I love discovering people like Jamie Adam. I think its the intimacy that’s implicit in listening to an artist who made tracks that perhaps weren’t, at the time, really meant for the light of day. Most of Adam’s music was strung together in tiny gaps in his schedule during years of night work, and they have this kind of mellow, slightly fuzzy, heady fuzz that comes with the 3am spaced-out world.
His new album ‘Melodic Electronic’ has grabbed the attention of the likes of the BBC, as the Kells man emerges from his iPad and instrument cocoon as a complete entity, complete with tracks that sound fresh from the MGMT cutting room floor, with an added tinge of electro-weirdness thrown in.
I had a chance to chat to Jamie about his debut record and the experience so far. Here’s what he had to say.
You sound like the ultimate bedroom music producer. How have you found stepping out of that zone in recent years?
My comfort zone is the bedroom/studio. It’s where I enjoy being the most. But I like being on stage, as well. The only feeling that rivals writing something new and exciting is the feeling you get when you play music with other people. That’s why I ultimately was looking at recreating everything from the album live with other people. I never wanted to do the whole DJ/ solo act thing live as I knew I would never get the same enjoyment from it. I do see myself doing more production work down the line. I love fleshing out ideas and developing a basic piece of work into something more whole and complete.
How inspired by the nocturnal post-party scene would you say the album is? Was it literally post-party? Was it a sober process?
I think the Nocturnal post-party scene would be accurate for only a snippet of the album! It was a very busy period in 2016 when I committed to writing Melodic Electronic. I was still at college and we were required to be present quite often. I was also working a night shift job in hospitals at the weekends just to have enough money for living expenses. So I would write whenever I had the chance really. Whether it be an hour in my bedroom in the evening after a day of college or a half hour in some random hospital canteen at 4am on a Saturday night. I ended up not really going out for about three months while I was writing Melodic Electronic, there was just too much going on!
The ‘Nocturnal’ video is quite something. Where does the idea come from? Does it link back to those bedroom college days?
The concept for the video really was about doing daytime things at night. As if your sleep cycle had been inverted and you would just get up at night and go to sleep during the day. I’ve had to work night shifts with part-time jobs since I was 18. It’s very normal to me now. That’s why we wanted to shoot us doing really regular day time activities like mowing the lawn and golfing but at night time. I’m only really starting my day when everyone is partying at the start of the video, that’s why I’m trying to pour porridge into a bowl while everyone is drinking cans!
You’ve described the track as being about being an introvert and a night owl. How have you found taking to the stage as an introvert?
I actually haven’t found it too bad. I was always in bands growing up, albeit more of a background member. I feel comfortable on stage but it is definitely different seeing your face more prominently in photos and posters. I’m still an introvert. I can deal with being in the public and crowds quite comfortably but it consumes energy. So I can only do it for a certain period of time before it exhausts me. Being in my cave working on music is still my favourite place to be.
The videos, in general, seem to go for quite a distinctive, slightly odd flavour. Where do the ideas come from?
To be honest the videos are all quite spur of the moment. I’m a big Wes Anderson fan and I love his style and his colour palette. I remember watching ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ as a ten-year-old, it was quirky and odd and I loved it. I naturally write quite happy, major melodies with my songs so I’m always trying to find ways of dragging them sideways with weird tones/visuals. There will always be an element of strange humour to what I produce. It’s what I enjoy.
You’re coming into music at a time when most agree the financial side of the scene is collapsing. Is that something you care about? Is it frustrating?
Of course, I care about it. I am quite lucky in that I’ve always been working in some shape or form while writing music. I’ve never had to rely on music solely as a source of income. But there is no doubt that it’s becoming a very difficult job to make any sort of decent living from. That’s why I try my best to support anyone when I can. Whether it be by buying a record or a t-shirt. A lot of musicians on the circuit are relying on people to turn up to their gigs and buy their merchandise more so now than ever. Streams just don’t provide a sufficient income. This is why you are seeing the more established acts charging more for their gigs now. They are trying to make up for the lack of revenue coming in from physical sales/streams.
I understand you’ve been making music for a long time before releasing ‘Melodic Electronic’. What made now the time for an album?
I’ve been writing songs and riffs for about ten years now. I must have well over a thousand sound recordings on different phones/laptops. I wrote ‘Melodic Electronic’ in 2016 because I was going through a real personal shift. I had just come back from a summer in America. I had started looking after myself better both physically and mentally. I had also just left the band I was in as I was getting a little frustrated with how difficult it was to meet up and create new music. By going solo, I just had to rely on myself for output and I was able to write the majority of the record in a few months. It was a form of self-therapy for me, most of the songs are introspective and self-reflective. I came out of that whole experience a different person. I had to wait two years to finish my studies and find the time and money to get a band/ equipment/ resources together to start playing live and putting some of the music out.
Is this summer’s festival season going to be a big one for you?
We have been confirmed for one or two festivals so far, I can’t give away any details yet. We are in the early stages in regards to playing live with this project. I think we have only played 5 or 6 shows altogether so far so I see next summer being busier in terms of gigging. I am just looking forward to getting out and playing as much as we can and just honing our craft. I still feel like we are only getting started.
What qualifies as a success for the album, in your view?
I don’t really know to be honest. I sort of feel like I have achieved what I wanted already. I didn’t write the record for anyone other than myself. I found writing it a real form of self-therapy and I really enjoyed the process of writing it. This record is like an EP to me. I’ve written so many songs since I finished this album that I feel like it is only a taster of what is to come. I was only a college kid who was making tracks on his I-pad in the corner of his bedroom back in 2016. If someone had told me I’d have played headline shows in Whelans and have national radio airplay and blog coverage by the time Melodic Electronic was out then I would have taken it. I felt like the last year has been just a great learning experience in regards to working and releasing music independently. There is a lot of knowledge I will bring to the table for the next set of recordings.
Jamie Adam‘s ‘Melodic Electronic’ is out now.