MANY ignore the great solo artists of the underground…
and those who have the potential to be future stars. We get hooked on the charts and magazine-tipped examples: we often forget the raft of exceptional musicians waiting to be discovered. I am excited about Manchester-raised, London-based Adam K and what he can achieve in the coming years. One of the most special and original voices you are likely to hear – packed with so much emotion, gravel and drama. It gives birth to incredible songs that are gaining attention and marking him as a talent to watch. I got the chance to catch up and ask him about the coming months and his music career so far…
Hey, Adam. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, Sam! I’m good thanks. It’s been a productive week. I’ve just done a gig in Dalston at The Servant Jazz Quarters.
For those new to your music: can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m Adam K. I’m a solo-acoustic artist based in London. I’m different from the rest: playing catchy riffs followed by unique vocals – the two work hand-in-hand. Who needs a band ey? Haha!
You moved from Manchester down to London. What compelled the move down to the capital?
The music scene mostly. My girlfriend had wanted to move to London for a while so I had two options… Option A.) Stay in Manchester where the music scene is great and commute to London or B.) Move to London with my girlfriend where the music scene and opportunities for gigs are at a larger scale. I went with the latter.
If you had to compare the two cities: what are the main differences that stand out from a musician’s perspective?
The local music scene in Manchester is great for music and you kind of know everyone. It’s a little restricted though as there are only so many venues.
London, on the other hand, has a never-ending stream of venues and pop-ups! I’ve been here for over 4 years now and there’s still so much I haven’t seen or done – I’ve got a list that I’m gradually ticking off. It reminds me of a smaller-scale New York: it’s always busy and there’s always something going on.
You are playing for Lost in the Manor next week. Are you excited about the gig? Will it be your first time playing The Pack & Carriage?
Yes to all of the above! I’m excited for this gig; the lineup looks great. It’ll be my first time playing The Pack & Carriage and also my first time playing for Lost in the Manor – it certainly won’t be the last. There’s still a couple of FREE tickets available for Saturday 24th September here: https://billetto.co.uk/events/147937
In terms of all the gigs you have performed over the past year: which have been particularly treasured?
I’d say Camden Rocks Festival. Great day and a great gig with so many inspiring acts in one place. I’m hoping to be there again next year as it’s such a cool atmosphere.
Songs like Left Inside and See Through have great acoustic guitar lines and unique vocals. The songs sound like nobody else. At what age did you study guitar and realise you wanted to become a musician?
Thanks! Well from the age of 14/15 I wanted to play guitar and sing. I couldn’t afford guitar lessons so had to go to the local library and get books to teach myself. Luckily for me, I heard a neighbour called Andy playing guitar as I was walking past his house. I knocked on the door and asked him if he could teach me a couple of nights a week and he did. For FREE! It was a Tenacious D moment like when Jack Black-meets-Kyle Gas, haha! There was no Pick of Destiny, though. He let me borrow a few tapes like Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning and The Black Album (Metallica); Nirvana’s Nevermind – which we jammed to and I’ve been learning ever since. I’ll be forever grateful to Andy for helping me.
It may sound like a hackneyed question, but what drives your music and compels your writing? Do you have to get into a particular headspace and what kind of topics enforces your music?
I try and write riffs that are catchy as hell. The ones that make you stop and go: THAT is a killer riff like G.N.R. Sweet Child o’ Mine or Metallica’s Enter Sandman.
I try and create something unforgettable every time. Singing on top of that can be a challenge but I work on that until it’s ready for the public ears.
Recently, I managed to create a song from a riff that I’ve had since 2010. 6 years later, it’s become a song by slowly adding layers of different styles and direction. It can take years to write the song you want. Sometimes it will just come to you and you can write it. Topics for the music I write? I’ll let you decide that one.
Can we expect to see any new material coming in the next few months?
I’ve got lots of new material which can be heard at my upcoming gigs. I’ll be recording them soon. I’m steering towards more of an album than an E.P. really but I’m not going to rush something that’ll be out there for good. I want it to be right.
Which musicians and artists were particular influential when you were growing up?
My favourite question!
Metallica, Nirvana; Madness, Foo Fighters; Queens of the Stone Age, Red Hot Chili Peppers; Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath and ZZ Top were my main influences growing up.
Growing up my sister told me: “Listen to everything and you can become a better musician“. How true that is: listening to everything without judging or saying I only like ‘x’.
I’ve learnt that by listening to different genres you can incorporate those styles a little into your own music whilst maintaining the style you have without going too much off track.
If you had to select the three albums that have played the biggest role in your life, what would they be?
Q.o.t.S.A. – Songs for the Deaf.
What an album! Not a bad song on it. Riff after riff with great catchy vocals. I’ve heard that album start to finish at least 50 times.
Metallica – The Black Album.
Love this album. Again: not a bad song on it. A lot of people say they sold out by going from Thrash Metal to a mix of ballads, Rock and Thrash. It’s good to be different and mix it up. Great dynamics on a great album. Listening to that will make anyone pick up an instrument.
Madness – 7.
This album makes you want to jump around with your mates while clinking a beer in the process. A bouncy Ska vibe is what you need in your life. Wicked guitar work made me see it’s not all about Rock.
Which musicians (local or nationwide) would you recommend we should check out?
Sonic Boom Six – Vibrant, feel good band with killer songs. They take a bit of everything that we each love and combine them together and they do it so WELL! Especially live; you have these great bouncy, vibrant songs being played to a room full of Liquorice allsorts! You know; there’s a Mod in one corner and a Metal-Head in the other. Nice to see that a band that can bring and unite a mix of people regardless of age, sex or race together all under one roof. That’s special.
Have you any advice for any new artists coming through right now?
Keep doing what you’re doing. If people don’t like you; f*** them.
Also, watch out for pay-to-play gigs. Why would you pay to play a gig? For what reason? Baffles me. Play as many free ones (within reason) and paid ones, as well as open mic’s, but don’t pay-to-play a gig. Once you start to build a following you’re on the right road.
Finally- and for being a good egg- you can name any song you like (not one of yours as I’ll pick one); I’ll play it here…
Misfits – Fiend Club.
(Thanks for the interview, Sam!)
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