Thanks for talking to us today Luca – where are you currently based and how are you spending your days at the moment?
I am currently at home in Lugano, Switzerland. My days are always very busy and almost never the same. I haven’t changed my habits much: trying to seize the moment. I make music every day and I maintain a daily dialogue with local cultural organizations and other artists weighing in the second half of 2021.
Who or what are some of your biggest influences when it comes to making music?
My way of making music is definitely influenced by what I listened to in my youth in the late 80s and early 90s; big names like the Cure or Depeche Mode but also early house and techno music by Frank De Wulf, DJ Pierre, 3Phase, The Martian, F.U.S.E or even Future Sound Of London.
You run a number of labels – what’s the most challenging aspect of doing so? And the most rewarding?
I have managed several labels since the beginning of my career in a totally different context. I’m happy to be able to take care of soul food. Today as in the past, the most rewarding thing is being able to work with talents: people who have the sacred fire and live for music. The most challenging aspect is to convince them about their abilities and try to turn the hobby into a real job and the current context does not help. I’m not just talking about the damage caused by the pandemic but also the structural and deeper changes in the music industry over the last 20 years, especially because the way we consume music has changed. Music sales and royalties were an important part of income.
A number of artists we’ve spoken to say they were very productive last year as they spent so much time in the studio, whereas others have said they lost all inspiration. Where do you sit on that line?
As I said I haven’t changed anything of my habits, I have always made music at night and I continue to do so. I feel as productive as before. I have sympathy for those who have lost their inspiration, also for economic worries, I found myself in a similar situation at the beginning of my career in the ‘90s. You have to survive and going to the studio doesn’t feel like a priority. Right now I have more free time having no engagements except for the radio show that never stopped. During the daytime hours I keep in touch and take care of the labels. In terms of musical creativity, compared to the past routine, these days I invest even more time in sound research and testing new toys to make music. This allowed me to maintain focus and attention in what is my main reason for living.
How would you describe the kind of music you make as Raimond Ford? Has it evolved over the years?
For those who have known me in the past, the answer is easy. I still have fans that write me and DJss that play my old records even as D-EX, Beattools, Racket Knight, etc…. Today I like what I do very much, I use my technical knowledge especially to create sounds but with another head and conception. My music is more and more organic, made of micro movements and characterized by an apparent simplicity. In the 90’s I used to make 1 to 2 records a day when I was in shape. I lived among the musical devices. I used to spend a lot of my earnings on keyboards. Less stress, less pressure, using fewer tools at a time is my new belief.
We’re all missing raves so much at the moment. What’s your fondest clubbing memory, either as a punter or a DJ?
I miss the raves so much as well as the clubs. I miss how the audience shows you its affection and the feeling created during the performance. I also miss everything that happened before a party as well as backstage. For me the clubs or raves were my workplaces, so I never partied that much. I wanted to stay sharp and professional, like today I only relax when I’m not working and am immersed in nature. Sometimes I tell the stories to my children. I still remember my first party in Zurich in 1993 in a 12 hour after party or a few years later in 1996 on the main floor of Energy in the Hallenstadion in Zurich with thousands of ravers. In the same period I was resident at the disco Alcatraz Riazzino, an incredible venue near home. I also remember my first time in Berlin for the Love Parade where together with many other Swiss artists we played an amazing party.
Are you optimistic that things will get back to normal for the music industry at some point this year?
I don’t expect exactly the same thing when it all starts up again. The consumption of music and cultural content is evolving rapidly. Certainly the digital acceleration has also come with this deep crisis. I’m optimist but also realistic. The big parties and festivals are not going to restart so quickly. There are a lot of unknowns related to the vaccination passport, different rules from state to state and audience concerns. I am convinced that the upcoming summer will be beautiful like last year, but still with restrictions. We must not exaggerate, we still need to be patient; the summer will allow us to catch our breath and forget the winter. Maybe in the short term we will see the return of small club with a single room.
What lessons do you think the music industry can learn from the pandemic?
Though I didn’t feel like a prisoner or a hostage, these are the kind of experiences that teach us how to live and make us think, but unfortunately they are also the kind of experiences that every father would want to avoid for his children. As in every difficult situation it is not only about surviving but also about evolving to take a step ahead of events. Covid-19 is one of those events that is difficult to be predict. You should always think about how to diversify your activities and sources of income. In this context is more difficult without going out of context. From adversity sometimes comes opportunities: for example, I have friends who have gotten with success into making music for video games or for films.
Aside from the studio, how have you kept yourself sane this year?
I am blessed to have family and friends who love me and give me constant encouragement. Among my hobbies there is a passion for the sea and the mountains. during the summer I spent many hours in these environments. Although I don’t practice sports at the moment, to keep me fit I walk almost every day at least two hours.
Have you read or heard anything that has been especially comforting?
This year I didn’t read any great books because my free time up to now has been very little. I’ve been trying to cut down as much as possible on the negative news by trying to escape a bit from the daily grind by being outdoors with my family since I see them a lot more than I used to. I took this period to listen to some old ambient/experimental records to regenerate and relax myself including The Aphex Twin – Analogue Bubblebath ; B12 – TimeTourist ; Ken Ishii – Pneuma and Namlook – Astrogator to name, to tel you the first that come to mind.
Finally, what was your favourite record of 2020 that people might not have heard?
Among the records you might like I recommend Mod21 – When The Ice Will Break on On The 5th Day. He is spacey and deserves to be heard and followed.