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Music |

Interview: Lucy Ford

Friday 10 August 2012

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Lucy Ford has been performing for almost seven years, bringing her smooth liquid Drum’n’Bass to stages around Toronto and across North America. Originally a vinyl collector, she stumbled into an opportunity to host a campus radio show called Rinse Out Radio, and from there her skill as a DJ continued to develop, earning residencies with respected Toronto-based companies such as Nocturnal Commissions, Canadian Hardcore Collective, and Embedded Entertainment.

Recently, I got in touch with Ms. Ford to talk a bit about her past, her present, and her very bright future. Take a look!

Tell me about yourself and your background:

I just turned 32. I was born in Toronto but grew up in Mississauga, Ontario (Canada) and lived there until I was 18. I have one younger brother. I have been in school forever – I did an undergrad degree in Psychology at the University of Western Ontario in London, ON; I completed medical school at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON; now I am a Psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto. I’ll finally be done with school when I’m 33 (ouch!). I also spent a year in Montreal in the middle of all that and loved it. I now live in Toronto with my boyfriend Ty and our two cats, Gretchen and Butters (both girls).

Tell me about the music you’re into:

Drum and Bass (mostly liquid, but I like all kinds!), intelligent hiphop, some electro and dubstep.

How did you get into this music?

I had been going to raves since high school and was always into jungle/d&b. When I found out I got into medical school in Kingston (boring!), I decided to take up a new hobby and began collecting records. It blossomed into a campus radio show (Rinse Out Radio) and an opportunity to DJ in Toronto and beyond. I never looked back!

Where can you usually be found performing?

Recently, various small venues in Toronto.

What are your musical influences?

I listen to a lot of online radio and podcasts. I also am a big fan of Hospital Records, so I can always find music I like by staying tuned to that label. I am a sucker for anything made by High Contrast, London Elektricity or Nu Tone. These days, I am loving Netsky, and recently got a chance to see him play in Toronto!

What motivates you to perform?

It’s a real rush to be up on stage, nail a mix into a song that you love and then play off the crowd and dance and sing and jump up and down. I also love it when a fan will come up to me after and say “You played my favourite song! Thank you!”. It’s fun and rewarding.

What differentiates you from other performers?

I’d say that most DJs who play my genre are dudes. It’s nice to get on stage wearing a sassy, feminine dress and play loud, aggressive, bass-heavy music. Don’t get me wrong… I like the girly stuff too.

How do you see yourself as an artist?

I’m just a music lover who likes to have fun and create fun for others. I’m not creative in the same way as people who produce tunes. However, my brain is hard-wired for the structure of music, so I am pretty technically solid when it comes to mixing (except on bad days, I’ll admit!). I’m a bit of a purist – I really prefer the feel and sound of vinyl. I resisted the onset of the digital age for a long time… I don’t like that you lose the visual and tactile cues of a record. Getting Serato was a big help, because I can use control vinyl. CDJs are a bit of a nemesis of mine, but I’m getting better all the time!

What’s next for you?

At the moment, I am focusing lots on my career as a doctor. DJing comes second, but is a real stress reliever and departure from the day-to-day seriousness of my job.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Living somewhere exciting, I hope. When I finish residency, I’d like to go adventuring and live/work abroad for a few years.

Gear nerd time – tell me about the equipment you use.

At home, I have one very old Technics 1200 and two CDJs (Pioneer CDJ-400s). I also have the matching Pioneer DJM-400 mixer. It’s actually a sweet little setup, save for the lack of a second turntable (I lost it in a breakup a few years ago!). I use Serato when I can. Serato rules.

Do you have any heroes? 

I’d say that my DJ partner Mizz Lee is both my hero and partner in crime. Her and High Contrast. If only we could arrange a 3-way versus set, I could die a happy woman.

What’s your favourite on-stage memory?

Probably playing in the desert in San Diego years ago. There weren’t very many people there but we were out under the stars and it was so beautiful. It was the first out-of-town gig I ever had and was quite the road trip!

What other interests outside of music do you have?

I took up hula hoop dancing about 18 months ago and am now a hoopaholic. I am also addicted to travelling and have been to a lot of exciting places – some highlights include Australia, Costa Rica, China, Thailand/Laos/Vietnam, Macchu Pichu and a brief stop in Japan on my way home from a recent trip to southeast Asia. I have been to Europe several times and am headed to Croatia this summer. I also enjoy biking, canoeing and just being outdoors in general. Picnics are a favourite way to be with friends. Does hanging out on patios in the summertime count as an interest?

Of what achievements are you particularly proud?

Becoming a professional and a legitimate grownup. I never thought I’d be able to say that!

Obligatory question: favourite song?

It’s too hard to pick! In Love by Jenna G, I guess.

What makes a song stand out for you?

Melody, rolling bass, intelligent lyrics. I also like deep, dark basslines that rattle me to the core.

On whom have you depended on for support?

My wonderful boyfriend and my close friends and family.

Where can people find your music?

I have a few sets online at www.djopel.ca/tag/lucy-ford-mixes/

Something most people don’t know about you:

I am classically trained in music, and was an avid flutist before university. I also dabbled in guitar, piano, saxophone, bass clarinet and piccolo.

DJ Lucy Ford animation