English house/trap/dubstep artist Joyryde performs at Exchange L.A. on Thursday, a show that promises to be extra special because the DJ and producer is waving his fee — all proceeds raised will benefit the LAFD, Humane Society of Ventura County, and victims of the L.A. and Ventura County wildfires.

The man born John Ford has had his own struggles this year, having undergone back surgery for a disc replacement in February. But that isn't stopping him putting others first this week. We spoke to him about all of that and more.

L.A. WEEKLY: What was it about this cause in particular that encouraged you to waive your fee?
JOYRYDE: I think first off, anyone who lives in California right now, this particular wildfire couldn’t escape your sphere of information because it was so vast and touched so many people. I had the opportunity to work with Insomniac at a show for Exchange next year and I told them, “Why aren’t we ushering this in immediately?” I mean, there were a couple of benefit shows people did throughout the city, and I’m not aware of all of them. But I told them we should just move it up. It makes perfect sense and it’s perfect timing. It’s just impossible to see that sort of stuff on the news and have any amount of followers on your Twitter, or on your Instagram, on your social media channels, and not just put it to work in moments like this.

You've been on tour — have the fires been making the news elsewhere?
For sure. When I was in China I didn’t hear anything about it, but I’d get constant reports from my family in the U.K. telling me the images were looking apocalyptic. When it’s making news in other countries like that, it’s clearly much worse. I know that there are fires in California throughout the year, but this one seemed to be more significant. I had this notion of firefighters constantly trying to put something out. I heard a statistic that it was growing at one point at a rate of 80 football fields per minute. I couldn’t even fathom that. I couldn’t understand how you could even begin to tackle it. As you’re standing in front of a fire putting it out, there’s five or six starting around you. I was just thinking, what a job this is. How do you even approach this? It’s such an impossible battle.

What do you hope to achieve on the night?
I’m hoping that we sell out. We have a GoFundMe set up as well, for anyone that’s not in town for the show. I hope it also inspires people to do something from their sphere of influence. From all strokes of life. Any type of business, creative arts, whatever. I hope that any effort that can be made by someone is a positive move. It’s looking really good. We’ve got lots of big artists that have confirmed to be surprise guests. Of course, I can’t say which ones. But anyone attending is gonna be blown away. This is a beautiful thing to do in this town as well, because you forget sometimes that the city is full of artists and creative and amazingly talented people. Everyone is working on their own projects and releases, touring, and it’s amazing to watch everyone just drop what they’re doing and come together like this. I think it’s going to be one of the most appreciative days that I spend living in the city. I’m really looking forward to it.

Your Brave album was due to drop this year but it's been delayed, correct?
I dropped a single with Skrillex three weeks ago, and we’re about to announce a new release date for the album. I scheduled it for November of this year and we’re about to announce a new date. It’s the result of a small struggle I had getting over back surgery. In February, I had a disc replacement in my back. Getting over that while trying to write and maintain a career was a challenge, and it taught me a lot. For a person who feels like I’ve experienced a lot in life, that was one challenge that was amazing to get over. The album’s called Brave. That experience helped me shape the title, and the music that’s on it. I’m super excited about it. It’s the most interesting, honest, enjoyable thing that I’ve ever written and it’s only going to shed light on the direction I’m heading in the future. I’m definitely going to be playing records from the album at the show. It’s all coming together, one espresso morning at a time.

What can we expect from the set at Exchange?
I’m going to be playing a bunch of stuff from my album, and material that I wrote to help me write the album. When you make an album, you write tons of songs and tons of ideas, and some of them make it, some turn into something else, some turn into remixes, and some never turn into any release that goes out. I think that we still haven’t gone over the structure of the show — who’s gonna play when and things like that. I might be playing throughout the whole show. In sections, with people joining me. I think I’m gonna end up playing everything I’ve ever made. Spread this out. If there’s ever been a show to celebrate my music, I think this is going to be one of them because I’m going to really have to be pulling out everything I’ve got.

What can we expect from you in 2019?
Get the album out. I just think I’ve turned a point in life where I’m excited about finding out what I don’t know about myself. I’m so intrigued about getting into stuff that I’m unfamiliar with. I’m familiar with dance music and solo releases. My Skrillex collaboration was the first collaboration I’ve ever done as Joyryde, so I’m very interested in working with other artists, other creatives. Maybe not just in music, maybe other creatives in the film world. No spoilers for my album, but there are some interesting collaborations, pushing Joyryde into lifestyle partnerships with people, obviously with music as the backbone. Seeing where all of that lies. That’s what I think 2019 is going to be, for the most part.

Joyryde performs with secret special guests at 10 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29, at Exchange L.A. Get tickets here.

LA Weekly