Godfathers of Pop – Adamski interview
From the mega club anthem that was Killer, to the fall of the Berlin Wall being soundtracked by his Nina Hagen collaboration, Adamski is an acid-house pioneer. From classic cuts to waltz-time remixes, the artist born Adam Tinley, has been at the forefront of the UK dance movement since the late-80s. We caught up with Adamski to talk about all of these topics and more.
We last spoke when Killer appeared on the This Is England ’90 soundtrack. How close do you feel to that track now – like a child that’s flown the nest and gone off to have its own life, or do you still feel protective of it?
For probably about 15 or 20 years I was really over it. I wouldn’t play it when I DJ’d or if I did live shows. Well, I did part of it, but I wouldn’t have been able to get hold of Seal.
He wouldn’t have wanted to come and play in some electroclash club when he was doing Hollywood and everything like that. But, yes, I was pretty over it.
Now I’ve recently reinvented it as a waltz-timed track and a couple of the other old tracks, too. I’ve worked them into three-four time, so it’s got me interested in it again and, yes, I’ve had fun reworking it.
It used to really annoy me that people defined me by that track alone because I was making music for a long time before that. My first album was entirely instrumental, I was playing instrumental, techno-ish stuff in clubs and raves.
Seal was just someone I met hanging around on that club scene and it all just came together, because it was meant to, but the track was just a one-off thing.
When I travel outside the UK, I meet people around the world and they’ll say: ‘oh, I love that track you did with Nina Hagen’ or choose something more obscure. Or mention one of my old instrumentals. That’s much more flattering to me.
Yes, that Nina Hagen collaboration, 1992’s Get Your Body!, is long overdue for a reissue or remix…
Yes, because that one was kind of ubiquitous, too, in some ways. I was very flattered when I moved to Berlin 10 years ago and ex-East Berliners told me that song was like a soundtrack to when the Berlin Wall came down and everything. They totally related to that song – it is the sound of freedom.
One of my favourite deep catalogue tracks is When We Were Young, the one-off single as L.A.Z.Y., especially the Starfish Mix.
L.A.Z.Y. was me and Loretta Heywood. I wrote more songs around that time which were never released. I can’t really remember what happened… we signed, then we made another single which Trevor Horn was working on, but it just ended up no that one was happy with how it turned out so I went on to sign a solo deal.
I think we had about eight songs or something, I can’t remember how or why it fizzled out.
I didn’t see Loretta for years but I do see her now and then. She’s often in Ramsgate, as well, where I am now. Everyone is! Tony Thorpe, too. He did a remix of L.A.Z.Y. (as North West) and I played with him a while back at a club date.
Another great mix of that track was by The Jet Slags. Was that you under another name?
Yes, me and Mr Monday, who was one of the other keyboard whizzes of the rave scene – although we didn’t like being called that, all those connotations of Rick Wakeman in a cape! I think of Rick Wakeman as a funny and nice man, but at the time, that was all prehistoric.
Back to the present day and everything you’re currently working on is in waltz time. Was there a moment when you realised that you’d hit upon this really great idea, conceptually and musically?
I’ve had a few moments like that. But, yes, basically I’ve just taken my whole life as a musician and producer, all my favourite bits, and given myself the dogma that it all has to be in waltz time.
I like setting myself a bit of a challenge. Except now I couldn’t make a track in four-four, because I just find it too boring!