Recently, we caught up with Zak Ford following the success of his album launch at Fibbers earlier this month. We spoke about his influences, featuring on Jericho Keys and having the opportunity to support the talented Marika Hackman on 3 April.
By Nina Watts Marsay
How did you first get into writing and performing your own music?
I’ve played a variety of instruments ever since I can remember. From violin at four, to piano at twelve and then guitar/gass guitar at sixteen, as guitarists get all the girls or so I was told. I played and sang in Emo bands, Metal bands, Psychobilly bands and most guitar-based genre bands until 2010/2011 when I bought my first acoustic guitar. That’s when I fell in love with writing my own style of music and the rest is history.
You’ve been compared to the likes of Ben Howard and Dallas Green. What would you say influences your music style?
Everything influences my songwriting to be honest, from music to personal experiences. I listened to a lot of Motown and soul growing up as my parents loved it. Then, as I grew up, I found myself listening to everything. I’m addicted to searching for new types of music and forever on the lookout for the next album to consume me, whether it’s Classical, Folk, RnB or Metal. At the moment, I am massively into Scott Matthews’ new album Home – Part 1 and David Ramirez. I’ve listened to his song Find the Light 3 times already since starting to answer these questions!
You had your album, Young, Eager and Starry Eyed, launched at Fibbers earlier this month. What has the response been like to it?
It’s been really great. A lot of new fans so far and old fans coming out of the woodwork, which is lovely and it doesn’t seem to be calming down too. It’s amazing.
You featured as one of Jericho Keys’ new artists on BBC Introducing recently. How do you feel about it?
I am a massive fan of BBC Introducing and can’t think of a better way to spotlight York’s Talent; I feel very lucky to be a part of it. Jericho and Andrew have allowed the scope and quality of acts to grow hugely over the past year and it will only get better.
You’ll be supporting the incredible Marika Hackman at the beginning of next month alongside Sam Griffiths and Sophie Jamieson. How does that feel and how did you get involved?
I first saw Marika back in November last year at The Duchess with Sam & Luke Saxton. I loved her sound and then got my hands on her new album last month, which is ruddy ace. I don’t like to play too much in York but it happened to fall at a good point since the album launch, and I’m looking forward to a more relaxing, support slot in familiar territory.
Also, I’m excited to catch up with Sophie Jamieson as I’m a big fan. I first met her at small gig we played in London, which I cannot remember the name of, and admired her unique style and presence. Sophie’s trackWaterloo is incredible.
Have you found it challenging to be successful in this industry?
The music industry is very challenging but I love it. I’m very lucky to have a great job within the music instrument industry too, which keeps me around musicians and people with similar loves/interests. One day I will maybe challenge this sentence, but I really cannot see myself tiring of playing my songs and recording them. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time.
What are your plans for the future?
At the minute I am looking for a new manager/agency, so if anyone is reading this and interested then give me a shout! I’m currently booking gigs and finalising a tour in the summer also. Keep your eyes peeled for more info on that.
What do you think of the current York music scene?
York’s music scene is brilliant, diverse and ever growing. I actually think it’s at an all-time high at the moment. Anyone can go out in York at any point in the week and see some great talent. There is music for all tastes at multiple and different types of venues.
Do you have any advice for other up-and-coming artists?
I have a long way to go yet until I can give any advice to be honest. Don’t put up with bullshit, write music that makes you happy and always be nice to people.
Finally, any last words for the readers?
My debut album is out now and I would love you all to check it out. It’s available on Bandcamp to stream/download, and is now also on SoundCloud.
Zak Ford is supporting Marika Hackman at The Duchess on Friday 03 April 2015.