DJ, Producer, Label Boss and Promoter Adam Shelton represents a home grown talent who has forged a name for himself through hard work and dedication. Well travelled and having played at some of the most respected clubs on the world, Adam Shelton has always stayed true to his roots in his home town of Birmingham. Proving that you can take the DJ out of the city but you cant take the city out of the DJ. I caught up with the man himself ahead of his gig at Regression Sessions in London on 28th October.
You’ve recently launched a new party in your home town of Birmingham called Collective Minds can you tell us a bit more about this, what was the motivation to start the party?
The idea of Collective Minds has been in the city for a few years making sporadic parties with guests such as Fred P, Leif, Jane Fitz and Boddika. There has not been an event for a while and after talking about making a new party in town myself, Jayson Wynters and James Swinburne decided to kick start Collective Minds. So to some people in the city it will seem like a new project, which is exciting and then for those who know they will be buzzing to hear it is back on the map. There is certainly a calling in Birmingham for the sound we are bringing and looking to push which yes, is a very wide spectrum of electronic music, but is away from a lot of the obvious music most other parties are bringing.
For the last Collective Minds party you hosted XDB and Jayson Wynters, how did this go and what was the highlight of the night?
Honestly the whole night was a highlight, we were all so happy with our sets, Kosta (XDB) said its one his favourites of the year and for me that’s a blessing as he plays so many great parties on solid line ups so we were happy with that. Jayson played a killer close after XDB, he really brought it strong and I was proud that this is the sound coming from our city and is exactly how I would have liked the night to gone from a dancers view also. Solid!
When is the next Collective Minds party, who’s on the line up?
The next party is 12th of November with Tom Ellis (live) and Alex Downey alongside Jayson and myself. I have been a Tom Ellis fan for years so excited to hear him especially after catching his live show at Freerotation back in July. Alex Downey played one of my favourite sets of this year at Freerotaion before XDB, a mind blowing electro set which really was stand out, and amongst the serious amount of talent there that’s a big call. I have since followed Alex on his vivid radio show and he is a serious selector, I have a good feeling for the next party and on going.
How does the crowd in Birmingham differ to London?
Wow that’s a question. I guess the crowd in Birmingham is closer, I find that everywhere outside of London, smaller communities so more friends and actually a closer vibe. I’m only talking about the things I go to, on a bigger scale everywhere is cold, oversold and full of people there not for the right reasons, that’s worldwide! What I love about Birmingham compared to London is that people are so hungry for the good stuff, with London being one of the most advanced cities in the world they get a fix earlier than most for music, fashion, art and technology, we want it too but its later to hit the rest of the country so that creates the hunger which leads to more interest and excitement.
You’ve been collecting records for over 20 years now, what has been your biggest musical influence?
Detroit 100%, I started off buying and listening to music from New York and Chicago but I guess it was the obvious stuff at the time, not to say it wasn’t the good stuff but it was easy to get in to. Once I heard Derrick May’s Innovator album it opened me up to the idea of electro, broken sounds and that rawness that Detroit pioneers. Still now the music that comes from there is the most forward thinking, honest, open form of electronic music and I feel having it as my first influence is strong and definitely an interesting story to follow.
Name three labels you are into right now?
Hotmix records, Skylax records, more about music.
You produce under S.A.S with Subb-an, where did the name come from? How does this project differ from your own personal productions?
The name is simple, Subb-an. Adam. Shelton. This project started off as edits which all did really well, with my collection and Ash’s studio skills we can really make things come alive, as many people do edit projects now you really have to make it come alive, not just snip and join. I love to hear great edits, as much as we all might love the original it doesn’t always cut it on the modern dance floor, the edit might be the first time somebody has heard that sample and they feel it just like the original. We have had a break with S.A.S and plan to be back in 2017 with the same style sound wise but this time our own original material using live vocals and session musicians.
Having founded One Records in 2009 you’ve signed music from a number of artists including D’julz, Nail, Shaun Reeves and H-foundation to name a few, can you tell us about the journey so far?
The label has become such a massive part of our lives, it’s such a good way of connecting with people, not just the artists either. I mean that’s the initial reason you start to put music out but then along the way you meet all these other great characters that can help you with what your doing, label managers (always interesting people with lots of stories and experience) designers who you can work together with to create new things for the label but then also you take an insight into their world and what they do which is cool. Social media now you can’t hide from, so we recently have got a friend on board to work with us and that is turning out to be a good laugh and very creative and again you get a look into their world which is also cool. So not just all music, but on that side of things of course it’s a joy, putting out music from artists you like is great, also making bonds and becoming friends is very important. Of course it’s a business and like everything people come and go from your lives, but also you remain friends with some people and that’s really how we have come to start forming a crew.
The label has also signed artists such as Jack Wickham, John Dimas and Yamen & EDA, how does the label nurture up and coming talent?
As mentioned above its not so much about nurturing its about connecting with people and then deciding ok we really get on with these guys and feel we would like to push them through the label and help as much as we can as that’s what its all about, helping each other, we are all in it for the same reasons.
Have you got any releases coming up that you want to tell us about?
Releases forthcoming are from Bobby O’Donnell, two straight up club bombs with a John Dimas remix that is special. After that is a release from Subb-an, and myself it’s a split release, which we have not done before and then after that is a four track EP from our main man Alex Arnout.
As well as being a DJ, Producer and label boss you are also a promoter with a party in Rio (Brazil) called Foundation, how did this journey begin and how did you start a party there?
I fell in love with the city the first time I went a few years back, after playing there twice and feeling the vibe I got from the people after playing I was given the idea of making a party there. The people of Rio are amazing. The warmth you get from them is unrivalled, they love all things creative and when it comes to the music they love to hear new stuff and as the electronic music scene is Rio is still growing I feel there is so much to give them. We have done two parties now in unique spaces and the turn out has been amazing. We plan to run an event before the year comes to a close.
You’ve hosted One Records label parties in top clubs such as Watergate & Fabric, any more in the pipeline?
Yes we have a label night in Birmingham at Sunday party Cloak n Dagger with Subb-an, Jack Wickham, Samu.L, Lewis Oxley and myself. We are really missing fabric as are many. We hope to hear some positive news soon.
Considering the recent climate in the UK with the closure of many iconic venues what do you think can be done to preserve our nightlife culture?
Well the support from the Fabric closure has been really something and it shows how strong the community is that believe in nightlife culture, people want to see results in the end though and that’s the awkward time we are in. Merchandise is a great way to support causes and make money for that cause whilst having a big visual impact; Fabric nailed that with their T’s. That though is just support, what we need to see is new places popping up so people feel there is a healthy scene. Places all have their shelf life and sometimes closing is the way it is but if new places are popping up then nightlife culture remains, that is happening outside of London and people need to remember that.
As summer has now come to an end what are your plans for the winter months?
I am going to Los Angeles to work on some music with the mystical man Gabriels in his studio with Subb-an, I plan to do some gigs in the States and then end up in Rio for our third Foundation Rio party. That’s the plan anyway.
ADAM SHELTON MEOKO MIX / 228
Catch Adam Shelton on October 28th at Regression Sessions presents Circus of Horrors at Great Suffolk St Warehouse, London.
Interview by Mahala Ashley
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