Insight Interview: Adam Ford

Introducing Adam Ford, the sonic architect behind ambient, future garage, and synthwave.

Formerly known as Gianluca, he transitioned from hardcore vocals to solo artistry, driven by a need for self-expression. Inspired by acts like We Deserve This and captivated by the rise of Synthwave in 2016, Adam immersed himself in electronic music production.

Joining the Chillsynth Discord community in 2019, he honed his craft, fusing dreamy vibes with nostalgic undertones. Influences from Tycho to Burial, Vacant, and Christian Loffler shaped his sound, creating a unique blend of atmospheric and organic elements.

Today, we explore the musical journey of Adam Ford, uncovering the inspirations that define his distinctive style.

Hey Adam! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in music production? What drew you to ambient, future garage, and synthwave genres?

 

Well, before the Adam Ford project (It’s just an alias, my real name is Gianluca), I used to be a vocalist in a few hardcore/metalcore bands around the age of 16, and I think that my attraction to music came to be from the necessity of finding an art that suited my expressive needs (I was into drawing before). Later on, given the lack of cohesion and vision between the members I had around, I thought why not learn by myself and go solo? At that point I began learning how to record, mix and master music for others.

Around 2016 I discovered a German Post Rock / Ambient solo artist called We Deserve This and he was the one who opened my vision towards electronic music production and the world of Digital Audio Workstations. It was a matter of time and shortly after seeing the rise of Synthwave thanks to acts like Miami Nights 1984 and Timecop1983 that I felt it was the right time to find a way to express what I was feeling inside.

Fast forward to 2019, after some Synthwave releases and with an admiration for Downtempo acts like Tycho I stumbled upon the song Home – Resonance, the Electronic Gems YT channel and a producer called Admo, which had a Discord Server called Chillsynth, fascinated by the difference in style compared to classic Synthwave I decided to join and learn how to make music in this style, incorporating the dreamy and nostalgic vibes of this subgenre and mangling it until I crafted a personal vision of it.

Later on, in 2020/2021, I discovered Burial – Untrue, Vacant, Phelian, Volor Flex, Azaleh, Opera Infinita, Insight Music, Organic House acts like Christian Loffler and at that point it was too late to get back and ignore the atmosphere and raw organic core sound that ended up becoming one of the most influential genres in my music.

Artistic Process

Walk us through your creative process when producing a track. How do you approach composing and arranging your music, especially considering your tagline of “Nostalgic vibes and melancholic feelings”?

 

Usually I have some melodic idea or progression in mind that I tend to record on my phone notes otherwise I’d forget everything, after that I tend to match the sound design of the instruments I was “hearing” in my head, arrange and compose the structure of the song in its barebone version and build up section after section from there. 

I tend to blend production and mixing from the get go to have an idea of what the final result would be and mostly because oftentimes the processing and effects I apply are an extension of the instrument itself, without them I would feel heavily uninspired and confused by the raw tones. If I don’t have anything in mind or the WIP (Work In Progress) idea isn’t as strong as I imagined I usually sound design, scroll through some presets turning on effects or arpeggiators until something grabs my attention.

For the nostalgic and melancholic expression, it often comes to degrading the sound in various ways or choosing instruments that emulates certain eras like the 80s or 90s.

Musical Style and Studio Setup

How would you describe your signature sound within the ambient, future garage, and synthwave genres?

 

That’s a tricky question, mostly because I guess you could define my sound signature as a blend of influences but most importantly it heavily depends from what release you’re listening. Every single, EP or album is like a self-closing chapter that defined “an era” of what I was feeling in those moments and what caught my attention to the point of being inspired by it.

In the past my music was way more rigid, computer based, fast and driving paced with some homages to the 80s and Cinematic soundtracks, evolving in more dreamy atmospheres and pop structures until I stumbled upon the experimentation, organic texture based and lively world of Garage music.

Can you share some insights into your studio setup and any favourite tools or instruments you use to achieve your distinctive sound?

 

To be fair my studio is really minimalist since after years of trial and error I understood that my workflow benefits from having small to no hardware at all.

