New York bedroom pop artist Ade has a sound that catches the chaos and excitement of life in bars and verse. With elements of dance, pop and rock in his music it’s fair to say Ade has eclectic taste, so ahead of his upcoming album ‘Midnight Pizza’ we asked him to give us some of the albums that shaped him and his sound.
Dr. John – Gris Gris
I guess one of my parents was playing “Jump Sturdy” in the house when I was 3 or 4 years old and I became totally obsessed. In fact, the cassette sample I used at the beginning of “Happy Birthday” is actually my parents trying to secretly record me singing Jump Study at around that age. Anyway, I realised that in order to listen to that song approximately 700 times in a row I had to learn the machine that made the music play, so I did, and then began listening to the whole record. It sounded like The Muppets or Scooby Doo to me – kind of haunted but funny like some strange group of friends or creatures playing around with whatever instruments were lying around and making up songs. Naturally, at 3 or 4 years old, I didn’t understand what the hell he was talking about, but the music and his vocal performance was extremely visual and spirited to me so I really connected with it.
Backstreet Boys – Backstreet Boys
The Backstreet Boys were the first group I “discovered” on my own. I caught “As Long As You Love Me” on the radio in the car with my dad when I was 5 and screamed “WHO IS THIS?” To a 5-year-old Ade, it was quite simply the most perfect application of melody/harmony that could ever exist. Plus the drums were just absolutely bangin’ – I particularly remember being enthralled by the open hi hat sound and thought the snare drum sounded like a punch sound effect. Easily one of the most visceral reactions to music I’ve ever had. I’ll never forget that radio moment, and I love that album/type of bygone pop songwriting to this day.
Dr. Dre – 2001 (Instrumentals)
A few years after the BSB moment, “Forgot About Dre” was in heavy circulation on Z100 (the top 40 station in NYC) and, like everyone, I was kind of hypnotised by Eminem’s lyrical/vocal proficiency. I asked my parents for the clean version of 2001 for Christmas, but I was 7, and I guess even that was pushing it for them so what I ended up with was the instrumentals, which was maybe one of the most important things they ever did for me as a producer. I listened to it all the time on my carrot-orange walkman, and it functioned as a tremendously important curriculum for production and arrangement taught by one of the most important producers in Hip Hop history, Dr. Dre. Even on their own, the instrumentals of 2001 are so vividly narrative that I had made up all my own hooks and ideas for what the songs were about, and when I was old enough and finally heard all the lyrics, I literally cried.
Gorillaz – Gorillaz
I think I was 8 or 9 when I heard this record in the car with my older brother. At that age in particular, I thought the idea of cool cartoon music by a cool cartoon band was genius. I was super into “Hello Nasty” (Beastie Boys) at the time and have always loved that kind of drum break/turntablist/sample collage hip hop production but I hadn’t heard anyone write melodic songs or sing over it before so this record was revelatory for me. There were so many sounds I couldn’t identify, even down to Damon’s vocal performances – I loved that he switched between all kinds of characters and I hadn’t really heard someone not just “be themself” before. It feels strangely overlooked in their discography but to me its their best.
Bjork – Post
My mom is a huge Bjork fan, and around the same age that I heard Gorillaz or a year later or something she gave me a CD of Post and I was wonderfully confused by it. I didn’t understand where it came from or how she’d heard of it, let alone what you’d even call this type of music but I had never heard anything so diverse and layered before – it was wildly inspiring. And what a voice!! It just felt like this music didn’t follow any rules – a kind of aggressive big beat tune, an orchestral ballad/four on the floor club track, jazz drum chops, and a live big band tune all in the first four tracks?? Come on!! Post/Bjork taught me that it was possible to express every influence I had and use any sound or instrument I wanted to in order to do it.