Tom Adams is one of a growing number of neo-classical inspired artists crossing over into pop territory. First Nils Frahm bought us the heart-wrenching ‘Says’, then Max Richter made headlines with his eight-hour performance of ‘Sleep,’ in which he laid out beds for the audience, encouraging them to sleep through the performance. Now Tom Adams is set to gift the world with his electronic, ambient inspired tracks once more on new EP ‘Voyages By Night.’ We got the Berlin-based composer, producer and songwriter to let us in on some of the secrets of his inspiration ahead of the EP’s release. The results are just as varied as you might expect from man who’s supported both Perfume Genius on tour and spends his free time composing film scores.
Tom: Every New Year I travel to the West coast of Scotland with my family and a big group of family friends to spend a week hiking. We have done this for as long as I can remember and as each year comes and goes it’s becoming increasingly important to me to get there. It’s such a great mental reset for the year ahead. Just being out in the mountains with good friends and people you love is so good for the soul – I get very inspired by being in that kind of situation. The West coast is such a beautiful place, I always take my camera and always get a bunch of shots that often end being used as cover art on SoundCloud and that kind of thing. I am a visual person so combining photography with music in this format seems to make a lot of sense to me as a form of expression.
This is a really incredible book series that re-releases classic Sci-Fi books from the 1950’s onwards. I have discovered so many amazing authors and novels by randomly buying books that are part of the series. Many of the novels seem to focus on dystopian futures; ideas of society and broader questions about the universe and our place in it. I really love these alternative perspectives, they are very inspiring.
I always played with LEGO as a kid, and I always loved Star Wars. When LEGO licensed the Star Wars name and started putting out sets in 1999, it was pretty much everything the 10-year old me could have ever wanted. It also saved the company which is something I’m very glad about because now, age 27, I still love buying and making LEGO Star Wars, or any LEGO actually. Making LEGO is such a creative and enjoyable thing to do, I always keep some close to hand when working in the studio.
Blade Runner is for me an almost ideal combination; one of my favourite directors, making a film based on a book by one of my favourite authors, that features one of my favourite actors and has an OST by one of my favourite film composers. I first saw Blade Runner as a teenager when we studied the film at school. As a result I ended up watching it a good 20-30 times. Amazingly, rather than destroying a great film, this process gave me a really deep appreciation and love for the film. I have an original copy of the film on VHS with Rick Deckard’s voice-over, which is brilliant in its own way, but I think the most recent cut is probably the best.
One of my favourite skateboarders out there at the moment, he has the biggest pop in the game and does everything with such effortless style. His video parts are always a joy to watch, the man can create art on a skateboard! His 2013 Thrasher cover is possibly one of my favourite skate photos of all time. I go skating everyday it’s dry, its a great break from being in the studio! I love how being a skater means you start to see the architecture around you completely differently. Something that has no obvious value architecturally to most people can be a great skate spot that skaters travel from all over to come and use.
This video blew my mind when I first saw it. Post Rock was to me what Punk was to teenagers in the 70s, and Sigur Ros were definitely riding on the crest of my Post Rock wave. One of the best things about the genre is the (long anticipated) epic moments, and what could be more epic than flying off an Icelandic sea cliff accompanied by a crescendo of electric guitars? I have a painting of this on the wall of my studio.