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Adam Kaase [Interview]

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DJ and producer of Electronic Dance music Adam Kaase originally began his first steps as a music producer in the French capital. Three years were enough for him to earn the respect of labels and artists in the electronic music scene. Since then, Adam has not stopped growing and developing his own musical style. He participated in a contest organized by Axtone Records and got to sign with booking agencies such as: Expansive management and The Drunken Coconut. He Conquered the Mexican scene with his remix of “Ocean Drive” (Duke Dumont) and has released several EPs such as: “Africa”, “Brisa”, “Lyra / Andromeda” (Trippy Code) and “Stellar Vici” (Hush Recordz) , Orixa (Deeplomatic Record) , Brisa (G-mafia Records) with which he got the support of, Mia Mendi or Van Did, Moguai, Kryder, Taylor Dixon, Cristian Varela, Mirko Paoloni, Lorenzo al dino and many more. In addition, a few years ago he made the decision to move to Spain and join the SAE Barcelona music producer academy. It was there that he created the EP “Vangelis / Serenade”, which was released through the famous record label Catalan Fresco Records.

With a recent contribution to Yomo Records' 'Every Direction' collection we caught up with Adam for an introductory interview. Enjoy.

Hi Adam, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hello! First of all, thank you so much for having me. It is a great pleasure indeed! As for my current mood, I would say it is influenced by the genres of progressive house and melodic techno since they are the genres that I am professionally engaged in right now. The last piece of music I listened to is actually one of my ongoing projects, so it varies depending on the reference track I am using. At the moment, I have been listening to Skrillex's recent album for mixing purposes.

How has the start to the year been for you and what are your plans for the coming week?

The start of the year has been a true blessing, and a decisive step towards the goals I have set for myself. I signed 11 tracks before the beginning of 2023, and as they were released, I was fortunate enough to have them chart very well on Beatport. They also received support from many radio stations, magazines, and fans of my favorite artists such as Paul van Dyk and Joris Voorn, among many others. This is definitely a great moment in my career, but I know I have a long way to go to reach my ultimate goals. I am naturally very grateful for all the success, but I am also aware that the hard work needs to continue. As for my plans for the coming week, I have some thinking to do about upcoming releases , remixes and potential collaborations. I also plan to spend some time in the studio, working on new music and exploring new sounds.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your production work and otherwise, please.

I tend to be a very systematic person, and I plan out my day and week in order to be as efficient as possible. I usually wake up around 9 or 10 am, get some breakfast, and then dedicate about 4-5 hours specifically for mixing. This is probably the most important part of my day since it's when my ears are fresher and more sensitive. I usually mix for 1 hour per project, taking 15-minute breaks each hour. Around 2-3 pm, I like to get some physical activity in such as going for a run or hitting the gym. I also take care of any errands or daily life activities. Between 6-8 pm, I take care of emails, social media, and look for new ideas, music, sample packs, and feedback and data collection. From 9 pm to 1 am, I dive into the creative process of music production. I work on new tracks, experiment with new sounds, and try to push my boundaries creatively. This is a routine that I stick to every day, six days a week.

Tell us about growing up in France, how has it influenced your music taste and direction? Or has it at all?

Actually, I am of French nationality, but I grew up my entire life in Brazil, specifically in Rio de Janeiro until my 20s. There's no better place that I could have wished to grow up in. I learned so much about life itself, made lifelong friends, and consequently, by the diverse cultural mix in Brazil, became fluent in four languages. The richness of Brazilian musical culture, including bossa nova, samba, rap, and MPB, has filled my soul with real musical emotions that I try to adapt to my own work. As I got older, I fell into the progressive scene in Latin America and the techno scene in Europe, which ultimately formed my musical soul.

Which artists from your home country had the biggest impact on you when you first discovered your passion for electronic music?

To be completely honest, my serious journey in electronic music started when I arrived in Europe. It was artists such as Carl Cox, Armin van Buuren (2013/2015), and Paul van Dyk who had a significant impact on me. However, I would say that the rising artists that I worked with had the most influence on me. Collaboration is always a great tool to improve and learn many aspects of the creative process.

You relocated to Spain a few years ago, what prompted the move and how has it affected our creativity?

I initially came to Barcelona , to finish my masters degree in business administration. Once I graduated , I got many appealing job offers. I instinctively decided to pursue the hard path instead and focus 100 % on music , and have not looked back since then. "I met a lot of like-minded people here who shared many ideas on the creative process. It was a true struggle at first, but definitely a growth experience for me."

