Adam Port: 'I am a bedroom studio producer'

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Adam Port is a big figure in our music industry and has been spinning records since he first fell in love with vinyl, with their format, size and colours. First as an Hip Hop Dj, then as the great producer we all know, Adam charted releases for cornerstones of the house and techno music such as Kompakt and Cocoon Recordings, but it is with his 'crew', Keinemusik, that he feels at home. Yes, because Adam Port is the good guy: vegetarian and straight edge, he finds all the energy he needs from the crowd, the people and his long lasting and ever evolving passion for music.

We managed to catch him in between his various overseas tours, and ask him a bit about his 'beginnings', influences, lifestyle, summer projects and impressions of the music scene. We found a friendly, nice and humble guy, who knows what he wants and what he does; a self-confidence that reverberates in his unique style, the same with which he's crafted a special mix all for us to share with our readers. Adam is another evidence that who is good in what he does, does not need to show off.

 

Hello Adam! So nice of you finding time to sit down and have a chat with MEOKO!

Are you really busy at the moment?

Hi! First of all thank you guys for the possibility of this interview. Yes the summer time is always busy for Dj’s and right now I’m sitting in a plane back to Berlin from Izmir in Turkey, where I played in a festival with my friends, Catz n Dogz and Adana Twins.

You've also recently been on an overseas tour with fellow Dj, and friend I believe, Rampa. You travelled from Vancouver to the deep south of America, in just ten days. When you go on such trips what is it like? I mean, you play almost every night in a different club, in a different city. Is there room left for you guys to enjoy some 'holiday time' in those cities or does travelling and playing take away too much time and leave you without the chance to actually visit any place?

It actually took me a while to answer your questions and finishing the podcast (sorry for that!), so the overseas tour with Rampa is already some weeks ago, and I have also been with &ME and Rampa to Ecuador and Canada.

On these overseas tours I was still working on a “playing all day schedule”. Usually I play on weekends and during the week I have some days off, so there is totally some time to see the country and catch some impressions. On the South American tour I spent some great days in El Salvador. It was such a nice experience and I met a lot of great people. Thank again to Rainforest Music for the great treatment there and for the wonderful rooftop party! It is a blessing to have the possibility to get all this experiences in all the foreign countries.

What is the thing that strikes you the most when you are playing in abroad? Crowd, clubs or music culture in general?

I think it is the fact that the music is really bringing us all together. It’s so impressive when you in play a totally different country, for people with a different cultural background, and still you are getting the same positive vibe back from the crowd. I know it sounds cheesy but the music is really bringing us together.

You started off playing at quite a young age right... Where did your passion for techno/house music come from, or better, how did this encounter happen?

I was a Straight Edge Hardcore/Punk kid back in the days and I went to all the shows to see bands like Snapcase, Warzone, Earth Crisis, Split Lip or Texas Is The Reason. After I became a little bit bored of the development of the Hardcore scene, I was looking for some other musical impressions. So I started to hear more Rap music and less HC. I've always liked the big covers of vinyl and I had the feeling that buying them I was getting more for my money, compared to a cd. So all new Rap music that I bought was on vinyl. At some point I had a lot of 12” and I rented a second turntable, from a friend who was a hobby Gabba Dj, to try to mix  two records into each other. I remember it was a pain in the ass at the beginning. I had never planned to become a Dj, it happened naturally from my interest in music.

After my Hip-Hop days I turned to electronic because I became once again bored of the Hip-Hop Dj thing. People on parties just wanted to hear big hits and I had no real possibility of playing 'different' tracks. So I played the 90’s Rap stuff over and over again, 'till I was so bored of myself.

About house and techno, I love the freedom of not having to play hits at al. Of course there are many big hits in these genres too, but at the end you can rock a party with tracks that nobody heard before.

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Some of your mixes clearly bring traces of this 'first passion' of yours. Discobelle Mix 039 struck me a lot, a real rude-boy mix! Trumpets and some of the beats made me also think that you might be influenced from dance-hall, I am right?

Thank you a lot! It was quite fun to do a mix without house. It’s been a while since I did it. I discovered some new rap & r n b over the month and out it all together in one 60 mix. I love the dancehall samples it was was big fun to use them in a dj mix, I thing I will do it more often in the future also for my regular mixes or for the Keinemusik Radio Show. I’m still a huge dancehall fan but I don’t really know if this influenced my music. The dance-hall vibes are so different. I tried to make some edits of new dancehall tracks but it never really worked out, not until now.

