FluxBPM interviews Ad Brown about 'Something for the Pain'
A leading light on the British dance music scene, Ad Brown has rightfully garnered the attention and support from some of the industry’s biggest names. Flawlessly rolling out his signature, high-calibre productions with ease and aplomb, it’s no surprise that his praises are sung unanimously by industry heavyweights like Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Above & Beyond and Gareth Emery.
Described by DJ mag as the “go-to man” for the kind of progressive enriched trance that you’d find if you crossed the melodies of Above & Beyond with the backing tracks of Digweed, well – it’s easy to see why Ad has been hand-picked to support some of the biggest names in the dance music, including Calvin Harris and Paul Oakenfold. Not content with smashing the dance floors at key UK venues like Ministry of Sound, Brown has toured his unique sound across India, Indonesia, Russia and mainland Europe, whilst still finding time to headline festivals like Burnout and fill a 2 week residency at Shanghai’s infamous M1NT Club.
Ad’s influence and style stretches far beyond the productions he’s masterminded and the remixes for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Usher and Tinchy Stryder that his fingerprints can be found all over, a truly international force on the music scene with releases on Armada, Slinky, Hope, Garuda and of course, Black Hole.
His flawless debut artist album, “Something For The Pain”, (30 months in the making and condensed from over 100 demos) surpassed all expectation by delivering an ensemble of killer tracks and ethereal collaborations with the likes of Hannah Ray, Kerry Leva and Antonia Lucas.
More than just a DJ or a producer, Ad Brown is an artist truly in the moment, whose work promises to make you take a step back and wonder how one man can make you re- think the entire genre.
After the Best of 2013 Interview we did I requested him via twitter to continue with a 2nd interview about his album and I’m glad he accepted the challenge and we are able to present you his interview solely focused on ”Something For The Pain.”
Interview was written and conducted by Dimitri Kechagias, Music Journalist, Radio & DJ
Dimitri: First of all Ad would be great to tell us who had the idea to proceed with an album and if you feel that an artist becomes more complete artistically when he releases an album.
Ad Brown: I got the idea to write an artist album while travelling Asia and South Pacific so it was a very interesting journey for me.
The process started when I was in Bali and I began to record some audio samples from noises and sounds I was hearing around me – some of them actually made into the album which is great. In particular the track “Sorry” features some thunder and rain from a botanical garden in Bali!
Dimitri: How long it took you to produce this album and was a full time occupation or you rather record it a track whenever you had an inspiration for it?
Ad Brown: It took almost 30 months and was condensed down from around 100 demos. It was a gradual process because as you know from seeing the tracks on the album there are a number of collaborations with artists all over the world. Often we would send projects backwards and forwards, get some ideas on some inspiration going and then develop on a track which takes time.
Dimitri: Please give us a short comment backstage story about each track from the album incl comment about your collaborations:
01. Ready And Waiting (with Hannah Ray) (2:54)
Ad Brown: As soon as I got the vocals back from Hannah I knew this had to be the lead single. The vocals are fantastic and I think this will be one of the defining tracks from the album. Hannah is also an incredible vocalist to watch live.
02. More (with Tess) (4:06)
Ad Brown: This collaboration actually started with a raw vocal and I built a track around it. With its haunting vocals and piano notes, this is one of my personal favorites, so I was really pleased when it made it on to Ferry Corsten’s new compilation.”More” will also see a full single release with mixes for LTN, Joshi and another great artist which I can’t mention at the moment :)
03. Thrive (with Stan Kolev) (4:57)
Ad Brown: Stan is a great guy. He’s so cool! “Thrive” is groovy and I think the record is really set off by an Indian vocal hook which offers something original. This is definitely the most progressive track on the album and another one which made it onto Ferry’s awesome compilation.
04. Run To You (featuring Antonia Lucas) (4:04)
Ad Brown: Arny from Black Hole set this collaboration up and I am very pleased he did! Similar to “More” this one started with a raw vocal and chord progression which I developed into a full length track. The raw vocal was great so I had something really solid to start with. Zack Roth played “Run To You” at Pacha NY recently and he said the crowd reaction was great.
05. Tears (3:28)
Ad Brown: “Tears” is all about the marimba style lead, which is probably one of my favorite sounds. I coupled this with some groovy percussion and a fast moving arpeggiator to great effect. (I think!)
