Interview with ADV, man behind "Enigmatic" EP released today
ADV is a songwriter, singer, drummer, guitarist, bassist. He's an artist who can do it all.
He's ADV and in anticipation of his 'Enigmatic' EP release, Fort Hey had him in the chair for some questions! Read more about ADV's love and passion for music and where it caomes from below.
Your songs have a beautiful rock-raised kid nostalgia to it, were you surrounded by music as a kid? Would you say that that music was your first introduction to your sound today?
I was surrounded with music all the time. I was raised in a happy-go-lucky environment where there were always music playing, loud. Those days were my first introduction to music, yes, but as far as my memory recalls, one of the first songs I heard was from the 80’s group Icehouse, whom I still love to this day. I won’t say that my introduction to music became my sound today however it did influence me a lot in how I write music.
What was the first instrument you picked up, and what came soon after?
Well the first instrument I fell in-love with was the drums. I got this toy drum-set for kids which didn’t last long because we stayed in an apartment back then and the loudest instrument being played by a 7-year-old is not your ideal neighbor. Only a few years ago I played in Bob & The Banned as the drummer, but I decided to sell the kit in order to buy recording equipment I used for recording my solo work.
The second instrument and the most important one was the guitar. Ironically, I got inspired to pick up an actual guitar after playing Guitar Hero with friends in primary school. When I got my own acoustic guitar at age 10, I simply locked myself in the room and tried to figure it out. It was the most determined I ever was until that point. Homework and tests became something of the past. It felt very natural and it showed because I overlapped my friends who took guitar lessons where I never took one. Piano came after only because the aftercare had an abandoned piano in one of the rooms for the music students to practice on. I obviously made my own way on there. I’m no Liberace on the piano, but I can write a song or two on it.
Bass guitar was probably the easiest to grasp because of the previous knowledge from guitar. And if singing counts as an instrument, then this was the latest instrument I discovered at age 14. Lord knows how it came about, but it did. At the time I was very much into Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Slipknot. So that music was my first try-outs for singing. It didn’t turn out too bad, I think?
What inspired the multi-instrumentalist in you? Have you had to learn any new instruments from scratch when you decided to do it all by yourself? If so, which and if not, which instrument did you blow some dust off?
To be honest, I think the multi-instrumentalist in me was there all along. It all just came together over time so that when I wanted to do the solo thing, I already had the tools for it as opposed to me going solo and having to learn instruments in able to do it all.
Does your name, ADV, come from your birth name, or is it your project’s name? What does ADV stand for?
ADV is just my initials. I didn’t want to go the route of a cringy made-up word and using my initials seemed more personal anyway. Imagine putting the name Armand De Vries on a raw rock record. Not happening.
When you joined your first band at 12, what would you say is the big difference between the music you made back then and the music you’re making now? (aside from the technical ability to make music, more about your inspiration and view in life)
Well, back then I didn’t know jack-squat. 12-year-olds worry about games and puberty. I was just interested in making music. So, I barely had views on life back then other than playing like Eddie Van Halen. But looking back on it, it was so crucial to have no idea what you’re doing but just plugging in and letting it rip.
If you could, what would you tell that 12-year-old about the music scene and your path with it today?
Be confident, competent and yourself. But above all, I would tell him to relax. What must happen will happen.
You mention that your songs are soundtracks to memories. What would you say is your biggest muse behind the EP, in a lyrical sense? Do you write from a personal view or do you write from an outsider view? How does this affect your songwriting process?
I'll say that the muse behind this EP is life as we know it. Life and people are a never-ending fascination to me. So, I’ll always write from a personal view and my opinion on thoughts.
As usual, we like asking some fun questions!
Out of our experience, a lot of bands/musicians have some go-to-snack or restaurant they go to or meal they get when they record – anything you make sure to stock up on before you sit down and make the magic?
Snackies are vital but my snacks are cigarettes and coffee. It is impossible for me to write without them.
We want to know more about your studio time. Which instruments would you say is the most fun to record? By being your own engineer, have you ever found yourself in some tricky situations? If so please tell us more.
This will come as a surprise to many, but the instrument most fun to record for me is the bass. When I’ve laid down the tracks of drums and guitar, the bass glues it all together and it’s such a satisfying sound.
There are always tricky situations where songs will sound better in your head than through the speakers, so that’s a challenge on its own. But my main setback in most cases is finding the right sound for each instrument. I’m very specific when it comes to sound. I love listening to isolated drum or vocal tracks of my favourite songs. This probably gave me more depth when mixing my songs.
When I started with the planning of this EP, I took about a month just sifting through drum sounds because I wanted a raw but big sound for the EP. Once I get the drum sound, the foundation is laid for the other instruments.
Do you have any tips for aspiring musicians and songwriters to stay inspired? What do you like doing when you feel a slight creative block, or feel a lack of muse for new songs?
I’m a work-a-holic, especially when it comes to my art and music. So there are times when my brain is overworked or my ears are fatigued or I’m simply not inspired. I’ll usually stop, put on movies and get inspired by visuals (the older the movie the better) or I’ll go out and have drinks. Sometimes, depending on how big the creative block is, I’ll just lay down and explore my thoughts. Everyone is different and has their own tips, but essentially when you have a creative block of some sort, take a break champ.
Listen to ADV's latest EP, 'Enigmatic' here.
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