John Adams is a singer/songwriter from Aberdare, South Wales.
As he’s getting ready to release his new EP, the singer/songwriter revealed the first single “Flames” on January 18th. Written by Adams himself and produced by Lee House, the new single is about a failing relationship.
“The week it was written there was a serious house fire just outside the studio window and all the usual questions flooded my mind as I strummed my guitar. How did they feel? What did they grab? Who was to blame? As dramatic as it seems, I felt exactly the same about a relationship at the time and after writing the song decided to take the same approach to the situation and leave. I centred the song around the lyric “It’s too late to argue who’s to blame, this house will burn down anyway” and pulled on a few semantics to compare the feelings of a house fire to the trapping of a relationship,” explains Adams.
The new EP entitled “No White Lies” will be available on February 8th.
Introduce yourself - where are you from?
I'm from a small valley called Aberdare in South Wales. Actually it's the same village as The Stereophonics so that gives me hope :)
What's your story?
When I was growing up, the advice was "Study hard and you'll get a good job" so that's pretty much what I did and I think I probably neglected my urge to be creative because of this. I buried my head in books right through school, on to university and became a maths teacher. It wasn't until I really got deeper into the 9-5 commitments of adulthood that I couldn't ignore my desire to pursue a career in music. I took a bit of a foolish leap and decided to quit even though I had no musical plans in the pipeline. My only opportunity to perform and earn money to pay the bills was busking so I bought an amp and hit the streets. Slowly I replaced the busking with paid gigs, built a fan base and began to release music which led me to where I am today.
Could you tell us a little bit about your childhood? Any favorite childhood memory?
I consider myself lucky that I was raised in an era with enough technology for life to be a little easier but we still used our imagination to create fun out of nothing. My dad was an animal fanatic and our house was like a zoo. We had dogs, ferrets, falcons, pigeons, chickens, ducks and even two owls that sat on top of the kitchen door. I remember once he put a rat in a box with 50p and whoever got it out could keep it. I was far too scared so my sister won the money.
Do you remember your first musical memories?
My first musical memory was Sunday school in the local church. I loved to sing and it wasn't long before I had the main parts in the nativity plays.
What did you grow up listening to?
I feel like I grew up listening to everybody else’s favourite music. Whitney from my mother, Queen from my dad and the Spice Girls from my two sisters. I didn't really make my own choices but I do remember always liking the one slow ballad that was on every album.
When did you know you could sing?
When I was about 12. I was a little annoying and I would spend hours practicing silly noises and mimicking animals or ring tones. I think it was around that period where I was actually learning to sing. I recently read through my old school reports and there was definitely a "noisy" theme.
What or who got you into the musical path?
Pretty much all my family and friends would comment on my ability and encourage me to sing more but my wife has had a big part to play in my career. She likes to sing too so early in our relationship we would spend hours on youtube singing along to backing tracks and to overcome my nerves we would sing on karaokes together. AWWW!
You've spent a lot of time busking. What did this experience teach you as a human being?
Yes, I love busking! It's definitely exposed me to a huge amount of human kindness and I'm so grateful to anyone that's ever stopped, bought a CD or offered me a compliment. As a musician it's given me invaluable experience in engaging an audience. If you can stop someone that's busy and getting on with their day then you should be able to entertain someone who is actually paying to see a concert.
You released your first album in 2013. How did your sound and artistry evolve over the years?
I think my first album had about 4 different genres of music. I was just finding my feet, working out which instruments I liked and what inspired me to write. As time went on I fell in love with the sounds of acoustic guitars, piano, cello and beautiful harmonies and started writing the type of lyric and melody that I hoped would compliment this style of music and could engage a listener on a deeper emotional level. I definitely wasn't writing to make people dance. lol. On my more recent releases I've tried to combine all these elements with minimal electronics to make the tracks a little more beat driven and maybe a little more this era.
You've just released your new single "Flames". What's the story behind it?
“Flames" compares a house on fire to a bad relationship. Imagine two people standing in a room engulfed by flames and instead of trying to escape they are just arguing who started the fire in the first place. It's a bit of a silly picture but I think that's sometimes what we do in a relationship that's failing.
Could you describe us the songwriting process for this particular song?
Sometimes a song takes a few months to write with attention to each lyric and chord progression but “Flames” was written in a morning. The music, lyric and melody just fell out of me simultaneously as if I was simply feeling out loud. I wish they were all that easy. I think it was just fortunate timing! The week it was written there was a serious house fire just outside the studio window and all the usual questions flooded my mind as I strummed my guitar. How did they feel? What did they grab? Who was to blame? I eventually came to the conclusion that they’d be so concerned with survival that these questions were never answered. As dramatic as it seems I felt exactly the same about a relationship at the time and after writing the song decided to take the same approach to the situation and leave. I centred the song around the lyric “It’s too late to argue who’s to blame, this house will burn down anyway” and pulled on a few semantics to compare the feelings of a house fire to the trapping of a relationship.
What made you want to release "Flames" as a single?
Out of all the tracks on the EP it's just a little more commercial. It's simple, easy to grasp and I thought it would make a good first impression.
Who came up with the video concept? What's the inspiration behind it?
I came up with the idea myself and had a little help executing it from the director Rhys Davies. I wanted to mirror the idea of being trapped in a relationship of your own free will and thought the wool would demonstrate this in a visual manor. In the beginning the couple are so proud to be exchanging thread and making connections but that soon becomes the reason for their frustration.
What can you tell us about your upcoming EP "No White Lies"? What are the different topics you are talking about on this project?
As the title suggests it’s quite an honest collection of songs. The people around me are my biggest source of happiness and unfortunately most of my frustrations and that's pretty much what I write about.
What appeals you the most about making music?
The biggest incentive for me to write is the therapy it offers. Just like when you watch a good movie it doesn't matter how stressed or upset you may be, for those two hours its all forgotten and sometimes you can even make sense of a problem afterwards. Then the huge reward of releasing music comes when you hear that a song you wrote has helped someone else in a time of need just like my favourite songs have been there for me.
What biggest lessons have you learned as an artist so far?
Do it yourself! You have a much better chance of getting a label, management, funding etc if you've taken steps and done some of the work. You may eventually find yourself successful enough without all the help you were hoping for.
What are your goals for 2019?
I'm just heading out and tour and I’m hoping to get this EP to as many people as I can reach. Thank you for helping me with this :) I also want to write better and better songs.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
I think our work-life balance should be a little more even. Working six days a week and having one day to wash your clothes and catch up with groceries before it all starts over again is the reality for most. There's no wonder people don't have time to build strong friendships, do good deeds and share some of their hard earned wealth. I guess to do this the wealth would need to be shared around more equally so that's never going to happen. If that can't be achieved then maybe just pancakes for breakfast :)
What's your purpose?
I guess I'm a distraction from life. Get lost in a song and forget about your "to-do" list for 3 minutes. I'm like a musical Kit Kat.
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