Have you ever thought of creating a new identity to produce music, maybe in collaboration with somebody?

I would love to have something like an easy going project  in the future: working with one, or two other guys, on tracks with an electronic background and live instruments on top.

Talking about changes.... What things make you evolve music wise? Are collaborations with artists or other external stimuli that influences you the most?

I’m a bedroom studio producer and I've spent most of the time working at home alone. My inspiration is coming from trying things out. I recently worked, for the first time, with a friend of mine: he’s a rock musician and plays guitar, drums, bass. The sessions was a great source of inspiration for us both. .

You have released for Cocoon and Kompakt amongst others, but your 'family' label is Keinemusik. As a team it is quite small, they define themselves as a 'crew' rather than a team actually. How is different producing for big name labels and smaller scale ones? Which are the particular challenges and possibilities that each one presents?

It is not really different for me. I’m never made a track specially for a label, with a special style thought for its destination. Usually I finish an EP and then I look out for a place where it could fit, but at Keinemusik we have the freedom to release what we want. Every artist has one slot to produce a personal EP over the year, and can put out what ever he wants onto it. Of course we are asking each other opinions on tracks but, at the end of the day, is the artist the last one to decide about his very own release. I love this idea.

On a more personal level, which are the challenges you have to front as a producer and which the possibilities you get? There are some many labels, booking agencies, agents nowadays. Do you consider it as a good or bad thing? In a way I believe some of them can put a lot of pressure on you and influence your creative process, a bit like having an ever-close deadline.

I don’t know if this is good or bad to be honest. This is the fact at the moment and we have to handle it. There is a lot of competition that’s true, so you have to do something different to get attention.

On an even more personal level. You are vegetarian and follow a straight-edge lifestyle. Club culture is also known for its own particular, tiring lifestyle: staying up all night, sometimes few days. How do you marry the two things together? And how can you resist the wonderful German beers? – supposed that you do not drink many.

Hehe, I’m SE since I’m 18 and I never drunk too much before. So I never had the chance to get into the beer thing, there is nothing to resist to for me really. I love playing music and being in a club  gives me all the energy I need energy for the night. Whenever I am getting tired, I just go back to my hotel, I have no need to turn a club night into a marathon run! The next day, without drugs and alcohol in the blood, you'll feel much better for sure and therefore you'll have also more energy to handle the next gig at night.

You got to play in many different venues and during event of different nature. How would you describe your favourite experience? What did it transmit to you?

There are so many great experiences so I don’t have really a favourite one. But let me tell about the last good one. This happened last night in Izmir at the Electronica Festival. It was the perfect summer vibe: real nice weather, perfect sound both on the dancefloor and in the Dj booth, a venue just right on the beach and an open minded and cheerful crowd. It was possible to play nearly everything, house, disco, techno… A great party.

This summer is looking bright. After the big Sonar reunion you'll be heading to Sonus. They're quite different festivals: Sonar is an entire city, Barcelona, invaded by youngsters and electronic lovers, who roam the streets looking for the disparate, beautiful venues of each event; Sonus hosts a great number of gigs but all in the confined area of Zrce Beach. Do you think one type of is better then the other?

You can’t compare apples with pears (This is German expression hope it still works in English). Both are really nice and I like to eat apples and pears but I would go wrong to say I like one of them more. I’m really looking forward to Sonus by the way! David Mayer and me staying there some days longer to catch some sun and hang with friends.

Ahahaha it works also in English, definitely!

In a recent article on Thump – which went viral - Seth Troxler said that dance festivals could be the best but also the worst place ever, and that they differ a lot from what is clubbing and the club culture. What is your opinion on the matter? Do you think festivals are mostly just occasions to party for several days in a row (without feeling any guilt)?

I haven’t read this article but it sounds like my experience too. Still there are festival promoters that are able to transport the club feeling on big stages. Time Warp is a good example for this.

Thanks Adam for your time to answer our questions. MEOKO wishes you a great summer and good time with David. We look forward to your date in London this August!

Thank you guys!! See you in August. 

 

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