EXCLUSIVE: Software's Airbird Stream

One half of Ford & Lopatin (with Oneohtrix Point Never) takes on a new project on Mexican Summer with more 80s synth sounds

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Airbird is the latest incarnation of Joel Ford - the bassist of Tigercity and one half of Ford & Lopatin, his collaborative project with Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never - and this May saw the release of his latest EP 'Trust' on Software Recordings/Mexican Summer. His sumptuous exploration of early to mid 1980s synth music has revealed some of the most interesting pop in recent years and to celebrate this latest piece of work, Dazed Digital spoke to Ford about the project and can exclusively bring you an unreleased B Side, WIND_GEN, from the 'Trust' sessions.  

I'm constantly trying to paint a picture of what’s in my head with Airbird or any other project I'm writing for. Finding the right interface is paramount, and it’s a constant battle to bridge the gap between mind and canvas. I feel like I've only just scratched the surface

Dazed Digital: What drove you to the Airbird project as an idea; were there any direct influences?
Airbird:
Airbird is something I started in college to house my first experiments with electronic music. During that time I was listening to a lot of el­ectronic and ambient music like Oval, Gas, Fennesz and Eno.

DD: You've said that the EP is heavily influenced by your move from New York to North Carolina. Can you tell us about your transition from city to country life, and how it has impacted on your music?
Airbird:
Well, it’s funny because I technically live in Asheville, NC now, but for instance, I'm in Brooklyn all summer working in the studio here. Asheville is a really special place for me. The Trust EP was recorded and mixed there in my home studio. I'm looking forward to doing an LP in the same way this fall.

DD: I was intrigued by the fact that your parents are symphony orchestra musicians but although you have played in bands before, you yourself are not classically trained. Do you feel that this has had a direct effect on your song writing? I'm interested to know how you go about creating the Airbird sound.
Airbird:
Yeah, my parents never forced music on me because I think it was forced on them at a young age. They went to music school and were professional musicians for many years. I did play trumpet for like 15 years or whatever so I WAS classically trained but in a very limited, specific way. Those years trained my ears and I'm thankful for that. But I can't play piano or read music for guitar or bass or anything. I'm constantly trying to paint a picture of what’s in my head with Airbird or any other project I'm writing for. Finding the right interface is paramount, and it’s a constant battle to bridge the gap between mind and canvas. I feel like I've only just scratched the surface.

DD: How does this process translate into a live setting?
Airbird:
Playing live is very new and has been rad so far. We did a 10 show tour with Washed Out in May which was super fun. They're some of the nicest music people I've ever met. Right now Airbird is me with Greg Settino (tigercity) on drums and occasionally other instrumentalists when it’s appropriate to stretch into more of a fusion­orchestra vibe.

DD: What can we expect from Airbird in the coming months?
Airbird:
I'm looking forward to spending time in Asheville this fall and working on the first Airbird LP. Gotta dig deep.

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