists, the same influences, the same sound can get repetitive and inhibiting. Striving to reach into new areas is a consistent goal:
“It’s difficult, but it is achievable. When it goes well, the songs are well received. It is an ever-growing evolution. You should not work with the same artists the entire time. It f***s up your gene pool. You need to start f***ing with different artists. It is a bit difficult to learn the way to do it, but when you get it, quality comes out.”
JOYRYDE’s view is such a refreshing take on the electronic music industry where in recent years, people have been accused of rehashing the same ideas repeatedly. His drive to seek out new collaborators and sounds and try new things should be looked up to and followed by more in the industry.
Next Steps Forward
With the summer festival circuit wrapping up, JOYRYDE’s next steps are slowly coming into focus. With an EP coming up soon, Jonney Ford has been looking for a way to tie his music into a unique stage experience that few can rival in the industry. The Englishman stated, “I want to make something more interactive with a show. I was inspired recently by Justice and Porter Robinson. I want to take a show like that… with a collection of music and build a show for it. A show with more an urban/industrial side as opposed to Robinson’s anime side.” Whether it is incorporating hip-hop or electronic music, live elements, singers, or underground influences, JOYRYDE wants to bring all the aspects together. He made waves this winter with his stunning “car stage” setup, but according to him, that was only “point 1.” The evolution of his new production rig is way bigger, requiring permission from the city of Los Angeles to construct it. As Joyryde stated, “now that we are playing with gas, let’s just f***ing do it.”