Interview: Adam Pits plays with Puddles
Since we last spoke to burgeoning Leeds party trio Puddles they've certainly been keeping themselves busy with some stellar collaborations in Leeds and Manchester with On Rotation and Eastern Bloc respectively. This November they're back with a storm in a promising new space and a killer line up featuring Manchester's breakbeat electro extraordinaire No Moon and rising London/Leeds talent Adam Pits. Ahead of the show, we were keen to sit down with Adam and chat about his upcoming record on Holding Hands Records, his production set-up, his methods and just what kind of coffee keeps him going in the studio...
Hey Adam, pleasure to chat to you! How’s it all going?
Adam Pits: Aside from not having a proper production setup it’s all going good. I’m a full-time headphone producer.
Glad to hear you’re kind of doing well! Do you find there are any positives to making music in the way that you do, or are you just desperately waiting to upgrade your studio?
A: Let’s just say that I would highly benefit from having a nice studio. On the other hand, I believe that a small set up allows for a quicker working environment; that’s if you're accomplished with what you already have.
When did you start writing music, and what sort of journey have you been on during your development as an artist?
A: So I’ve played cello since I was 9, and my main focus for much of my life was classical music. I dabbled on Logic 9 prior to University which was the spark. I went to study Classical Performance at University as a split course with Production on the side. I’ve been surrounded by so many great musicians and many great clubs and nights out in Leeds. I’ve basically spent the last 4 years obsessing over the fact that technology has given such a gentle platform for music composition. Anyone can do it.
Do you have any particular principles or ethos that guides your production and music writing process?
A: My thing is that if you feel the ‘production spark’, just get creating; even if it’s 4 in the morning and you’ve got work the next day. It’s important to do this if you’re feeling inspired because you may not feel the same way when you next sit down to produce.
There are notorious rumours floating around your prolific production work rate. Do you find new ideas come to you freely, and how do you avoid the dreaded writer's block?
A: Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. I struggle to finish the tracks because my mind trails off to new ideas. It’s a gift but a curse that I think many other producers also experience. I’d say that keeping a fresh music reference playlist is key to my writing process, as well as a cup of coffee.
What sort of stuff is in your music reference playlist? Do you listen to music along the lines of what you’re trying to make, or do you go for something away from the sphere of dance music? Also - what coffee are you drinking?
A: It changes all the time. I listen to music every day and it's usually something completely new. If I like the sound of a hi-hat from a track that's enough to be inspired from. It's generally something quite small that gets me going. I'll take different inspirations like this from a few tracks, then put it together to see what comes out. At the moment it's just standard instant coffee. I am a coffee lover but sometimes it's convenient to have it in seconds.
You have just released a new EP on Holding Hands. Could you tell us about the ideas behind the record?
A: After hearing both of the previous Holding Hands releases I decided that I wanted to emulate different aspects of both Breaka and Desert Sound Colony’s music. If you listen carefully you will hear stylistic features of both releases in my tracks.
Did you write the music particularly for the labels or did they pick up some of your unreleased material? Do you have a different approach to producing music that is likely to go out into the world on a record label?
A: I think one of my strengths is my ability to mimic other labels or producers. This will be a feature throughout my work over the next year as I aim to spread myself across different labels and styles. If I had any advice for other up and coming producers, I’d say get some good music theory knowledge under your belt. It makes translating your ideas far quicker and easier.
As a DJ, are you interested in playing your own music during your sets? I know attitudes can range from artists who refuse to ever play something they have written to others who use their DJ sets as test drives for their latest ideas. Where do you sit on that continuum?
A: I actually really enjoy playing my music to people. I spent so many years feeling the anxieties of playing cello to live audiences that this now feels like a breath of fresh air! Even if the tracks aren’t ‘banging' or sounding perfect, it’s still nice to gage first-hand what impact your track can have on a room.
Leeds musical scene has been enviably rich in recent years, with a strong tradition of DIY and charity-focussed parties encouraging a creative approach to nightlife. How much are you involved in this scene, and does it inspire your musical direction?
A: Most of my close friends in Leeds either run or are heavily involved in running DIY parties. I basically go to all of them, have a great time and soak up all the great music being played. Puddles, On Rotation and Snug Bar are a few to mention. Also, a special shout goes to ‘Stretchy Dance Supply’ which is possibly one of the best parties I’ve ever been to. Keep your eyes on all of these nights.
When you play at Puddles at the end of November, what can we expect to hear from you on the evening?
A: You can expect the music to be fast and intricate. We’ll see what the vibe is on the day.
What future plans in music and elsewhere are you at liberty to tell us about?
A: Nothing is concrete yet, but there are so many exciting things that pop up every week. Next year shall be a big one for me, keep your eyes peeled.
Also, just a final production tip, the best time to produce is when you get back from a night out. When the music is fresh in your brain and the excitement is still there, things flow. That's only if you’re not too battered.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to speak to us, Adam. For those who want to hear more from Adam live in the flesh can catch him at Puddle's upcoming show on the 30th November with No Moon. Tickets are available here from Party For The People, get them whilst they're fresh!
All profits made from the night will be going to the charity MAP. If you haven’t heard about the amazing work they have been doing, make sure to check out their Facebook page and give them some support!