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CALM INTERVIEW: Barry Adamson

Legendary musician and CALM supporter, Barry Adamson, gives us the latest on his career, life and creative influences….

Barry Adamson: The man got style

Thanks for taking time out of your busy life to talk to us, and looking back at your 30 year career, being busy seems to be a constant state of being for you…

Ha! Which is why I’m a bit late with this interview! I just really like the feeling of wanting to create; it’s a real buzz for me. At the moment I’m writing a screenplay, songs and music for a film, plus a spoken word project with IMonster, and any ideas for a new album that appear I’m also making musical and lyrical notes for. It’s something I’ve learnt I can trust; a constant in my life.

Having worked with so many different artists, from your time in Magazine, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Buzzcocks to being nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, working with Jarvis Cocker and contributing to film soundtracks for the likes of David Lynch & Oliver Stone, where would you say you were creatively most comfortable in your career?

The creative ideas I spoke of are still evolving. I learn all the time from people I work with, plus I have my own goals and sometimes the newness is uncomfortable (e.g. Film directing), but soon becomes part of what eventually makes me feel great about my career.

Adamson & Devoto, Magazine at Latitude '09

Which of your musical achievements or pieces of work are you most proud of?

Hard to say. I like the stuff I did on Lynch’s ‘Lost Highway’ but then I like my new album, ‘I Will Set You Free’.  Also Brighton Rockers sounds good in the car. I’m proud of most of it but I still feel I haven’t begun yet!

Who would win in an arm wrestle, Cave or Cocker?

Against me? I’d take ’em both at the same time whilst finishing a hot mix and listen to them cry!! Against each other? We’d be here all day…!

Barry hanging in The Bad Seeds, 1985

Musical genre is something of an elastic concept for you – what or who would you say was your biggest musical influence?  Is there a genre you wouldn’t touch with a bargepole?

In equal measure; Tamla Motown, 70’s Rock and Pop, 60’s Jazz, 90’s Hip Hop! Never say never to a genre, though.

 

How do you feel about the state of the music industry at the moment?  Did you find creative release when you left Mute and set up your own label?

I’ve always had a DIY approach to making music and Mute supported that for sure. But when EMI came along, I feared for my creative life! Today I don’t know what’s gonna happen and I’m not sure anyone does. I think it’s all up in the air for now but I feel something more stable is around the corner.

Brighton Rockers - OUT NOW!

You very kindly donated your brilliant track ‘The Sun & The Sea’ to the recent Factory Foundation album Thirty One Songs, as well as released a new single ‘Brighton Rockers’, to help raise money for CALM.  What brought you to CALM and why did you choose you support the charity? 

I was amazed by the statistic of suicides among young men and then I thought about my own troubled twenties; how I was so depressed at that time that I went to some very dark places. I’m very lucky not to be part of that statistic. That gratitude helps me want to give something because life is so much better today.

So what’s next for you? Any further collaborations/soundtracks/Mercury nominated albums in the pipeline?

Well I hope all the projects I spoke about at the beginning come to fruition and so the next year will carry on with me being too busy to take calls for interviews!

You can find out more about Barry Adamson’s latest work and download information for ‘Brighton Rockers’ on his website www.barryadamson.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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