If you were a tour-guide for nightlife in Spain, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

As a tour guide for nightlife in Barcelona, some of the clubs I would take people to see include Input Club, Nitsa, Pacha, Razzmatazz, and M7 Club. As for local DJs, naturally I would highly recommend Adam Kaase, as well as many other talented up-and-coming artists in the city. The music scene in Barcelona is incredibly diverse and vibrant, so it really depends on the individual's personal taste. There are always new and exciting performers coming through, both from Spain and from around the world.

And to add to that, what have been your favourite venues to perform at in France and why?

I have not performed in France yet but that is one of my future goals for sure, as my favorite performance was definitely in Ibiza last summer at Hybrid by Endless!

If you are not DJing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

To be totally honest, most of my time is spent in the studio. However, when I have any gigs lined up, you can find me networking or at the gym. I also enjoy spending time in my office reading books.

When you were first getting started in production did you have someone help you or are you completely self-taught? And what would you recommend new producers do to help with the learning curve of production?

When i first started up until today i am completely self taught. The beautiful thing about music production is that there are so many variables into achieving a type of sound , naturally as i had no technical knowledge whatsoever , i knew from the start that i had to train my ears to the maximum of my capacity , in order first to hear and understand whats going on , after that it was a matter of achieving the sound that i was looking for , though many years of trial and error you end up with your own formula and most importantly , it is imperative to understand how to achieve such sound type. For new producers out there , start with what you have and make the most you can out of your current resources , be resilient and forget about the ego ! It will be costly , time dependent , you will not get rewards instantly , you will fail many more times than succeed. But if you are doing this with the true spirit of an artist. I can guarantee there will be many positive outcomes from it , and I talk from experience , I went through all of that. But in a technical approach , I would say the only way you can close the gap is by training your ears and their sensitivity to the best of your ability , reference the most tracks that you cant in different setups , paying attention the stereo placement , punch , layers and many other features that compose a great sounding track. Then should come the process of understanding how a compressor , eq , saturation , distortion , parallel processing , etc… I probably have more than 20 000 hours of referencing since the beginning of this journey.

Your first release was in 2019, how would you say your sound have evolved and changed since then?

It has tremendously evolved, but it was definitely not a steady growth. In the beginning, my sound evolved very fast at a good rate, but after a couple of years, I was trying to learn too much too fast, which ended up overwhelming me and blocking my progress for some time. However, after simplifying things and organizing myself better, I was able to overcome that hurdle and it seemed like I had evolved years in just a few months.

You recently contributed a track to Yomo’s ‘Every Direction’ collection, tell us about the track and if possible walk us through the production process on the track.

The track I contributed to Yomo's 'Every Direction' collection is called "Atlantic Avenue 804". I produced it three years ago as a tribute to the passing of the parent of a friend, whose address was 804 Atlantic Avenue. When I was producing the track, I went for a walk on the beach and set up my laptop and headphones in a little food shop nearby. The melodic structure of the track came to me very clearly and I put a lot of emotion into it. Recently, I decided to recover the audio files of the project and re-edit and clean it up. I then sent some demos over to Mike Koglin and MoodFreak Music, and we decided to release it together. I'm very happy that it ended up on Yomo Records, which is a truly competent and great label.

What does your set-up look like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools have you been favouring in your most recent work?

My setup is completely digital, in the box, and I don't favor physical gear over digital. From production, mixing, to mastering, everything is done using a keyboard and mouse. This was not necessarily a choice, but rather what I could afford at the time and got used to it for the years that passed. I have never used any physical gear in the production of my music so far. However, I am hoping to get some synths that I've always wanted and, most importantly, an analog mixing table in the future. This way, I can run most of my drums and bass or mono sonic elements of my track through it and achieve that rich, true analog sound , consequently bringing even more contrast.

Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships etc play in your production process?

In my particular case, it just comes naturally. I don't really think about it much, but whenever I start working, ideas just come naturally and when they dont come I just keep trying until they do . However, I would definitely affirm that it is a consequence of my daily routine. After all, I have established a lifestyle in which everything revolves around music. I believe that a true artist is naturally capable of incorporating their life experiences and compacting them into an art form. Therefore, setting up a daily routine that enhances this is really important in my opinion.

Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practice? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

I usually work on 7 to 8 projects at a time. I prefer to engage in heavy work and take weeks to fully focus on them instead of creating singles or EPs because that puts me in a mindset of really learning every single track and immersing myself only into the productions of those projects. Once I reach approximately 80% of the production, I export stems of everything and rent out a professional studio that has an excellent sound system. Then I finish up the final touches there. I have trained my ear so much that I instinctively know when everything sounds the way I want it to in terms of mono vs stereo contrast, punch, separation, and appropriate sonic balance. After that, I take a week off from all the projects, share them with my producer partners, and send them to the appropriate labels.

