INTERVIEW: Elliot Adamson | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Taking place at a purpose-built venue within Gateshead Stadium on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th October, MAINYARD sees veteran promoters Shindig bring a huge line-up to the region. On Saturday, the North East’s own Patrick Topping hosts his debut TRICK label showcase, with sets from Green Velvet, Eats Everything, Ilario Alicante, Elliot Adamson and Bryan Kessler. Patrick Topping’s first Shindig line-up features some of the most exciting electronic artists on the planet. However, hailing from the North East himself, the area is heavily represented alongside the more established international names. Elliot Adamson quickly made a name for himself with his adventurous track selection, dextrous mixing and infectious charisma. There are plenty of great DJs, but few that give such a good interview. Here, one of the region’s brightest talents talks us through his story so far, and his plans for the future.

For people who aren’t perhaps are familiar with your performances and releases, how would you describe your style?
Honestly, I find this so hard to pin down. I can’t really pinpoint exactly what I like which makes it a bit of a nightmare to find new music at times. I like things that have interesting textures, I like acid lines, I like stuff that either sounds fully like machine music or super organic. Basically, it’s house music but sent through the whacky filter that is my weird little brain. I like the commercial things that sound a bit wrong, I like the weird underground stuff that sounds a bit pop. If I had to sum up my style in one word I’d probably go for decent – that says nothing but says everything at the same time.

What was your musical upbringing? Was it makina and hardcore like a few other well-known North East DJs, or was your route into music slightly different?
I liked a lot of punk, I liked the streets, I liked some more UK hardcore stuff at one point. I kinda started learning to DJ when I was twelve. My older brother had 1210s with makina records and I used to hate it, but liked the challenge of mixing. My timeline is a bit weird which I think is what makes my taste a bit whacky – by the time I actually got into dance music I already knew how to mix, already knew how to make music and already knew my way around production software. I played drums from when I was 12, learnt a bit of rudimentary guitar when I was about 16, just chords and stuff, and new how to make something sound half decent on a keyboard, but only really actually got into electronic music after I’d started making it.

My favourite production of yours has always been the edit of Dizzee Rascal’s Strings Hoe, which of your own records are you most proud of?
We worked it out once, and I’ve made over 1000 records in total, if you average each one out at about five minutes then you’re looking at about half a week’s worth of music all in all that I have there, so basically you’d have to be at some party to listen to it all in one sitting. I have loads of stuff that really hold a lot of value to me, I ran a label with a close friend around 2014/2015 but we didn’t really release any records (did have a tune from the label on a Gucci advert though), some of the music from that period probably my favourite. Adelaide, Consort, Victory Chop, a new one I’ve made called ‘Less Than You Think’ is special, ‘For Club Play Only’ which was a promo only release on Me Me Me means a lot, Turbotron 5000, Are Your Feelings Easily Hurt – yeah there’s a lot, I really live for this, it’s hard to explain how much making music means to me.

You’ve always been able to weave through different musical genres throughout your sets. How has your style changed since you first started DJing? And what sort of music do you enjoy playing out the most?
I guess I’ve just gotten more confident really, which is probably a negative thing. I have really bad rhythm which is a bit weird as I’m pretty fluent in most other musical areas and this confidence usually results in me trying to juggle things on four decks and it constantly just being on the verge of falling apart. I usually manage to pull it off, I think, but mostly I’m just trying to practice being as bold as possible, so I can become fluent in it. If you practise being safe all of the time, then you can just become really really good at being really really boring. 

Trick will see you line-up underneath the Shindig lights alongside Patrick Topping once again. How influential was Shindig on your own clubbing experiences? And what’re your memories of DJing for Shindig?
Shindig has always had a great reputation in the North East and stood the test of time for a reason. There’s something so pure about a warehouse rave outside of the city too, none of those bells and whistles just exceptional sound systems and great line ups. Some of my favourites were probably… John Digweed in Feb 2012, when there was a massive freak snowstorm beforehand and no taxis were running – everyone still went to the party aware they’d be stranded or have to walk miles home in the blizzard, and it just brought an extra sense of energy and dedication to that escapism and the rave. Then things like the festivals they did, seeing Detroit Swindle playing that vinyl set at By Day By Night was pretty smashing, they are incredibly talented. 

