Adaptation Theory was the debut album released by Swiss techno producer UFO Over, and followed an intense period of research and experimentation with futuristic musical visions. Now under his alias Raimond Ford he has delivered fresh and frenetic reimaginings of four of the cuts from the LP. Released in 2020, UFO Over’s album Adaptation Theory started life as several live performances performed outside of the club environment, later honed and perfected after many hours in the studio. An artist who thrives on pushing himself and redefining how he approaches production, the result was a hypnotic and deeply engrossing album that moved from shifting ambient to dark, polyrhythmic techno and melodic electronica. Now under his Raimond Ford alias come four new remixes that pulls us firmly back to the depths of the dancefloor...
Welcome back to DMC Luca – last year tough for a lot of us, how did you remain positive?
HELLO, thank you very much for allowing me this update!
We have also had a difficult situation in Switzerland. Fortunately the measures have never been too strict (no curfew) as, for example, across the border a few kilometres from here. So although the clubs have remained closed and despite the ban on big events, I’ve taken this moment as an opportunity to focus on the goals I’d like to achieve, some of them by the end of 2021.
I have also remained positive thanks to Push The Tempo @ReteTre/RSI, the radio show I am responsible with Alevì for, which has never stopped and still allows me to maintain strong contact with other artists in the region, but also nationally and internationally. Financially it’s certainly tough, although some foundations are anticipating future royalties or whatever. Some national cultural organisations have launched competitions with cash prizes linked to new cultural projects aimed at shortening the distance with the public, i.e. enabling the population to enjoy content in this context, thus taking art and culture to the next level. With music in general, and with club music in particular, it remains an impractical experience for me at the moment. There is a lack of contact, a lack of group fun, and it risks being an aseptic experience.
Tell us a little about your background and how you first got into music?
This is the first time I have dug so deep into my memory, now almost 50 years old. The flame that ignited my great passion for music and the art of DJing started around 1984. My mother had given me a tape recorder as a present, with which I experimented by recording everything from the radio and television. It was mainly Italo-Disco together with Acid House and then the first German and Belgian dance music of that time that captured and enlightened me. Even though I was little more than a grown-up child, tracks like Electrica Salsa by OFF, Pump up the Volume by M|A|R|R|S, DJ Pierre’s records on Trax, French Kiss by Lil’ Louis or Ibiza by Amnesia will remain forever etched in my memory (records that I still play from time to time and treasure). I remember doing whatever job I could to collect a few francs so I could buy records. I spent hours and hours listening to music in my room; I recorded my first DJ mixes with 1 tape player and 1 turntable. I used to play at the first parties in secondary schools and youth centres in the area. Thanks to some videotapes I learned with one of my best friends, how to scratch and how to play different games with records, and for a while I trained and competed at a national level, I think we were not yet in the 90s.
Were there any artists or scenes in particular that influenced your early work?
My first records, the published ones I mean, date back to 1995 about 2 years after I entered the techno scene in Zurich, things were going well, I was already playing in many Rave and Clubs. I wanted more, I wanted to play and test my music. At that time I was producing my songs without a computer, overlapping several TB-303’s (some of them filtered inside Korg’s MS10 or MS20) and then synchronized with TR-606, 808 and 909 drums and MC202 which in turn sent pulses signals to the different SH101’s affected here and there with my RE-201 tape delay. Among the names I’d like to mention DJ Woody, Damon Wild, McBride and Brixton for the more experimental part, but also Emanuel Top and many artists of Nu Groove / Trax / R&S / Soma / Warp and Nova Mute records.
In the UK, the Swiss rave scene is not something that is as well documented as other European countries like Germany or Italy… was there a sound or trend that was uniquely Swiss?
