Name: Adamski aka Adam Paul Tinley
Occupation: DJ, musician, singer, producer
Current event: Adamski is headlining the Summer Love festival which takes place Saturday 4th of September. The new event, one of the biggest of its kind to take place after the almost global lockdown, will feature a diverse selection of artists, with a special "nod to the old rave days". The headlining spot is testimony to Adamski's remarkable longevity as a creative force on the scene - a longevity not everyone would have expected after his fast rise to fame and respect with the almost too-good-to-be-true "Killer" in 1990. Despite never quite reaching those stellar heights of pop stardom again, he has constantly re-invented himself, remaining relevant as a live act and recording artist. Even his latest full-length Free to Kill Again, featuring brand new versions - upcycled rather than re-recorded - of "Killer", manages to sound fresh. Which is why you can expect his performance at Summer Love to sound like 2021 – and not like an artist trying to rest on the laurels of past achievements. Get tickets for Summer Love.
If you enjoyed this interview with Adamski, visit his official website for more information. Or stay up to date on the latest developments by tuning into his social media channels on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, and Soundcloud.
Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?
I can’t switch creativity on or off but I do feed into it by wandering around art museums or flea markets or browsing Spotify playlists. Sometimes I dream melodies. I can’t always be arsed to get out of bed and put on my computer before I forget them. But they’re usually the best ones.
For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?
I like to have parameters like only using samples from South East Asian music or only using rockabilly bass or whatever. Otherwise it can just go on mutating forever into no man's land.
Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?
Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?
Depends what kind of mood I’m in. Sometimes caffeine and nicotine are good. Sometimes a jog through the woods with a good Spotify playlist.
What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?
Never difficult cos I’m always thinking about music.
When do the lyrics enter the picture? Where do they come from? Do lyrics need to grow together with the music or can they emerge from a place of their own?
Sometimes they just arrive in my head, sometimes something I overhear or read.
I have plastic bags full of unfinished lyrics or notes on my phone.
What makes lyrics good in your opinion? What are your own ambitions and challenges in this regard?
Sexy, spiritual and artistry with a twinge of humour. I listen to other people’s music as a whole and I’m not really bothered if it all works but weirdly and annoyingly I’m always really anal about my own having integrity.
Once you've started, how does the work gradually emerge?
I used to make tunes in 15 minutes – "Killer", for example. But it can take me up to 20 years since the advent of DAWs in laptops.
Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?
I have a strong sense of a higher power.
Often, while writing, new ideas and alternative roads will open themselves up, pulling and pushing the creator in a different direction. Does this happen to you, too, and how do you deal with it? What do you do with these ideas?
Ditto above answer.
There are many descriptions of the creative state. How would you describe it for you personally? Is there an element of spirituality to what you do?
Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?
Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practise?
Test it on the dance floor and friends.
What's your take on the role and importance of production, including mixing and mastering for you personally? How involved do you get in this?
I like to do all the programming and arrangements alone. But sometimes it's good to get a mixing engineer’s objectivity with clashing frequencies and space.
After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?
Best to just crack on with the next project.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Nothing like the buzz of watching people dance to something that came via my brain and fingers …no other art form can do this.