You’ve really stepped it up this year when it comes to releasing your own productions. What was the story behind PiHKAL, and the enormous range of sounds and genres on the album?
I couldn’t make music for so long. It was wild, and I’d kind of gotten myself really down about it because I sometimes extract my self-worth from how good the music I’m making is. PiHKAL was basically the result of the first few sessions back when I could make music again and I was so excited I just put it out there. Annie Mac picking it up two days later for Hottest Record in The World just restored my faith in the universe, it was exactly what I needed at the time to just fully get my head back in the game and basically, I can put the drive of me making the other two albums down to that happening – cheers Annie! The wide range of sounds and genres? Put that down to me being a little freak. 

It’s been an excellent year for new music from a lot of exciting emerging artists. Which tunes are currently taking pride of place in your record bag?
Everything Bryan Kessler, everything ABSOLUTE., Paranoid London are back with a bang, Testpress are killing it, Alex Virgo still rolling out them belters, Rex The Dog sent me some nailers the other day, I just got a load of stuff from Laesh I can’t wait to play, Ewan Mcvicar, Garneau from Vancouver, Kettamas new ones on his label are stupidly huge, Klaus Blatter, Fear-E (always), DJ Haus is consistently pumping out the pumpers, Theo Kottis, Dan Shake. Some of these artists you might not think of as emerging, but in my vision if you aren’t as big as you should be then you’re still emerging and put every single artist here on that emerging list. 

Your set for Loop in the Cut in 2016, the one with the absolutely wild tracklist, seemed like a particularly big moment in breaking into the Newcastle circuit. What gigs have felt like your big breaks? And what advice would you give your younger self?
That one was wild – proper. I played to a few thousand people in Naples the other year and still get messages about that set, warming up DC10 as a resident for disclosures night the other year, Mint Festival the other year mixing breakbeats into ambient records and somehow pulling it off, and special mention to myself for making a record in the middle of a back to back in France and then playing it in the set – cheers. I used to feel a bit sad about recounting moments in my career because they always felt like distant memories, but I’m just super happy to be creating on a high level again and I can’t wait to see where it takes me now and I feel more prepared than before – I’m not a little baby anymore mam, I have hair on my face now. I wouldn’t give my past self any advice, honest, I knew what I was doing, pretty proud of that little shit actually for not managing to royally screw everything up. 

What’s been your biggest achievement since you started DJing? And your biggest challenge?
Just being able to do this full time from such a young age without any huge singles or without ever feeling like I sold out, or was an artist I didn’t want to be, and that really wouldn’t be possible without the support from people around me. Ryan Hope, Patrick Topping, Eats, Man Power, my friends, all the promoters that book me, the people who listen to the records, the people that come out to the shows. It’s such a blessing for me to be able to do this without really having had to compromise much. It’s nice to think that things would’ve always played out this way regardless, but my crew really enabled me to be the person that I am and the people who rate me have always rated me in a way that has enabled me to exist in the way that I want to. I’ve been getting in my head a bit recently, just the usual worries, and I cooking pasta the other day and was just thinking how lucky I am to have everything in my life that I do – and the pasta was nice as too.

We’ve recently heard Patrick Topping road testing Don’t Be Too Polite, will that feature on the albums in the pipeline? And what else can we expect from your own productions in the near future?
That’s coming out on Me Me Me next year. I only just made it actually, like literally a few days ago, the internet is mad isn’t it? I’m trying to nail off a release for my favourite European techno label, got that release on Me Me Me, I’m tryna do something on UTTU, and will be doing a follow up on Trick next year. I might do another album this year too, maybe two – who knows eh?

Buy tickets for Patrick Topping presents TRICK featuring Green Velvet, Eats Everything, Ilario Alicante, Elliot Adamson and Bryan Kessler, taking place on Saturday 5th October by clicking this link.



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