Critically-acclaimed acoustic artist David Ford makes the trip back up North in June, stopping at The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on the 22nd. In anticipation, we found out a bit more about his tour, his foundest memories of Yorkshire, and what to expect from one of his gigs.
By Jane Howkins
You have an upcoming tour around the UK in June, are you excited?
I have worked hard to cultivate a reputation as a fiercely grumpy old man so I make a point of never becoming excited, however on this occasion I am willing to make an exception. Yes, very excited.
You have a date near us in Leeds on the 22nd at the Brudenell Social Club, is this an area you enjoy playing, and have you played here before?
Yes, I’ve played in Leeds lots of times before. It’s a real favourite location of mine. I have some great memories of playing at the Cockpit and was sad to see it close but shows at the Brudenell are always a good time.
Any chance of a gig in York at any point? Do you like our city? The local music scene here is fairly good!
I like York very much and have played there lots and also in nearby Pocklington where the Arts Centre does a terrific job at booking some really good acts. The historic, picturesque qualities of York more than make up for the frustration at how difficult it is to park there.
You’re originally from the South Coast – where exactly are you from, and what is the music scene like down there?
I still live in Eastbourne in Sussex. It’s a nice town, pretty quiet, frustratingly conservative (in every sense of the word) and there has never been a music scene here as far as I have noticed. I think it must be the largest town in Britain with no live music venue. It’s actually quite nice to find a separation between where I live and where I work. I think it would be strange trying to get my neighbours to buy a ticket to my show at the end of the road.
We hear you have a new EP coming out soon. What can you tell us about it?
It’s called The Union EP and it features five songs written and recorded in a variety of different places with the help of some very talented friends, all brought together in beautiful musical union. It’s a pretty eclectic mix of noisy rockout, sweet sentimentality and a dash of soul. It shouldn’t work but it totally does.
Why did you choose to release an EP, instead of an album? Is it more of a stopgap between things?
I’m still working out some unpleasant details and admin behind the scenes regarding the album release so I put together The Union EP to satisfy the deafening clamour for new material.
Do you have any singles planned for release from the EP and, if so, what can you tell us about them?
I have no plan about anything really. The days of strategic record releases are some way behind me now. These days I just sort of nudge my songs out into the world and hope they find a way to float. In some ways this is more pleasant as the music can find an audience organically and I don’t have to soil my artistic tendencies by thinking like a businessman. There is a trade-off in that the chances of great fame and commercial success are hugely diminished but, over the years, that whole scene starts to lose its appeal compared with the perpetual thrill of making music.
What sort of stuff are you influenced by, and what have you been listening to recently?
I mostly listen to old records from the ‘70s. At the moment I’m really into Little Feat, Boz Scaggs, Allen Toussaint. The playing and production on those old records is just incredible. I really loved Leonard Cohen’s last album You Want it Darker which is my favourite recent album, although it took a man in his 80s to do it.
What is a David Ford gig like, and why do you think people should come and see you perform live?
I like to make it an intense experience. I want people to enjoy it but also to feel like they have been a bit messed with. I like to see grown men crying, to hear moments of pin-drop quiet. I want it to have dramatic extremes of tension and relief. I like to work incredibly hard and leave the stage with nothing left to give and for the audience to go home feeling ever so slightly changed for the experience. Maybe it’s just a gig but it’s good to aim high.
Any last words for the fans?
I don’t like to use the word “fans”, it feels a bit disrespectful somehow. I consider my audience to be discerning individuals and highly sophisticated listeners and as such I prefer to call them friends.
David Ford plays at the Brudenell Social Club, Leeds on Thursday 22 June 2017.