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Q&A: Adam F

ADAMF- 1 Suit UK wall

A quick skim through of Adam F’s discography tells you just why he’s widely recognised as one of the UK’s most established and respected music producers.

Since playing an integral part in the rise of drum & bass thanks to seminal releases such as Circles and Metropolis, he’s collaborated with some of the most notorious names in hip-hop and has even laid down the soundtrack to Sacha Baron Cohen’s infamous Ali G Indahouse.

It’s safe to say there aren’t many musical stones that have been left unturned in his multi-genre, decade-spanning career.

Last year, he added another string to his bulging bow by co-writing Secondcity’s ubiquitous I Wanna Feel, a track that leapt straight to number one in the UK charts and one that highlighted his ability to traverse between genres with ease.

A year on and he’s surely set for further chart success, as his massive collaboration with fellow producer and long-standing pal DJ Fresh, Believer, is finally out now.

Harnessing the gritty bassline of Renegade’s classic Terrorist, it’s a tune that has already received widespread acclaim since its incarnation, including BBC Radio 1’s track of the day status.

What with it being such a big release, it seemed like the obvious place to start when we spoke to him…

Believer is finally out! What’s the support been like so far and what was the inspiration for the track?

The support and love for this track has been great. It’s been played out quite a bit on daytime radio but because of that reesey bassline it’s also been getting support from fans of the more old-school sound, which is nice. For me, getting a track on the radio that has the Amen break in really ticks the box in a big way. Hopefully it’ll influence people to dig a little deeper and check out older jungle too. That’s the main thing I’m trying to achieve with this release really.

It’s not everyday you come across a Nero or Sigma or Pendulum. Our goal was always to work with artists who had a long term vision both creatively and live beyond just making club tracks. We are proud to see that everyone we’ve worked with has smashed it

One tune in particular that people will always remember you for is Circles. Did you think it was going to be such a seminal classic when you wrote it?

People still come up to me today and tell me that Circles is the track that got them into drum & bass in the first place, which makes me feel amazing. It was one of the first tracks that was getting played in Brazil and other countries around the world when drum & bass was predominantly restricted to the UK. I feel immensely proud that I turned a lot of people who never even knew about drum & bass to the genre with that tune. I didn’t even think it would get played by DJs at all when I made it so for it to get real love from ravers and DJs twenty years on is wicked. It was definitely the tune that led to a lot of people getting to know me, and is probably the tune that still does that today.

Can we expect anymore music to be released on Breakbeat Kaos?

It’s not everyday you come across a Nero or Sigma or Pendulum. Our goal was always to work with artists who had a long term vision both creatively and live beyond just making club tracks. We are proud to see that everyone we’ve worked with has smashed it and if we find another artist who makes us feel the same way we felt when we heard the likes of those artists then there’s potential that more stuff could come on the label. We’ve always taken the stance that less is more when it comes to running a label and obviously we’ve both been extremely busy so it’s hard finding the time, but as I said, there’s a strong possibility that more music could come from it in the future.

I wouldn’t mind playing a part in the next Star Wars film but that’s probably a tad optimistic…

What’s the most challenging piece of music you’ve ever written?

As a singular piece of music, the collaboration with Redman is the most accomplished, challenging piece of music I’ve ever written. I had to take an idea to someone I grew up listening to, play him my vision which featured a hundred-piece orchestra and choir and hope he liked it. For it then to get to the top ten in the charts and get played in clubs all over the world really makes it feel like the pinnacle of my career and a huge moment in my life.

https://soundcloud.com/adam-f-breakbeat-kaos/adam-f-feat-redman-smash-sumthin

Some people might not know that you’re the man behind the score to Ali G Indahouse. Was that a difficult project?

Scoring Ali G Indahouse was definitely the most consuming process I have ever been through creatively. Making about forty separate pieces of music in the space of two months that all needed to be conducted and orchestrated was incredibly tough, but also incredibly fun. The fact it was a comedy film made it even harder to score because it wasn’t a film like Batman or Star Wars that both had very specific dark themes.

As well as scoring music for films, you’ve also done a bit of acting yourself. Was this always your plan and have you got any more roles lined up?

I didn’t actually mean to be an actor in the films I’ve played a part in, they kind of happened by accident. I went to the directors with the aim of discussing a film score but then, just through talking to them, the opportunities came up to audition and I got the parts. It just goes to show that if you’re prepared to leave your comfort zone, then results can come from it. I’d definitely love to do some more acting in the future but there’s nothing lined up just at the moment because I like everything to happen naturally. I wouldn’t mind playing a part in the next Star Wars film but that’s probably a tad optimistic…

You must have come from a musical background, right?

This might sound a bit unbelievable but I can’t actually read a single word of music! I know what the different notes are but there’s no instrument I can play just by reading sheets of music, I have to just play it all by ear instead. I can play a few instruments to an okay standard but I didn’t come from a musical background whatsoever.

As someone who has been part of drum & bass from the beginning, would you say it’s a healthy genre right now? 

I don’t think anyone expected drum & bass to be where it is today. Ten years ago, I didn’t think it would be nearly as popular as it currently is, but it’s healthier than ever. The good thing about both hip-hop and drum & bass is that they’re always going to have a solid club love and following – that’s something that will never die. Ten years ago I also thought there was no chance that mainstream radio stations would be playing tracks made by drum & bass producers either, but that’s happening more and more frequently. The mainstream stuff is great in my opinion as it gets people into the genre who might not have previously known about it, and they can then dig deeper to find other styles and artists. For example, my niece didn’t know about drum & bass until she heard Sigma on the radio, and now she goes to Playaz nights! As long as the underground side of drum & bass remains, the genre will live on for a long time.

What’s in the pipeline?

I absolutely love DJing but I’m at my happiest when I’m working on new material. I don’t think anyone’s a true artist unless they’re both a talented DJ and a talented producer. I’d love to work towards a body of music that I can go out and perform in a live or semi-live way; that’s the aim for now. I’d also love to make the kind of music I listened to when I grew up; that ravey, jungly old-school sound. Aside from getting stuck into the studio I’ve got a few big shows lined up over summer which should be fun.

Believer is out now on Ministry Of Sound.