I have a pair of Sennheiser HD600 that I produce, mix and master with often going through translation checks and corrective frequency response to get the flattest response I can have, paired with a Motu Ultralite mk5 interface and an Arturia Keystep 37 MIDI keyboard.

I plan to get at least one synthesizer this year and upgrade my headphones, maybe some external fx’s but I don’t plan to build a wall of synths kind of studio, that would be an obstacle to my workflow and need of releasing music whenever I desire.

Sometimes I use again sounds from past releases but more often than not my sound is constantly changing and evolving.

Recent Release – ‘Lonely’ with YOUTH83 x Sleepscreen

Let’s talk about your recent collaboration on the single “Lonely” with YOUTH 83 x sleepscreen. How did this collaboration come about, and what was the creative process like working with other artists in these genres?

 

The collaboration with YOUTH83 / Sleepscreen (his ambient moniker), came to be after understanding that he would have been the best producer to enhance the sonic atmosphere I was creating on “Lonely“, his unorthodox style and unique skills were crucial to obtain the moody, dark driving feel the song evokes.

The process was straight forward, he’s an experienced artist and we had a short back and forth of the session before it was finished. Working with artists like him is a bless, it opens up to possibilities and visions that wouldn’t have been possible working by myself.

Freelance Mastering Engineer

As a freelance mastering engineer, how does this role complement your work as a composer and producer? Do you find that mastering for others informs your own production choices?

 

It definitely does. Having worked in many genres mastering different styles of music and having the chance to do the same on my own music, it opens up to a plethora of scenarios, possibilities and roads to pursue in order to find the best path for the specific song necessities. It’s not as esoteric as most may think even though it requires a different ear and approach from mixing, but I tend to find mixing harder since it requires a more careful mindset between what you desire and what the track really needs.

Influence and Location

Being based in Italy, do you feel that your location has had any influence on your music? Are there specific cultural or environmental aspects that find their way into your compositions?

 

No, ahah.

Back when I was a kid at least in my town, it was full of techno acts and metal live shows, and that may have influenced me in some sort, but when it comes to the culture or the actual popularity of local trap music, I’m not influenced the least, even though I like some Wave from time to time.

Favourite Releases and Achievements

Looking back on your discography, are there any particular releases that hold special significance for you, or any achievements in your musical journey that you are especially proud of?

 

I’m proud of “Better Times“, because it came to life in less than 3 hours in one of those once per year extreme inspiration sessions where you know how a song should be from start to finish and I instantly knew that it would blow up, even if it took some time, it was a slow burner.

I’m proud of collaborations like Delta, Ascent, Loneliness, Lonely, Unmooring Past, Faded Memories, they’re all different shades of our constant evolution in style as musicians and artists.

Future Aspirations

What are your future aspirations as a musician and producer? Are there specific projects, collaborations, or milestones you’re aiming for in the coming years?

 

So, I’m in the making of a new album called “From Memories and Ashes” which tries to converge the musical influences I had between 2020 and 2023 while I was in hiatus. It has quite a stacked list of songs (maybe it will be split in 2 parts, let’s see) and plenty of talented artists and producers I’m working with.

In the future I’d love to work with artists like Vacant, have a physical release through Stratford Ct. , an album with Insight Music (hey hey), maybe being published on Opera Infinita and who knows, a man can dream (working with Tycho or get into Ghostly International?)

Advice for Emerging Artists

For emerging artists and producers, especially those interested in ambient, future garage, and synthwave, what advice would you give based on your own experiences in the industry?

 

Study the basics, the genres, how those genres came to be and what are the influences of your favourite artists.
Copy, steal, mangle and recycle until your inner voice comes through and when it does, don’t shut it down even if you feel tempted to. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries, to explode and surpass any limits of what is considered conventional, art is meant to live freely and if you can listen to your voice and express it, you’re an artist and no one in this world can negate that.

Thanks for having me, it was a pleasure.

Adam Ford

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Big thank you to Adam for this incredible interview! We’d love for you to show thanks to the artist by supporting him on the following platforms:

Soundcloud | YouTube | Bandcamp | Instagram | Twitter

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