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Adam Ten [Interview]

19 min read
Adam Ten is Israeli musician and a rare talented DJ. For the last 10 years, he has shaped his own unique sounds and became one of leading names in the underground scene of Tel-Aviv city. He’s prone to play all nighters, floating with the crowd and taking them on a smooth journey, fluently mixing a wide range of genres and making it sound like a one piece of art. Being versatile, always positive, and describing himself as a primarily curious DJ who will always ready to take the next step and push the boundaries of the crowed.

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

Hey guys! I’m currently resting  after a great weekend with gigs in Guadalajara , Mexico City and Los Angeles. I’ve been listening to old tracks from Four Tet which always manage to surprise me and sound fresh.

What are your plans for the coming week?

I’m playing in Tulum at Mia this weekend,  then off to Burning Man! It's my first year and I made the mistake of playing too much (7 gigs in 7 days), but I’m looking forward to meeting and connecting with new people as well as playing special tracks for special moments that I don’t get to play often. Also Day Zero Masada is back this year in Israel and I can’t wait to play there at this very special desert venue.

How has your summer season been so far? What have been some highlight gigs for you and why?

Summer is going great! I've been busy releasing my music that I actually did 1-2 years ago as well as finishing lot’s of new stuff. I've been playing in lot’s of new countries, making new friends and connecting with new crowds. My debut in Hi-Ibiza was very special as well as Dyinamic Outdoor in Barcelona and the amazing Pavoia festival in Poland.

Given that we’re coming out of a two-year pandemic, do you feel a greater sense of celebration or freedom on the dance floor this summer season, compared to say 2019?

Things were changing in both good and bad ways. For me it feels the same. A good party with people who are into music could feel like real magic, but nowadays a lot of the events feel more about filming and taking pictures rather than actually listening and enjoying the music.

Your bio is more focused on your unique skills and vision as a DJ rather than as a producer, so were you a DJ first? and which do you enjoy more?

I was in love DJing first, around 12 years ago, then I turned to producing music four years ago.
Do I have to choose? Both are great forms of art connecting and supporting each other.
The actual feeling of excitement is the same, it happens when you’re present and let things go, either enjoying the process of experimenting in the studio and creating new tracks or just selecting and mixing tracks on stage. When DJing, it’s important to enjoy and not feel like just a planned show, that’s why I don’t plan my DJ sets and just go with the flow and play whatever feels right.

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?

I mostly learned by myself (still learning) but also I've learned A LOT from friends and colleagues. It’s important to share your music (and passion) with others and not just be alone, at  least in the beginning when you need to learn a lot about mixing and technical stuff.

I’ve read that you enjoy hunting for past gems even more than you do unreleased or current music, how many past gems would say find a place in your regular sets and what are a few that you pull out frequently that get a great response?

That is connected to the art of Digging for music. I’ve put tons of hours in the past 10 years, finding music that are now part of my identity in a way, and I feel I can play some of them for many years because those tracks went off radar and didn’t turn into big hits that everyone is playing.
It’s hard to say how many tracks but you can hear the difference especially in long sets, when you have more time and zero pressure, that’s for me when the real magic happens. I don’t want to give names as it’s not relevant (plus there are too many), the important thing for me is to build a wide selection that will remain with you for years and then use those tracks in the right moments.

Let’s talk about nightlife in Israel. Now that you have played around the world, how would you compare it to other places you’ve played?

Every place is different as well as every party, that’s the beauty isn't it? What I like about Israel is that people really know the artist and the music and they have expectations to hear new stuff, which keeps me hunting for creating and finding new tracks. When I’m playing abroad, lot’s of the tracks that I feel I can’t play anymore in Israel feel fresh again, so that is always nice.

What are some of your favorite venues to play in Israel and why?

For clubs: The Block, Breakfast Club and Club 04
For outdoors events: Terra & Sunrize Kingdom

You’ve been in high demand as a remixer since you broke out with releases via Correspondant, Diynamic, MoBlack and more; how do you go about managing this and what do you look for when choosing a new remix project? 

I look for a main hook/melody that I like and just build everything around it. If the remix process does not come easy, sometimes better skip it and don’t force it.

Mita has been a frequent studio partner of yours of late, tell us how you met and why you guys have such a great creative synergy.

We met through music events in Tel-Aviv and became good friends. We are open to listen to each and not being too strict both in the studio and on stage when playing b2b so that usually works well.

Let’s talk about production for a moment, 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, politics etc play? And was there anything that inspired the tracks which make up your ‘High On’?

It is always about feeling, just going into the studio with a feeling and then something happens and the overall direction of the track feels right.

What does your set-up look like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of these tracks?

I prefer both, sometimes most of the tracks are done on my hardware synths and drum machine but sometimes I don’t even touch them and just play with samples and VST’s. on ‘High ON’ The main lead is a recording from ‘Nord Lead A1’ and the rest is just samples from splice.

Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?

Nothing special, just going when you have energy and feel good and confident rather than feeling tired or distracted.Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite, I think. What marks the end of the process for you? How do you know when a track is done? When I’m playing it on my computer and there are no notes to be taken, it’s done :)

And to add to that, how much road testing or friend feedback is collected to help make that decision? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

Road testing is mainly done by myself or Mita Gami, when you do it for a while it becomes like a second nature and usually takes 2-5 versions until it’s ready.

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

I enjoy the creation of the groove (because it’s pretty simple and quick). I would be happy if someone could write the melodies stuck in my head as it takes me too much time to play them the right way.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice (not including yourself), who would you book?

There is too many but the last sets I was inspired by were coming from: DJ Koze, John Talabot, Roman Flugel, Afriqua & Four Tet

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

My friends and family of course, being in nature, playing basketball.

What is one superpower you would like to have and how would you use it?
I would be happy to use teleportation for traveling :) Airport these days can be a nightmare.

Adam Ten & Mita Gami - High On EP is OUT NOW via Crosstown Rebels

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