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

The task I enjoy the most is the mixing process, as I am able to personally express every single production element as my own signature. I believe mixing is the most personal and precise way to make an audience understand your sound and how you want to be perceived. Personally, I like to take care of every single aspect of music production. I believe that there is no better person than myself to fully express my art. Delivering some of the processes to other people is a necessary step only for Mastering. In my opinion , delivering other tasks might be a short-term solution, but I believe it is harmful to truly enhance any artist's true potential. It is, however, necessary to go through the years of struggle to achieve not only a professional-sounding track but also to reach a signature sound which most people don't see fit as a time-cost investment. The only process I usually don't engage in is mastering my own tracks. I believe it is imperative to let a mastering engineer with fresh ears master and set the track to industry standards.

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

I have a specific purchase in mind that I would make if I were very wealthy. I would invest in a few items for my studio, including a pair of high-quality Genelec monitors, a Universal Audio Apollo Twin sound card for its exceptional quality and the top-of-the-line plugins that come with it, and an analog mixing console. The SSL console is a dream, but it comes with a hefty price tag of $30,000, so renting a studio with one would likely be the smarter choice.

Now let’s talk about DJing for a moment, it’s a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation to an extent. How would you describe your approach to it?

Surprisingly, I believe that both disciplines are extremely connected. I usually take the same approach to mixing that I have and apply it directly to DJing. What I mean by this is that I first respect the structure of a song, the key, and the harmony between tracks. As long as I respect these aspects, the track flows naturally, leaving space and time for me to be creative with techniques such as looping, sampling, effects, and mashups. However, I believe that simplicity is always more pleasing than trying to be very complex. For an audience, the most important thing is that the music doesn't stop and makes sense between transitions.

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and also, your work as a producer?

As a DJ, when performing, you gain an understanding of a very important feature that all producers need to grasp: overall sound performance. You understand how big, punchy, and clean a track needs to be in order to please the audience. When producing, this step is usually not taken care of appropriately, simply because the producer is not in that setting to see how the public reacts and enjoys a certain type of music. This truly shows the complex beauty of this profession. We need to take care of all aspects in order to be as complete as possible.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

That is a difficult question as there are so many great artists to choose from. However, I would probably book emerging artists or new talents that I work with on a weekly basis and trust their sound. I have worked with many talented producers and DJs who may not be well-known in the scene, but have excellent sound design and performance skills.

Current top five tracks?

I would assume it would be my current top 5 performing tracks , in that case it would be.

- Adam Kaase - Breeze ( gate recordings)
- Adam Kaase - Atlantic Avenue 804 (yomo records)
- Adam Kaase - Spinning Around ( another life music)
- Adam Kaase - Sutra ( another life music)
- Adam Kaase - imperial ( another life music)

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

There are several books that I would recommend to any music producer, whether they are a beginner or advanced. These books have helped me to understand the music production process better:

● Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio
● The Mixing Engineer's Handbook (3rd edition)
● Macro-Mixing for the Small Recording Studio by David Moulton
In terms of documentaries, I have enjoyed watching:
● Michael Jackson Dangerous 30
● Hans Zimmer Revealed: The Documentary

Both documentaries provide insight into the creative process and the life of successful musicians.

What is one superpower you would like to have and how would you use it?

A superpower is not something I am really interested in, as it is not part of the reality I live in. I am much more interested in finding effective solutions to my problems and achieving a constant evolution of my craft, whether that be mentally, physically, or creatively. However, if I had to choose, it would probably be the ability to compose music masterfully or have a “perfect ear”.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

To be honest, having good health and longevity make me happiest. Without good health, I wouldn't be able to pursue the dream that I set up for myself five years ago.
Enjoying time with friends in my home city Rio de Janeiro , get some time at the beach , soccer fields, bar at nights , the simpler the better for me !

What does the remainder of 2023 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

The remainder of 2023 is a decisive year for me. The beginning of the year has allowed me to establish my name, but now it's time to improve and become more complete as an artist, and secure my spot in the industry. My ultimate goal is to be among the best and top artists in the industry, which is definitely not an easy task. However, I am committed to working hard and not cutting any corners to achieve that spot. I have several more releases scheduled for April, May, and June, and I've already started working on a new batch of 10 productions that I hope to release with great labels that I have associated with. My goal is to secure better gigs and a financial return that allows me to cover the fixed marketing and publicity costs and improve my life conditions constantly, so that I can create even better music.

Thank you for this opportunity, and I wish you all the best!

'Atlantic Avenue 804' is available now via Yomo Records: https://bit.ly/432S1XR

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