In my view the rave scene in Switzerland was strong, especially if you consider the proportions with the number of inhabitants and the size of the territory. Zurich but not only have hosted events of international appeal. I would like to mention one of the most famous Energy at the Hallenstadion in Zurich. The ravers moved and often took the long weekend to dance. The biggest names on the world stage played and enjoyed the audience at these parties. I cannot say that Switzerland was initially defeated by a particular distinctive “content” such as jungle music for England or hardcore music for Holland. In my opinion Switzerland offered the right “container” and the best conditions. However I can say that Switzerland too has had over the years and still has its names starting from electronic duo Yello to Rozzo, Jamie Lewis, Eric Borgo and Deetron and then Luciano and Michel Cleis. The latter although later in chronological order certainly carried the name of Switzerland around in all clubs and festivals with his hit track La Mezcla. I believe that among the most influential names it is certainly right to mention Adriatique.
You released an album last year that was focussed away from the dancefloor… was that a liberating thing to do? And do you think it’s something you would have produced if you had been touring?
The contingent situation has certainly been a tempting opportunity. One thing that has always distinguished me is the ability to adapt to critical situations that have allowed me to reinvent myself and grow. To convey emotions I have to feed on emotions and feel adrenaline flowing. I think it’s essential to find the time to do new or different things. Where possible I believe it is not just a financial / economic question but of personal satisfaction.
Where are some of your favourite clubs to play in the world, and when do you think you’ll be able to get back there?
Unfortunately in recent years many of my favorite clubs have been closed or have a different destination. Especially in my region we will have to start from scratch for the umpteenth time. Compared to the past the containers are now missing. At the moment the only wish is to be able to go back to playing in public and have fun.
Talk us through your studio set up… any particular favourite bits of hard/software?
In all these years I have had the opportunity to try and own everything even rare and very bulky keyboards some with hand-made manuals. My main passion is to create sounds, often in the small space I have I still connect some of my keyboards such as the AXXE of ARP, Pro-ONE of Sequantial Circuits, Chroma Polaris of Rhodes or even the DS2 of Crumar. I still use my TR-909 naturally. Most of the time in the studio I use VSTs (virtual synthesizers and multi-effects as well as processors) in particular those that allow me to manipulate the sound at will even if something is homogenized by nature. Above all I see the advantage of no longer needing a large studio as well as the possibility of being able to access at any time. I like “casual but tidy” things and above all manual skills therefore pressing and turning many buttons at the same time. In a song I invest at least 80% of my time in sound design and music research that’s why I’m exploring the world of artificial intelligence.
What are your production plans for the rest of the year?
Like many artists I have accumulated a lot of material at 99% to dance. For this year in addition to several EPs out soon, with my alias UFO Over I’m working hard on a multidisciplinary and multi-dimensional project. We are preparing something to be presented by the summer in a planetarium in my region. An adventure born in space also told in the form of comics and keywords intended for boys and girls of elementary schools enveloping and intriguing sounds to listen to while exploring the cosmos made by me and by a collaboration with a French pianist. It will also be my intention to release a disc with comics and music. Projects like these allow me to stay afloat, motivated and creative.
What do you think the club industry will look like a year from now? What changes would like you to see given that a lot of it has been forced to reset and take stock?
My real hope is that the virus will disappear from the earth. I remain convinced that people’s freedom is a fundamental right. In the future the point will be how to get to that moment without concrete help and with no money. I am referring in particular to the music industry most closely linked to clubs. The art of being a DJ as well as the creation of electronic music compositions remain as they did thirty years ago: as something that is not sufficiently supported and helped by the government and institution they seem not to exist, certainly when compared to other professional sectors. I am by nature a realist I am convinced that we will be in a better situation than now but not yet out of the way.
Finally, tell us one record you wish you had made and why…
I love movie soundtracks in general, thinking back to Sergio Leone’s classic “spaghetti westerns” that accompanied many Saturday nights of my childhood on TV, I can’t fail to mention the great maestro Ennio Morricone and the soundtrack of The Good The Bad And The Ugly. In the future I would like to collaborate more with directors and television producers. Especially for the creation of electronic soundtracks.