‘Black music synthesis’ | Interview with Adam Scrimshire

Experimental and soulful. Sugar for your ears. No Be Today is part of the compilation ‘Global Sounds’, out for release this summer by Boomerang Records.

Read our interview with Adam Scrimshire below.

Describe your sound in three words please!

Black music synthesis

No Be Today is part of the jazz-house compilation ‘Global Sounds’ which as the name suggests, brings together different artists and sounds from around the world. Would you like to tell us a few more words about this idea and your collaboration with Afronaut Zu? Also, apart from your own song, of course, is there another track(s) from the collection that you particularly like?

As we’ve been separated by a pandemic, the call to communicate and collaborate has become stronger in my opinion. The meaning and experience of creating together while distant has deepend in some ways. It makes this album very pertinent. Even a first time conversation, like mine on the phone with Afronaut Zu, has a weight to it – the desire to create when we’re restricted, the need to express, publicly, the ideas we have fewer spaces and times for. The compilation sounds amazing. I’ll always be drawn towards inspirational talents and influences like Mark de Clive-Lowe and Cleveland Watkiss – both are people I’ve been working with in recent years. Genuine legends.   

Building on the previous question, do you think that language can be a barrier in music (eg. in terms of promotion)?

I don’t think so, I’d say especially not in music. Musicians are born communicators and many times verbal communication is our least powerful skill. So communicating on different levels is a part of our DNA. Is language a barrier these days anyway? I think cultural ignorance or misunderstanding is a bigger barrier when we have translation at our fingertips. 

You have said that in No Be Today you wanted to capture the constant and growing anger at the political situation in the UK. We want to hear a bit more about this and also what you think is currently missing or needed from the (wider) political scene of the country.

Wow, okay, well I don’t have a solution, and the UK is not isolated in the wider problem, which is a rise of right wing and fascist politics globally. Every time I start to try to answer this question a whole essay starts formulating… There is one thing in particular I guess I would say is missing and that is accountability. A government that doesn’t outright lie and deny the utterly obvious about racism. If we can’t even face the obvious, deep and insidious presence of white supremacy here and worldwide, we’re never moving forward. The discussion about equality whether race, gender identity, sexual preference… it’s completely fucked and terms like woke, as with “political correctness” before it are once again weaponised against progress by a hugely right-wing-biased press and political class. I can go on, but I think that is crucial – we’re too busy arguing about whether problems exist to fight them. Climate change has been a subject for the 40 years I’ve been alive – only now are we accepting it’s real?! And even now, it’s decades before real action will have happened?   

Which of your own lyrics represent you the most and why?

I mostly stopped writing lyrics a few years back. While I’m not without opinions there are better writers and voices, with lived experiences far more powerful and important than my own. I don’t want to write about me right now.   

If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?

I think the breaking down of the majors to cut their stranglehold on technology and progress for everyone. The streaming business could already be so different if it wasn’t for major-label land and money grab from the very beginning. Their contracts that remain some weird standard, all needs to go in the bin. In the meantime, progress on user-centric royalties for streaming would be a great step. And can the majors stop clogging up the vinyl pressing plants with bullshit re-issues of landfill-nostalgia crap. Independents kept the vinyl presses moving when the majors left the market, now we can barely get a record made in under a year.  

If you could wake up and have a new skill, what would that be?

Getting older, turning 40, has actually had me going the opposite way – I have a better idea of what I’m genuinely good at and what I love doing most, so now I’ve begun letting go of skills I learned to focus on the ones I love the most and become as great as I can be at them. Having said that, my Spanish learning is going really slowly, so either that, or I really need to build a wall in my garden and the idea makes me a bit nervous, so waking up knowing it’s not a problem would save me some money and stress.  

What are your creative plans for the future?

I have just finished my sixth album. It’s coming out in the summer and my first single with Nat Birchall and Faye Houston drops on 25th June. Now that’s done I can move on, I have songs that didn’t fit this record, waiting to be finished. Just lots of writing and making more records. And more amazing collaborations. 

Thanks Adam!

Follow Adam Scrimshire

Afronaut Zu

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