India based DJ & Producer ADGRMS is crafting a wide range of music from Trap to Hip Hop records. He is also the first artist to be featured on Trap City with a Rap/Hip Hop track – a YouTube channel which is normally only known for EDM Trap uploads.
We had the chance to link up for a quick Q&A:
You’ve just released your new single “Darkside” with Rapper M.I.M.E and Saxon Davis. How did you guys link up?
I linked up with M.I.M.E (Kris) through Facebook like a year ago when I decided to get back to my Hip-Hop roots and shift my focus away from Electronic. We started talking and exchanging ideas and it was an instant connect because we both shared a similar mentality and perspective. Ever since the time, we’ve worked on like 5-6 projects together, first of which is ‘Darkside’ which was always close to us. Saxon is like M.I.M.E’s younger brother and just by watching the bond they share helps me to associate with them so much. Saxon is super talented! Apart from just making music together, I feel like we as a whole offer a great deal of regard and fellowship towards each other. This is unarguably a significant thing for us! Watch out for all the music we’re yet to put out!
How would you describe the perfect form of a musical collaboration?
In my opinion, the perfect form of a musical collaboration would be when all artists involved are equally invested, motivated and contributing towards the final result. I can’t lie, one of my most favourite persons to work with is Dexx! Turner. Very recently, we had the opportunity to work on a 10 track Hip-Hop album for one of the worlds biggest media companies – Viacom CBS; for their internal catalogue. Since it was a priority project for them, we only had 10 days for demo delivery which was super challenging to manage especially in view of the extraordinary contrast in our time zones. We flipped our schedules, slept very little and put our best foot forward together because we were equally motivated and excited to be a part of this project. Perfect collaborations work on trust. Trust that we would both do noticeable justice to our contributions. Some of our most favourite tracks from the album were composed, produced, written and recorded within 4 hours, despite the fact that I’m in India and he’s in the United States. To me a perfect musical collaboration is one that makes you feel like the king of the world, even before it’s out. It’s so important for everyone involved to match each other’s level of enthusiasm and craziness in all sorts of ways!
What advice would you wanna give to up & coming artists?
That is, to simply share a couple of things I’ve learnt throughout the years and mostly the hard way is that creativity can come from a lot of places, embrace it! Don’t follow rules or guidelines. There is no right or wrong in art! Trial & Error + going crazy af is the sauce for innovation, stop overthinking and do what you gotta do! Try not to fear disappointments, because when or if you ever hit rock bottom – the only way for real is just up! I try to get better, be my best everyday and help anyone I can in my capacity! I truly believe that the purpose for us, as artists is to help the world be a better place. If we can make even one person feel good with the medium of our craft, we’re doing fine! As Russ says, a simple 5000 plays or views could make you feel like you’re on top of the world or just a tiny drop in this massive ocean. Your perspective is your choice, keep winning!
Could you sum up some personal milestones in your artist development?
I think there are so many personal milestones in my journey as an artist. From being involved in all sorts of ways on every song with my name on it to even recording my own vocals on my tracks now. I love to express the creative side of me in any and all conceivable manners. Right from producing, engineering, packaging, distributing, marketing to even performing data analysis on every project I’m involved with, is what I consider to be one of my biggest milestones to date. My goal is to be Independent in its truest definition. Another interesting personal milestone for me would be that I never settle, I’m always inspired and always exploring. I love to incorporate and display my versatility in all my creative products, from using an iPhone recorded memo on the final master to using my voice as an electric guitar on a track, I like to go crazy in all sorts of ways. Artist development is directly proportional to creative exploration for me. I do crazy things, I make mistakes, I learn from them, help others and just try to be better than I was yesterday, everyday!
What makes a Dj-Set special to you?
A lot of factors are important to make a DJ set special to me. From the audience’s viewpoint, it is very important that the DJ builds on a vibe and takes the crowd on a journey. For me personally, I love DJ’s that understand what the crowd wants, but doesn’t offer it to them straightforwardly. Instead, they choose to play around and acquaint the crowd to music they may know or even probably wouldn’t know at all (But might like, of course) before they catch on the vibe the crowd really wants. This is something I always try to do in my own DJ sets. When I know it’s time that the crowd wants a song they all can sing to, I play a song some might know and some might not, this helps me build the vibe up in perfect pace, so when I tease them until I drop what they really want, I would have the interaction I anticipate from each and everybody in the crowd. A perfect DJ set should be a journey, it is an experience after all!
When you start a new track – what are the first steps?
I’m usually always clear about what I want to make and how it’s first draft must sound; in my head, even before I get to my workstation. So when I have an idea on the go, I just pop the voice notes on my phone and record the melody or the groove on it. When the actual translation of the idea to the DAW happens, I like to start with drums. Drums are a very essential component for me in my tracks and I pay a lot of attention to getting my drums to sound a certain way and have a unique bounce. As I build my drums, I also like to simultaneously think about how my top-line or melody must sound; in terms of composition, texture or even sonics. The rest is a very natural process of what comes next based on how I feel. There’s really no standard workflow I have, Sometimes the melody could come first or just whatever feels right!
What is the role of intuition when producing music?
Getting every track to follow the insignificant set of guidelines or rules is absolutely what I never do or advocate! Music is what feels right and there’s really no correct way to go about creating ’The ideal track’. Everyone’s got their own workflow and I truly believe they’re all right. Intuition is very important, to do what feels right is the most important. There have been multiple times when I’ve not released many of my best projects simply because I was blinded by the way they were expected to sound to be considered ‘Industry Standard’; that is truly something I regret now! “Quality is subjective, quantity is not”, says Russ and it’s something I believe in so much! Not just in music, your intuition is ALWAYS right – never doubt it!
How important are data insights for your (strategic) decisions?
Well I’m an active data analyst for my own brand so I’m always looking out for what’s working and what’s not for my reference. ForTunes has been a great platform for me to instantly have all my data curated in one place, It’s like a news feed for all my stats and extremely useful! Stats in all forms & shapes play a fair role in my decisions sometimes, but I trust my ears more than numbers on a screen. So what’s good music for me shall always remain good music irrespective of its statistical graphs. Either way, stats are a great way to logically keep a track of how your products are performing and it’s an essential practice that everyone should take up!
What’s next for ADGRMS?
In the near future, a 4-track remix EP for my track ‘Leroy’ w/ Dexx! will come out in December via TrapCity / BredNButter. I might drop my last single for 2020 in December as well, which is also my debut release with my own voice on it. For early 2021, Some of the tracks from the recent Viacom album will be made available on DSP’s + I plan to release my debut studio album in the second half + I also wanna do custom drum kits/ sound banks for the record producers community + lots of singles & collaborations + Lots of stuff I still have to tell ya’ll about.
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