06. Sorry (1:54)
Ad Brown: Another one of my absolute favorite instruments is the piano and it’s not often you get to showcase a track which is almost entirely focused on one instrument. “Sorry” features sounds recorded in Bali so it brings back some very fond memories every time I listen to it!
07. Pulse (with Shawn Mitiska) (4:45)
Ad Brown: I think “Pulse” provides the real energy high point on the album. Shawn and I produced this entirely by collaborating over the internet. It took a long time to complete as we are both so busy but it was worth the wait! “Pulse2 has some really awesome remixes by Ali Wilson, Fon Leman and Jaap Lightheart which are due to be released imminently so make sure you check them out!
08. Something For The Pain (featuring Renee Six) (4:04)
Ad Brown: This is probably one of my most well know releases so it was great to be able to refresh it and big it up to date with an album twist. A four minute slice of vocal goodness!
09. Up All Night (with Steve Kaetzel and Kerry Leva) (4:10)
Ad Brown: Steve and Kerry are both so talented so this collaboration was a dream. We had a lot of fun putting it together with regular Skype calls and time spent bouncing ideas backwards and forwards. The result is a really nice accessible record with great chords and Kerry’s awesome vocals.
10. All I Need (2:35)
Ad Brown: This track is a funky little number with a groovy bass lead combo. I have played this one out a few times and it really picks the dance floor up. I think it has a nice energy which conveys well with the crowd. It also works well in the context of the album so that’s why it made the grade.
11. Been A While (3:19)
Ad Brown: I wrote a track earlier in the year called “Good Feeling” which went down really well. So I carried the theme through on this one. The track builds on an almost soulful, house vocal and gives it a modern progressive twist.
12. Like The Sunrise (with Steve Kaetzel featuring Arielle Maren) (2:35)
Ad Brown: I am really excited about the single release for this one. We have some awesome remixes from Zoo Brazil, Pedro Del Mar and Terry Da Libre. Every mix is different so there should be something for everyone. In terms of the original, Arielle nailed the vocals and Steve did a great job mixing it down, he even did some backing vocals!
13. Lie Awake (with Hannah Ray) (3:49)
Ad Brown: I know this track has a lot of sentimental value to Hannah and you can really hear the feeling in her vocals. She did a fantastic job in taking this track to the next level. There is a nice energy to “Lie Awake” and it also translates well onto dance floors.
14. Tonight (with Mango and Kerry Leva) (5:52)
Ad Brown: Originally released on Black Hole a few years ago, I decided to update it for the album as I felt the vocal still had a lot of potential. Very much inspired by “College – Real Hero” I think this was a perfect way to round-off the album and make people hit the repeat button.
Dimitri: Which track was produced very fast and easy and which one was the most difficult to complete it?
Ad Brown: Been a While came together with relative ease as I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the track and I had a clear picture in my mind. Once I started I didn’t stop until it was completed! “Pulse” took a long time to complete but that was purely because Shawn and I are just so buys touring and working on various projects.
Dimitri: Ferry Corsten in his latest Once upon a night compilation included 2 tracks from the album. Are you happy with the dj support you get so far for your album and how important is for you to have the respect and support from other fellow superstar djs?
Ad Brown: Not that Ferry is in any way old (sorry mate!) but I grew up listening to his productions and live mixes from places like Dance Valley. I am so proud to be included on his compilation. He is an incredible producer and I rate him very highly, as does the whole industry I am sure.
Dimitri: Are there any tracks that have been recorded for the album but you didn’t manage to include them in the final album?
Ad Brown: Yes about 80 – in time I may re-use some elements but at the moment my entire focus in on promoting the album and getting people to hear each and every track from it.
Dimitri: Many artists claim that when an album finishes there is a 2nd one waiting in the pipeline already? Are you up then for a 2nd album? Did you enjoy it so much that you would to do it again?
Ad Brown: I would definitely take what I have learnt and release a second album but I honestly can’t think about that right now. My focus is on supporting and promoting my current productions and lining up some big remixes in 2014. So if you are reading this and want a remix, then get in touch haha :)
Check out the interview on Flux BPM ONline for additional clips.