Happy new year everyone and welcome to 2021!
Well 2020 is year most of us will want to forget so let’s hope this coming year is going to be a much better one. I’ve started this year as I mean to go on by drafting in some great artists to get involved on this first edition of the year. Omni Am & New York’s Adam Collins stops by alongside Melbourne’s Niko Maxen with Russia’s Legit Trip closing off the proceedings.
Born in New York, developed in Chicago, and released in London, meet the treasure trove of fascinating electronic sounds, Adam Collins. Now a minimal and tech house cult favourite, Adam got his start in Chicago where he co-founded the band Omni A.M. and record label Euphoria Records. What started as an album, grew into a party, EPs, and a label known for timeless beats, surprise samples, and hidden messages. Collins draws heavily on his roots which formed while frequenting Chicago’s Gramaphone and South London’s Swag Records, both stomping grounds known for their significant contributions to electronic music.
As a music producer and recording artist, Collins’s work has constantly evolved with a growing list of prized records on Discogs. He remains executive producer at Euphoria Records, has been a sponsored artist for Plugin Alliance, and his original music is featured on Real Deal Records, Kommuna Tapes, Cure, Nervous, Sur and Vidre. Often recorded in hardware-based live jams, his sound is deep and absorbing.
Collins has been invited to perform at numerous clubs and festivals like The Final Chapter by Carl Cox at Space Ibiza, Mysteryland USA, Barutana, Club Der Visionaere, Subwax BCN, and Burning Man all while playing along the stretches of Asia, Europe and South America.
Aside from his releases and tours, he is passionate about growing the next generation of dance music producers and fans by teaching music production workshops and inspiring developing scenes like Central America. His art, education, and philanthropy projects include partnerships with South Street Seaport/The Howard Hughes Corporation, FIGMENT art festival, Semana de Música Avanzada, Guatemala and DJLab in Costa Rica.
For our readers that don’t know you, can you give us a little bit of background on Adam Collins?
Hey I’m Adam, I travelled a very long way getting to planet earth and grew up in New York, New York. Musically speaking my first instruments are piano and guitar. I like painting, raving, eating plant based, dusk silhouettes, yoga and simply none of this defines me. Maybe: Adam Collins
How was your New year? Like most of us this New Years was much different to all previous ones especially without dance floors. Where did you spend this year’s NYE?
New Year’s was very quiet and peaceful thank you. My Original plan was to play in Serbia with one of my favourite parties and crews, Happy People (United Youth of Belgrade). With that postponed, I spent it in New York for chill family time. I had a good laugh imagining my parents at Hoppetosse on a Monday morning.
2020 has been a weird one for us all, let’s hope ’21 will be a lot brighter. I know you have been in Costa Rica for a lot of the Covid lockdown, can you tell me more about that? What were you doing out there?
A childhood music pal Andrew invited me to his home in early March—I was scheduled to teach classes at DJLab, Costa Rica. I went with a backpack and planned to stay for two weeks. Seven months later It’s one of the greatest experiences of my life. As the news broke and borders closed, I decided to stay with the monkeys. I learned how to surf, frequently meditated, explored for mushrooms. Turns out the jungle gives me the same pleasure and immediate response as playing on turntables or a being at a party does. I am now an expert on mangoes, opening coconuts, tamal asado and loved improving my Spanish. Also, my computer fried out—so I missed everyone’s DJ livestreams.
I know you have been doing music production workshops, how is that going? Are they set to continue throughout the year?
Production workshops will continue indefinitely. I’ve partnered with Esteban Howell, owner at DJLab Costa Rica to offer Ableton masterclass and artist development workshops. The evolution of this is that and I will launch my creativity and music retreat in CR. And right now I’m most excited about the private one-on-one mentorship program where I work as executive producer with various independent artists on many genres of music.
New York is your home but you are always on the move, where’s next on the list once you can travel freely again?
Giza is calling, South of France for lavender honey, Outcastle Italy, Shanghai and Australia to visit you Carlo! Remember that we are all connected and I’ll take this opportunity to say hello to everyone, wherever you are and may you have health and joy in your heart. Once we can travel again it will be nice to see old and new friends in person and have a dance together! I guess I am always on the move… while waiting for the spaceship to return and pick me back up!
I do know about your love affair for an old 303 or 808, what’s your current studio set up looking like at the moment?
It happened that the synthesizer maker Tiptop Audio contacted me to help finalize and release Eurorack modules like the ZDSP effects generator, Forbidden Planet analog filter, VCA and more. It was a great project and we collaborated with Yamaha Synths and Ableton for events like Superbooth. Much of this gear made it into my workflow and modular sounds amazing. Most recently though my studio setup is a strap, a block and yoga mat.
Aside from music under ‘Adam Collins’, you have made some killer music with Marky Star as Omni A.M. For people that have been in hiding and that don’t know, can you tell us more about the legendary Omni A.M. and Euphoria Records?
The name for the band was given to us in a shamanic ritual by the space cake lady of Wicker Park where we were initiated into the order of Euphoria Records and a union of music which was formed in a specific location, at a special time, which only works when all stars are aligned, with the right ingredients and recipe in place—with that we made our own sound and released it into the stratosphere.
There have been so many timeless classics from you and Marky under Omni A.M, what’s been your favourite release to date over this mammoth 20+ year period?
