Thursday, May 3, 2012
Former SMU student LDFD makes a splash in music industry
Los Angeles DJ Daedelus played some of LDFD's songs at Coachella.
LDFD is his stage name, but his friends and family simply know him as Justin Ledford: budding music artist and entrepreneur. If you stand outside of his high-rise apartment in Mockingbird Station, you can hear his music booming through the halls, as he is the victim of numerous noise complaints. Once inside, he may not come out to speak to you until he is satisfied with what he has created that day. Locking himself in his room for periods at a time, Ledford obsesses over the smallest details, from a looping bass thud to a sonically enhanced synth. With a studio that also functions as his bedroom, and a DJ turntable set made up of numerous wires and devices only he knows how to use, “LDFD” has all the makings of a musical prodigy.
At 21 years old, Ledford is a music producer and DJ who specializes in combining hip-hop, house, electronica, and jazz. He has performed locally in bars around Greenville Avenue and Trees in Deep Ellum but has also played on bigger stages like shows in New York and Austin’s SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival. Ledford was a sophomore in the Cox Business School at Southern Methodist University before he dropped out to pursue a career in the world of producing.
Ledford’s musical curiosity began at the age of 10, when he began to take guitar lessons and was fascinated with the concepts of playing and making music. His musical ability and interest has grown quite a bit since then, which has caused his unique sound to span across different categories.
“It’s hard to classify it within one genre, but its pretty much a combination of my favorite music,” Ledford said.
While being a DJ, Ledford seamlessly blends songs from artists like Lil’ Wayne and Gucci Mane to the beats and sounds of artists/producers like Julio Bashmore, John Wayne, and Shlohmo.
Ledford also integrates music he has produced on his own into his performances.
“I started making beats with a Radio Shack Moog from the '80s, an SP-404, my guitar, and random percussion instruments,” Ledford said.
Ledford’s crude beginnings as a producer have also grown like his music. This is, in part, due to the fact that his business, Snapsteez, has helped him make enough money to invest in his own small studio.
Snapsteez, a site that sells both vintage and new hats, as well as beanies, was originally a one-man operation started by Christian Hohmann, the company’s co-owner and Ledford’s good friend.
“[Christian] was selling snapbacks out of his trunk and was wanting to expand, and I originally had an idea for a site but it was going to take a lot of time that I didn’t have, so we pretty much got together and I set up most of the site while he found the snapbacks,” Ledford said.
“It feels great to see something that started so small grow into something some people never get to see in their lifetimes. When Justin and I work together something just clicks,” Hohmann said.
Hohmann noted that the same energy that Ledford brings to his music is also brought to the workplace, which has resulted in great productivity and a situation that is surreal but accepted.
Ledford’s passions, especially for his music, are so much that he’s taken the last two semesters off from SMU in order to pursue more career opportunities.
“It feels great living my life and making money by doing what I want, but I was also very busy with school,” Ledford said.
Daedelus, a popular experimental music producer and DJ based out of Los Angeles, has been in contact with Ledford and is one of LDFD’s many inspirations. He even played some of Ledford’s songs during his set at Coachella, one of the world’s biggest music festivals. Ledford could possibly release his first EP off of Daedalus’ label.
“It’s hard to say what my future holds exactly because it feels like each step takes me 10 times further than I expected,” Ledford said.
Gabriel Towles, a friend and protégé of Ledford’s, has worked with him in the studio and says his sound is innovative and unique.
“He’s determined and motivated; he’ll spend hours and hours working without going out … Sometimes we won’t eat until we finish what we started that day,” Towles said.
It’s this determination that has brought LDFD his recent success and that can perhaps bring him and his music to new heights over the coming years.
Ryan Spraggins, a sophomore, has known about Ledford’s music for a while and expressed his approval.
“Some of his stuff, like Twerkit Remix, goes hard in the paint, it’s easy to vibe to,” Spraggins said.
Pegasus News Content partner - The Daily Campus