by: Mitchell Rose
by: Mitchell Rose
Oct 22, 2020
ford. is only 20-years-old, yet he already has a resume that would make many producers blush. A member of ODESZA‘s Foreign Family Collective, ford. released his debut album, (The) Evening, when he was just a teenager. Now, millions of streams and a Grammy nomination later, the Utah-based producer is back with his most refined work to date, The Color of Nothing.
ford.’s sophomore LP is largely carried by his outstanding ear for sound selection; The Color of Nothing‘s tracks utilize mellow song structuring and a cohesive flow exquisitely, but the lush, eclectic instrumentation really makes the album click. Assisted by a spread of vocalists who add welcome flavor to the record, The Color of Nothing is certainly ford.’s most expansive and polished project to date, and further proof that he is a talent to reckon with moving forward.
Dancing Astronaut caught up with ford. to talk about his personal growth, production style, and what exactly the color of nothing is. Read the Q&A below.
Remarkably, your debut album was released when you were just a teenager. What have you learned about your music or yourself since your last album?
ford.: “I wrote most of the first album while I was in high school. I was just learning how to produce, work with other artists, create full songs etc. The fact that all those tracks came together in one uniform package felt pretty serendipitous. The process of writing this album was completely different. All my decisions, influences, and styles were much more thought out and pre-determined. With album one, I was just happy to have a group of songs finished whereas with this album process I tried to be purposeful each step of the way.”
You’re 20-years-old with two solo albums under your belt and loads of other releases as well. With so much experience already, do you still feel like a young producer?
ford.: “Yes and no—the past two years and particularly the past few months have offered a lot of maturity in terms of both life and being a better producer. With that said, I think it’s important to always hold on to a bit of that ‘young producer’ mentality so you can keep searching for new sounds and create with a blank canvas. That feeling when you’re just starting out trying to figure out how and what to make can often lead to the most genuine music.”
Your video for the title track is built around a very interesting visual effect. What inspired that effect and the scenery of the video?
ford.: “I have always gravitated towards engaging visuals, especially those that really put the viewer/listener in an atmosphere that best reflects the music. For this video in particular, I was approached by one of Foreign Family’s visual artists Landis Tanaka about working on a music video for the upcoming album. We went through a bunch of different visual ideas and landed on this one. The camera movement and alternative reality felt really fitting for the music and the whole album concept.”
Can you explain the album’s title? What does The Color Of Nothing mean to you? Where did the idea come from?
ford.: “For me, The Color of Nothing represents what you see when you close your eyes and rub them. Even though your eyes are shut, what appears to you in this moment is this indescribable hue. It’s not black, white, or any other color that can be described. For me, the color of nothing is liberating. It is a blank canvas; a canvas where I can free myself of pre-conceived ideas and create openly. The idea came from this short film animation where two characters have an existential conversation. I remember watching this piece years ago and really resonating with the concepts. Those concepts really inspired me to start writing what would eventually become album two.”
Your music often uniquely carries calming and exciting energy simultaneously, how would you characterize your production style?
ford.: “That’s a pretty hard question. I think my music and production style is a reflection of my personality and what I’m feeling around me. The past two years in particular has been a complex yet beautiful time. I have had some incredible highs and some tough lows. I try to be vulnerable when I create and I think a lot of times that translates into both calm and exciting energy.”
One of my favorite tracks on the album is the final track, “4.38am.” Why did you choose it to be the album’s closer?
ford.: “The minute I finished this track, I knew it was going to be the closer. I love the idea of 4:38 a.m. being the end of night but also the start of morning. If you listen to the very end of the track, the beginning of The Color of Nothing starts playing as if the record was on loop. This cyclical idea felt like the perfect way to tie the whole record together..”
Do you have any parting thoughts?
ford.: “Just thank you so much for caring about this project and giving me the chance to talk about my music! Hope whoever reads this is having a good day.”
Featured image: Dash Grey