It’s hard to name just one like New York Sessions. Here are a few of my favourite releases based on the vocal samples and you can dig a little: Who’s the bad man who can draw; do you guys want to hear how wet I am; kinky tonight; I like dancing, it’s good exercise. Also the releases about fishing.
The recently released classic, ‘Key’, album features exclusive edits and never heard before versions which have all been remastered from the original DATs are out now both double vinyl and digital. Can you tell us more about this exciting release?
Omni A.M. – Key is available for the first time as a double vinyl and on all digital platforms with the good people at Above Board Distribution, UK. The original CD release plays like a continuous mix and songs were shortened to fit the time constraints. In this version you get full length songs, unedited and lovingly remastered from the original live recordings. It also includes the previously unreleased song Touchable—a song that sonically bridges the gap between Key and Can We Get. Seeing Key on vinyl is a dream come true. After so many years it is time to honour our music in a way that allows a new generation of listeners to add it to their collection. There are many places in the world that don’t have access to vinyl and the truth is a lot of people ask for it. We are very grateful for that. Vinyl collectors can find it at Gramaphone Chicago, Rough Trade, KMA 60, Yoyaku, Technique, Juno or Phonica—ask for it at your favourite shop.
Are there plans to release more Omni A.M. music throughout ‘21?
This year who knows what’s going to happen in the ’21 show, it’s been a crazy episode so far!
Under Adam Collins, what exciting projects or releases do you have coming up?
The creativity and executive producer mentorship I started has been amazing to watch artists develop in real-time. The plan is to grow the family tree bigger and help it flower. What’s really needed right now is expanding people’s consciousness and that’s possible by sharing knowledge. Regarding exciting projects, I love working with labels Real Deal Records and SUR. Artists like Mato, Nico, Jay Tripwire, SIT, Michi and Andre Baum + Gulp of People People. Plus Shelby’s party in LA called Rhythm Rapport is the jam. I post all this on my Instagram
Finally, if you can take one good thing away from 2020 what would that be? And what one thing are you looking forward to the most in 2021?
The past year allowed us to slow down. Be present, create positive energy and stay true to yourself. Life is 100% up to you, don’t let the world choose for you. Inclusivity is everyone’s concern and if we aren’t pushing the edge we will remain dormant: Black Lives Matter.
One thing is certain, I’ll continue to deepen my spiritual journey and spend more time in nature—my next set for sure is in the jungle. Lastly, if we die tomorrow the world will go on, and maybe even a little easier. In the meantime: everybody get naked, everybody in the place.
Listen to Naked Groove: https://euphoriarecords.bandcamp.com/album/key
Adam has very kindly offered a chance to win a one-one production session with him. To enter just follow his Insta page @adamcollinsmusic and send a private message. Adam will choose the winner at random in Feb. Good luck!
Get to Know……
This month ‘Get to Know’ I spoke to a fellow Yorkshire man and now an Australian resident by the name of Niko Maxen. It’s safe to say over the last 3 years that Niko Maxen has released a steady flow of tracks on some of the world’s best undergrounds labels from the likes of Signature, Tzinah Records, What NxT, Talman Records, We_R_House, Ewax, Hedzup, Constant Black, Aesthetic and OGE. The list goes on and on plus not forgetting releases on his own labels Pathway Traxx, OFF Path and Maxen. I fired over a few quick questions to know more…
How long have you been djing and producing for: +10 yrs
Where are you based: Melbourne
Do you currently have any residencies in your home city: Yes, I am resident at Moonrise events which I also co-run
Favourite city to play: Sydney
Music Style: Underground house
Favourite producer: Ricardo Villalobos
Favourite label: Constant Sound
Inspirations: I take inspiration from many artists and also by visualising in my mind my music being played at the events I most admire. For years I was visualising that my music would be played at Sunwaves at the perfect moment. I was writing music with that moment in my mind and when it actually happened I was so hyped.
Interesting fact about you that others may not know: I actually started producing making hip hop music over 15yrs ago
If you weren’t djing and producing what would you doing right now: I’d still be loving life and smiling
What’s next for 2021: I’ll be releasing more music on my own labels and Bandcamp. I’m not expecting gigs to pick up again so I’ll be focusing on making the best music I can
Music of the month – Legit Trip
From Russia with Love……
Artem Boldizhar aka Legit Trip, born in Moscow, has been instrumental in pushing the frontier of the Eastern European/Russian minimal movement for a few years. His tracks have been played by many A-Listers and house heads the world over with releases already in the bag on the likes of S.A.S.H Recordings, Blind Vision Records, Little Helpers, Cyclic Records and Jacks House Recordings to name but a few and not forgetting his own label ‘Svoboda’, which brings me onto this month’s music of the month.
His label’s first release was in 2018, it then took a small break until it started releasing monthly weapons throughout 2020 and now it has a bursting roster for 2021 (one from yours truly in a few months). This latest EP from his ‘Svoboda’ label is just another great slab of house that is sure to rattle many a sound system. The track off the release entitled ‘Booyakasha’ is a groovy minimal monster packed with a punch from the first bar to the last, the whole EP is dope but this track is the pick of the bunch for me.
The track is out now on all the usual digital download sites, you can check it here:
Stay safe, see you next month.