by Sterling McGarvey
Adam Freeland is a busy man. From his weekly show on KISS-FM in London to a demanding schedule of worldwide DJ bookings to managing his label, Marine Parade, he is one of the biggest names in Breakbeat production. Adam gained a great deal of recognition in 1996 with the release of his first CD, Coastal Breaks. Many huge name DJs, such as Carl Cox and Sasha proclaim that he is one of the driving forces behind Breakbeat today. With his new CD on Kinetic Records, On Tour, he is poised to reach an even wider audience with the power of Breaks. Lunar had the opportunity to speak with Adam as he was finishing up a demanding US tour with the Crystal Method and Überzone.
Lunar: You originally started out from a House background. Was there any specific sonic movements or trends that you can pinpoint that were strong catalysts in defining your style of today?
Adam: I started out playing Deep House, New York and Tribal House, but mixing it up with elements of Electro. Basically, I was very inspired by West Coast styles. I was really into artists like Bassbin Twins, Überzone, Kenny Weaver, and Simply Jeff. The early Icey stuff was a big inspiration, too.
Lunar: When was this?
Adam: It was around the mid-90s, around 94-95, I'd say.
Lunar: Who were your biggest influences outside of breakbeat?
Adam: Oh, definitely Massive Attack and Jimi Hendrix, I'd say.
Lunar: What was your history with Rennie Pilgrem and Tayo? How did you get started with "Friction?" How long did it run?
Adam: It started out in '96, I knew Rennie, because he'd made Acid records. There wasn't anyone in London doing what we wanted, so we started the night. It lasted until last year; we got kind of busy. There were a couple of years at Bar Rhumba, then it moved around. We're not promoters, so it made it hard to keep up, keep it going.
Lunar: How rough has the tour been on you? That's a lot of dates to play.
Adam: It's been pretty hard going. I've had a great time, though. I had last night off and just ended up refreshing and relaxing. It's been partially self-inflicted, of course, with the partying. I've never done the tour bus thing; it's been a whole lot of fun.
Lunar: A lot of British artists have cancelled their tour dates in the wake of September 11th. What made you decide to stay and finish out the tour?
Adam: Well, they've cancelled probably because they didn't want to get on the plane. At the end of the day, though, it's your responsibility to play. You're spreading the love, and you gotta keep the positive vibe out there. People wanna forget the day to day shit, y'know? If it makes people feel better, then I want to keep playing. I think it's kind of selfish to pull out. I decided that I'm here, people paid to see me, so I've stayed.
Lunar: You're stuck on a desert island, and you only have five albums to take with you. Name your Desert Island Five.
Adam: Hmm...Massive Attack - "Mezzanine," John Martyn - "One World" Santana's "Lotus" Massive Attack again..."Protection," yeah, and "Blue Lines," too. That's what it is this week. (laughs)
Lunar: Name anyone, living or dead, who you'd want playing at your dream party.
Adam: Billy Cobham on the drums, Hendrix on the guitar, that'd be a good one....I'm a big John McLaughlin fan; he's a guitarist. Harvey's probably my favorite DJ.
Lunar: Where has your reception been strongest in the States? Is it in areas such as California and Florida, where there is a heavy amount of Breaks production, is it elsewhere, or has the reception been the same all around?
Adam: It was definitely been strong in San Francisco; I did a great show in Memphis the other day. You know, sometimes a party just has a vibe, and it goes off, wherever it is. I haven't played as much in FL, probably not as much as I should have. Coachella last Spring in California was really good, too.
Lunar: So, why haven't you played FL as much?
Adam: I think it comes down to my agent and what's been happening down there. Whenever I have played down there it's been great; it's such a huge area. I guess it's really about availability.
Lunar: What are your dream tracks you'd like to remix at some point, royalty issues aside?
Adam: I've been asked that before, and I don't' really have an answer. Great tracks, you should leave them as great tracks. I'd love to remix old rock artists, I like fucking with conventional sounds, y'know? I've racked my brain before, there's no one track. I guess it all comes down to "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Although, y'know, I'd love to remix someone like Missy Elliot or someone like that. I think she's the bomb. I like Timbaland, too, the way he fucks with the sounds.
Lunar: On that note, Timbaland recently said in The Source that he wasn't at all inspired by Jungle or Drum n' Bass when he started out producing. There's been more than one voice of dissent online saying that he's probably not telling the truth. Yet, there are others who feel that he may have easily been listening to something like Reggae or Soca. What do you think?
Adam: It seems like great ideas are out there. Producers like him, they've put their money where their mouth is, and you kick yourself. You sit there and you kick yourself for not coming up with it first. I can believe you could do something like that and not have heard the other stuff. And I'm not saying he didn't, but it is possible.
Lunar: What's your take on the Creamfields in the US situation? Do you think it's a warning to British Superclub promoters to tread American waters with caution?
Adam: I think they really fucked up by canceling. They were big rock promoters, and I don't think they understand Dance music very well. They didn't understand that Dance music fans don't buy presales; they buy at the gate. I think it would have been a success if they knew what they were dealing with. I think the main problem is that promoters have to deal with in the US is a lot of bullshit. You've got the DEA making criminals out of everyone instead of attacking the real problems, which aren't raves. They're scared of what they don't understand. I think it's an issue for all of us to confront.
Lunar: What was with the title of your last album (Tectonics)? Does the title of your album deal with the blending and shifting of various genres into one single melding, or have you always just had an interest in geology?
Adam: It was a play on words. The first albums (Coastal Breaks) were about water; I wanted to deal with Earth, and, of course, with all the dubplates I might be spinning out, it was a play on the idea of shifting plates. Earth is big; it's powerful; it's natural. It's beyond our control.
Lunar: This new mix is on Kinetic. Is there any particular reason you're working with Kinetic for this release instead of bringing it out on Marine Parade?
Adam: It's on Marine Parade in the UK, in the US it's on Kinetic. Tectonics came out on ULTRA. The head, Steve, is a great guy; I think he's really in tune with Dance music. I'm quite happy with Kinetic; I feel like I'm good hands.
Lunar: Got any final declarations?
Adam: I think it's definitely a good time for Breaks. For a while, Breaks in the states got kind of cheesy, but it's really improved. There's been a boom in breakbeat music, and I'd like to see that keep going.
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