The focus of the tropical and melodic house scene has had a tendency to be drawn to the countries of Scandinavia, France and Holland, with artists such as: Kygo, Klingande, & Bakermat leading the way. However, UK born producer Alex Adair and his fresh sound have been creating waves of their own. This young producer really caught our attention with his breakthrough single, ‘Make Me Feel Better’. The blend of the soulful Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell sample, mixed together with those uplifting, melodic plucks made this track an instant summer hit.
In every Adair track you can hear Alex’s musicianship and focus on crisp instrument sound, his latest single, ‘Heaven’ is no exception. You are immediately gripped with the sonorous, infectious steel drums, layered smoothly with that huge Motown vocal. Adair and his developing repertoire are really setting the standard for UK & European melodic house producers. We talk to Alex about his decision to study music production at University, his tribal and carnival inspirations and his love for Sylenth.
When did you musical journey begin and when did you realise that music production was your calling? Did you play any instruments beforehand?
I have always played and enjoyed music. I played piano from a very young age but it was when I decided to actually study music production at university that I really took the plunge and began to take music production seriously.
When did you feel that music really began to have an impact on your life?
It all happened over night really, didn’t it? It was around last year, last March actually when I made ‘Make Me Feel Better’ and it all quite literally happened over night. It was the first song that I tried to send out to all the promotion labels. The track managed to get picked up by some Youtube channels and a week later the Sound You Need, the rest is history.
This breakthrough track, ‘Make Me Feel Better’ uses that incredible Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell Sample – how did this idea come about? Did you have any expectations when you first produced the track of how big it was going to be?
I had no idea that the song would go as far as it did. It was actually my first attempt at making this kind of melodic sound before I was making more progressive house. I was really inspired by Chris Malinchak and the Duke Dumont vibe so I just gave it a go and it all just came together really naturally.
Now in some sense you are kind of a pioneer in the UK with the majority of melodic house artists coming from Scandinavia. Germany and France – was their anyone in particular who inspired you to make this type of very melodic and feel-good sound?
Well that Chris Malinchak track ‘So Good To Me’ was definitely a big inspiration for me. Thomas Jack and Kygo too on the more chilled side, I’m a massive fan of those guys. Klingande and Bakermat too with their dancier sound.
You have had some pretty incredible official remixes for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Jessie Ware and Ella Henderson do you feel there is any added pressure when you have to take on a remix with such established artists?
Not really no. I am very selective with the remixes that I do. So with these remixes they were already great songs so I have an idea right from the get-go that it’s going to work. It’s just great to get my hands on tracks of that kind of quality.
You have recently dropped your latest single Heaven on Black Butter records, which has that incredible steel drum vibe going down. How did the idea for this track come about? How’s it going for you so far?
Yeah it’s pretty similar to ‘Make Me Feel Better’ vibe wise. With a similar sample, using another Motown artist so a similar kind of approach in production in that respect. As you said, the steel drums are the main focus of the track for this one & yeah it’s going great, I think this track is more of a slow build but definitely being received well.
So is the vocal sample a common start point when making track?
Not always but generally yes when I am using a big vocal sample like those two tracks. A really inspiring vocal sample always gets the production off to a great start and the track comes together pretty quickly afterwards.
Which artists from the UK are you really vibing right now? Any tracks in particular that you are just loving to spin?
I am really into the carnival sound at the moment, that kind of tribal sound. Check out this guy called Melé, I am really loving his big track called ‘Ambience’. That rhythmic, tribal inspired sound is on repeat right now, a vibe that I am really into.
For all those up and coming producers out there – what synths/plugins/VST get that Alex Adair seal of approval?
I don’t use too many to be honest. I like to keep things stripped back to basics when producing. For me it’s just about making sure the foundations of the track are bang on. I think a lot of people really try and over complicate things with too many layers of complicated plugins. My main go-to plugin at the moment though is Sylenth. Such a complete and flexible plugin which I really enjoy using.
What advice would you have to producers especially in the UK to get their tracks heard by the right people in the industry?
I think with the developments of social media, music is so easily accessible. I am not saying being a producer is an easy thing to do but it’s certainly easier to get your tracks out there. I think it is about making sure your initial sound is really refined. I took a lot of time to make sure I was ready to really put my music out there. Before the track, ‘Make Me Feel Better’, I didn’t really put any of my music out there. However, with this track I took my took my time to make sure it was as complete and ready as it could be. Only then I sent it to blogs, Youtube channels and they were really responsive. I definitely think that these online promotional platforms can be a access point to kickstart a producers career. My advice for all the up and coming producers is just to be bold with your music and when you feel your sound is ready, get sharing it. I would say just don’t push things too quickly. This process all really depends on your personality too. If you get knocked back easily it can be hard for some people. I was at university for three years & I only made ‘Make Me Feel Better’ in my final year and it was only at this point I felt I was ready to share my sound, so take your time.
Which Alex Adair track would you say you are proudest of and why?
I think it’s, ‘Heaven’, not just that it’s the latest single haha. I am really pleased with the way it turned out. My Jessie Ware remix as well, really love that one. That was my first remixes with this sound so proud of that too.
What can Alex Adair fans expect for the rest of 2015, I know you are playing in Brixton soon right?
Yes, just lots of gigs. In terms of singles, a new one will be out soon. A couple of remixes on the horizon to look forward to!