Ibiza Voice Podcast 556 :: Elliot Adamson
Download :: https://www.unlock.fm/9za
If NWA were straight outta Compton, Elliot Adamson is straight off the Internet. To be precise, the rising UK house star is actually from the small town of Houghton-le-Spring, near Newcastle, but that’s not quite as influential in the greater scheme of his rise through the DJ game as his presence on social media.
Whether it’s clocking up hundreds of thousands of plays on his edits on Soundcloud, or amassing an engaged crew of fans on his Twitter and Facebook, the twenty two year old has buzzed his way into contention with a combination of on-point edits of well known tracks and super sharp banter. His original tracks have found favour on labels like Eats Everything’s Edible, Toolroom and Hot Creations, making him one of this year’s key one-to-watch artists on Beatport.
He cut his teeth as a DJ playing for Newcastle’s Digital at the tender age of 17 and blazed a trail of tastemaker tech house parties and tours in 2017 but it’s his knack for making jackpot edits like his re-rub of The Streets ‘Weak Become Heroes’ that was played by DJs like Seth Troxler, Shanti Celeste and Jackmaster last year, that have created the biggest waves for the unashamedly honest Adamson. He’s not afraid to admit his ties with DJs like Patrick Topping or Eats Everything began with being a drunken pest in clubs, and as such, he’s the epitome of the hungry, hustling raver made good.
Ibiza Voice: What have you been up to recently of note and what's upcoming?
Elliot Adamson: I’ve mainly just been sorting my life out. I didn’t release any music in a while and fell into a bit of a rut over the winter (as I usually do) and convinced myself I was shit, became a bit aggy, then sorted myself with a new year head on in Jan.
I've got a new agent (shout out Ben at Field Artists!) and new help with music on my management team (shout out Matt!) which has been helping loads. I make a lot of music and it’s very easy for me to just not show anyone it, or if I do show someone, it’s a bit backlogged and there’s a bit too much there. We’ve managed to sort a few new projects for this year, a few EPs on some really really ace labels and a few wicked remixes for a few wicked artists.
Show (gig) wise the one that sticks out the most is doing my first all night long in Newcastle in two years towards the back end of the summer. That one will be ace and I get to see how many mates I actually have back home!
How did you record the mix and what equipment did you use?
I’m just using Ableton. Sorry (I haven’t owned a DJ setup in eight years). I feel a bit ashamed to say that, but I read an interview with DJ Spinna for his RA podcast and he recorded it on Ableton and he’s a fucking legend, and there’s STILL people chatting hate in the comment section. If Picasso was still alive and decided to use a Wacom for a sketch you’d be a bit sketch to try and insult that I reckon. I like Ableton. I’m a digital kiddy, I know it like the inside of my eyelids, and I like the idea of using a different ‘medium’ to what I would in clubs.
I heard the owner of a big PR company didn’t want their artists to do too many online mixes and the thought process was that it would make them too accessible and people wouldn’t feel such a need to come and check them out at clubs. I don’t know if I agree too much with that, but I do like analysing other ways of thinking.
When I make a mix in Ableton, I assemble the music completely different than I would behind a pair of CDJs, so if you want to hear what I’m like behind a pair of CDJs, you really have to come along and see me play in a club.
This mix doesn’t really have a major theme. I had a bit of a rough week, so it’s taken me three days to get out of bed to put it together but I’m feeling pretty thankful that I have. If I had to sum the mix up in one word, I would go for “feeling” - cause it’s made up tunes I’m feeling at the moment.
Where do you get your music from?
Promos, friends, Beatport, YouTube hunts, online premieres, record shop charts, mailing lists, Discogs recommendations. I think Phonica takes the trump for my favourite record store, I love their curation. I have a love/hate relationship with promos. I think great music doesn’t have to promote itself. If i like something, I’m that guy who listens to it on repeat for days and I’m not ashamed of it.
Tell us about your record collection? Do any of these records tell a story about you?
This is a difficult question cause I don’t really have an extensive collection. I’m not really a collector, I had a hard drive blow up the other summer with 200 original records I’d made on it that weren’t properly backed up and I wasn’t too bothered about keeping them. I just bought a new laptop and said goodbye to everything.
I go through phases all the time. I went through a phase of making a shit ton of Dance Mania edits the other year, that was fun. This is probably the wrong answer to your question and probably not what I should say in an interview but I don’t feel a strong connection to music unless [the tracks] are expressing what I feel in a moment. I don’t have a particularly strong connection with certain words unless I am using them to communicate in a conversation, and I view my collection of music as a bunch of words, sentences and phrases that I can use to communicate different things as part of a conversation in my DJ sets. That sounds corny as fuck, but I can’t really describe how I feel about that in any other way.
The man, himself.
You were DJing before you were able to go clubbing, but what got you into dance music in the first place?
We had some belt drives round the house, then there was a bunch of direct drives later. We had one box of [hardcore label] Makina records at first, and later we had some happy hardcore ones off eBay. That probably all happened when I was about 12, so kinda half a lifetime ago. I didn’t really know the specifics of the music I don’t think, putting them together was kind of like a game.
My brother ended up selling them all because he couldn’t mix, I don’t imagine he reads my interviews, but if he does he’ll have something to say about that! Later I bought myself some CDJ 400s with my paper round money then sold them for some shit controllers that I kinda regretted, but my computer couldn’t burn new CDs and I couldn’t afford a new CD drive so I had to. It turned from a game into something I liked a bit of a while later. It’s all fun really.
Can you recall any pivotal moments from your early days trying to break through that helped shape who you are today?
I moved to London when I was 18 and went to fabric a lot. I started DJing when I was young and learnt a lot about how promoters work. I got really drunk during a set once when I was around 19 and got kicked out three times during it! I’m playing for those guys at the end of this month actually, that taught me a lot about forgiveness! I made a lot of mistakes when I was trying to break through and I learnt a lot through them, and they made me who I am now, and I could be better now, but I’m still finding my wheels.
Edits are a really crucial way to get noticed for aspiring producers, can you tell us why and how you started making edits and how you got people to take notice of them?
Edits didn’t seem as popular on the internet when I started to do them. I really started to do it on tunes that weren’t on a solid grid so I’d sync them up and add new drums and stuff, or I’d make new intros to tunes that didn’t have an intro so I could DJ with them easier. I think I’m trying to say that the best ones always came with a purpose for doing them, and people started taking notice of them because they were actually good and useful. Good music doesn’t really need much promo I reckon, I can say that one twice.
Have you had any pinch-yourself type moments so far in your career?
Buddha said expectation is the source of suffering.
You're well known for your chat online, where does that self confidence come from and is there anything you've regretted saying so far?
When I was a kid I said I was going to be an artist and everyone looked at me crazy. I had to acquire confidence in myself to be able to see it through. When I moved back from university I had things kicking off. I was about to start my own label with external funding and with one of my biggest influences, all the right guys were playing my records and it was happening and it was still like: “I think you should go and work in a call centre?” Obviously I told them to fuck off. Most of the things I’ve regretted saying involve telling people to fuck off really, but I’m working on that.
To follow Elliot Adamson on Souncloud, click here.
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