INTERVIEW: Adam French

Adam French is a name causing a stir at Gigslutz HQ. Having already gone down a storm playing the BBC Introducing stage at Leeds and Reading festivals, as well as recent support slots with Frances, Rat Boy and Jack Garratt, Adam sets out on his first headline tour this week including Communion shows in London, New York and L.A. Very impressive! Ahead of these run of dates we catch up with the man himself to find out more about what he has in store.

For readers who have not heard your music before can you give us a quick introduction to what you’re all about?

I’m a kid who grew up in the North and moved to the city to chase music.  Free school dinners and the dole to the big smoke. I’ve always been driven; I just never wanted to be somebody else’s bitch, helping to build their dream when I could have been working on my own. I went on the dole so that I could afford to live whilst chasing a music career, and bettering my ability. I then went to university so that a student loan would put a roof over my head whilst I chased a career in music. I used the government as a safety net because I truly believe in what I do.

Who were your main musical influences and what inspired you to start writing music?

My main influences originally came from rock music, but gradually started seeping from every genre… I’m a massive Queens of the Stone Age fan, but I adore Bon Iver, The tallest man on earth, Ludovico Einaudi, John Lee Hooker and a shit tonne of other incredible artists… I grew up on my dad’s record collection, so a lot of the bands I love, I discovered a lot later than the rest of the world. But he was and still is a true music fan… so the first time I’d witnessed the connection between fan and artist was seeing the imprint these artists had left on my dad’s memories. I think that’s what originally sparked the fire in me to want to do this.

You are a multi-instrumentalist – do you think this makes the songs you write less limited than say you were just a singer / guitarist?  

I’d like to think so. If ever I’m stuck with a song, I’ll swap instruments and the flow opens up again. I think every artist should at least experiment with other instruments; arrangement is paramount in any genre and it’ll also stop all of your songs sounding identical… Which is something I get easily bored of when listening to an album.

You produce your own music too – can talk us through that process?

It all starts at my flat, once a track is written and a couple of friends react well to it as a song, I’ll start recording it in my home studio setup, working on instrumentation and arrangement. Once I’ve tracked everything I can do at home, I’ll take the project into a studio to record live drums, louder guitars etc with my mate Ben, who engineers whilst I lay down each instrument and gradually build the track and finalise arrangements etc… Vocals I normally do in my kitchen at home, against a big curtain… Very technical… On a serious note; I’ve learned a lot from working with other producers, seeing how they assemble music, and picking my favourite bits from those experiences, incorporating them into my own process… That said, I’m still learning and always will be.

You are still only 23 but have built up a devoted following. What are your aspirations going forward? How big do you think you can be? 

I want to take myself as an independent musician and artist to an international level. And by that I don’t mean ‘indie’ label or that nobody has done it before… I just mean that, I started completely independently creating and putting out music, booking my own shows etc… In the hope that some day somebody would cut me a break and give me the chance that I’d so long worked towards. In my mind you either work for it… Or you get lucky. I believe in the former, so hopefully there is no limit.

You are about to hit the road on a UK tour – what can we expect from your live show?

There are 2 full band shows (Manchester & London) and 4 solo shows (York, Birmingham, Sheffield & Leeds) The full band show’s as full of energy as a 5 piece would allow, and the solo show is as intimate as I could possibly make it… I always want to maintain that spectrum, because I enjoy performing both of those sorts of shows. There’s a time and a place for each.

As a punter, whats the best gig you’ve ever been to yourself?

There’s always a few that come to mind… My first gig was a sex pistols show at Brixton academy for an anniversary tour they did when I was 14/15…  That was pretty special. I saw an early Bombay Bicycle Club show at Leeds festival when I was 15/16… During which a random girl decided to piss on my feet. Quite literally in front of the whole crowd… without even introducing herself. Very rude.

Urg! What is your tour bus like? Sex, drugs n ‘rock n roll’, or straight to bed after the gig?

Tour bus? Pfft. It’s a rusty van for now… But we definitely appreciate a little post show celebration and stint of bad dancing. Amen.

You played some great festivals for new music last summer such as Live At Leeds and Bingley Live – do you have any festivals lined up for this summer?

Yeah, last year’s festival run was amazing. I’ll definitely be heading back out this summer, but I’m due to be hearing which festivals I’ll be playing at in the next few weeks. I’ll keep you posted…


Which other new bands / artistes are you listening to at the moment?

Stevie Parker, Strange Bones & Hidden Charms, all great for very different reasons. Stevie is supporting at my Manchester show of the tour. Strange Bones are a mammoth sounding proper guitar band who’ve just been out to LA recording with Chris from Foo Fighters, and Hidden Charms have a black keys meets psych revival quality that’s rarely done well… They’re all worth checking out.

What would your desert island disc be?

Songs For the Deaf – Queens of the Stone Age.

Nice one! And what advice would you give to aspiring musicians looking to make their way in the industry?

If you don’t love it… Stop.


You can catch Adam at the following venues:

20th Jan – London, The Social (Communion)
22nd Jan – Manchester, Deaf Institute
23rd Jan – Birmingham, Café Ort
25th Jan – Sheffield, The Harley
26th Jan – York, The Basement
2nd Feb – New York, Rockwood Music hall
4th Feb – LA, The Hotel Café