It’s always cool to interview other duos to find out what kinds of strengths they each bring for a killer combination. While hanging in the media tent at the Movement Festival with Detroit-bred band ADULT., Nicola and Adam told us how they work well together, talked about overcoming their largest challenges and what drew them to electronic music in the first place, and offered advice to “tormented” artists.
Describe your style with three words.
What’s the best part about performing live?
►Adam: There’s this moment about two or three songs in when the monitors are all right and I’m in it; I’m not looking around anymore. I really do love that moment.
Do you each have your own strength that, combined, help you work well together?
►Nicola: Adam is the more focused brain. He can work on a terrible technical problem for hours and hours; he will be so irritated but he never stops. I’m the more encompassing person who’s organizing all the things that are required.
►Adam: I would say I’m a bit more primadonna, where I melt down quickly and [Nicola] is very good at navigating that.
Do you two come up with the concepts for your videos?
►Adam: Yes, all of them.
What first drew you to electronic music?
►Adam: I love this question. I think about it all the time and I don’t know. I can go back and remember that film, “Vacation.” Lindsey Buckingham did the opening song; there was always something I liked about it when I was really young. Years later, I saw it on TV and realized it was all 707 drum machine, which I love.
►Nicola: I think it’s also just the beat. I think there’s a different beat when you’re using drum machines than when you’re using a drum kit.
►Adam: There’s a certain sensibility some people have that allows them to use it. I just remember the very first time I heard a synthesizer. My first Cure record was “Japanese Whispers,” which has tons of synth on it and tons of drum machine compared to all their other records. It’s still my favorite.
►Nicola: It is funny growing up, you know, dancing in your bedroom as a young girl to Prince and Madonna and it’s like, ‘What are those things that attract you?” Then later in life, finding Depeche Mode and New Order and really identifying with that. I don’t remember what age, but I was really into straightedge punk music and I had pretty much abandoned any dance music. Then I met Adam…
►Adam: … she asked what I did and I told her I was running an electronic label. She said she hated electronic music.
►Nicola: He suggested I listen to Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire; I listened and was like, “Holy shit, what is this? This is incredible.”
Were you two doing solo work before working together?
►Adam: I was. This is [Nicola’s] first band. At the beginning, I was doing a project called Artificial Material. Then I was in a band called Le Car for a while. I was in punk bands in high school; too many to name.
Was there a specific moment when you realized this would be your full-time career?
►Nicola: I had no intention of this.
►Adam: I don’t have any business plan or life plan but I’m very motivated. I pay attention if I need to steer away from or toward something.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
►Adam: Just get ready. It’s hard as hell.
►Nicola: It really isn’t easy and you need to work at it all the time. I don’t think there ever comes a point in your brain when you’re not tormented.
►Adam: At least for us… there are different types of artists. I would say to give that advice to tormented artists that it never gets easier.
►Nicola: If you’re not tormented, you’re lucky.
If somebody is unfamiliar with your music and you had to suggest they listen to something, what would it be?
►Nicola: We have the new album out, so I’d say the new album.
►Adam: For some reason, I feel like “Heartbreak” on our new record epitomizes us for some reason because…
►Nicola: …it’s a good full-circle song.
What is the largest challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
►Adam: Becoming successful at this at a weirdo underground level. Somebody recently told us, “You’re the biggest underground artist I know,” and I love that compliment. Becoming successful and having successful booking agents and record labels had everything going right, but I was burning out. That was a really big challenge and really confusing; I was tearing down after shows and was like, “I don’t want to do this right now. What do I do?” We literally stopped, did construction and then made films, which allowed us to express…
►Nicola: … grow.
►Adam: So the biggest challenge was dealing with that.
►Nicola: Finding a balance because we’re also visual artists was also a challenge because this music thing sort of took over like some sort of nasty growth in your brain.
►Adam: I’ve watched friends be unhappy in the music business and the visual arts business. We overcame it by stepping away then coming back, which is a scary situation to put yourself in because we easily could have put out this record with nobody caring.
Somebody recently told us, ‘You’re the biggest underground artist I know,’ and I love that compliment. -Adam
Are there any festivals you want to play that you haven’t played yet?
►Nicola: We just got asked to play our films at this amazing festival in Switzerland, but we’re booked for another festival. There’s also a woman who has this underground fashion festival at the Pompideu in Paris, which I would love to do.