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Triskele MAnagement Exclusive Interview
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Interview with psy trance queen

MICHELE ADAMSON

ahead of her appearance at earthcore 2016




One of the true queens of psy trance, the multitalented Michele Adamson’s beautifully distinct lyrics and vocals have graced some of the most defining tracks of the genre. From Astrix to Skazi, Infected Mushroom to GMS, she’s worked with all the biggies and firmly done the finger to those so-called purists who claim ‘real’ psy trance shouldn’t have lyrics. Despite this, she is still probably best known for touring the world as singer and performer for the mind-blowing Shpongle, partly due to her electric stage presence and jaw-dropping costumes. But did you know she’s also DJed her unique ‘psyvocal’ trance, electro and chill out sets internationally for many years, creating her own brand of ‘chillectro’, as well as fine-tuning her production skills to the point that she’s almost got enough material for her first full album?

With Michele heading down under later this year to perform at earthcore, we managed to lure her out of the studio long enough to answer a few questions…



Hi Michele,

Thank you for taking time out to have a little chat with us ahead of your appearance at earthcore 2016 this November, we really appreciate it. We’re all very excited to have you as a part of our international line-up.

You have been working in the field of electronic music for over 15 years as a writer, vocalist, DJ and producer. Why did you decide to choose an artistic profession? Was it your dream from early years and was it difficult to start or did it come naturally?

As a little girl I wanted to be an actress, mermaid or immortal undead. After limited success with breathing underwater and no stomach for blood, at age 7 I discovered the school choir, an elite group who received 10 pence worth of extra tuck on Sundays. Choral music led to jazz, acid jazz and blufunk before psy trance hit me in the face, mind and body and changed everything. Around 17 I was in a jazz band in the Swiss mountains with Peter Elias, Peter Fretz and Richard Lunn all of whom had 50 years or more experience in the music world. They inspired me with silken transitions and serotonic chords and we covered jazz standards in the smoky ‘caves’ of jazz around Montreux and up the mountains. Singing has always come naturally to me as a way of releasing pent up or indecipherable feelings. Making music work as a job can be challenging but business aside music is my heartbeat.

What motivated you to get involved in the electronic music scene after being a singer in a jazz band? You recorded vocals for an Art of Trance track in 2001, was this the first time you laid down vocals for an underground electronic release?

‘Love Washes Over’ was the track with Simon Berry and Simon Posford under Simon B’s project Art of Trance. My first release was ‘Dorset Perception’ with Shpongle and around the same time I had a release on backroom beats with Younger Brother called ‘The Receptive’, two chill out releases, before making ‘I See Myself’ with Hallucinogen and Infected Mushroom (as Fly Agaric) which really opened up a new channel for vocal psy trance and tons of opportunities for me to work with talented enthusiasts from around the world (have voice will travel!). In the ’90s I was deeply ensconced in the wyrd bosom of the UK underground psy scene and wanted to figure out how I could contribute to the scene and keep going to the stomping parties and hopefully get in for free! I have followed my passion and kept doing what I love as many hours a day as I can stay awake for and I seem to have popped out the other side of a decades long time loop with a niche career. (Still no logo though!)

In 2004 you received a gold disc in Israel for your work with Infected Mushroom on the album Converting Vegetarians. Other than that milestone, what have been the highlights of your career? And is there anything you’d still like to achieve that you haven’t done yet?

I feel I’ve only just begun! My capacity for learning increases with the new language I learn. Performing with Shpongle has been a dream for me. I always feel incredibly lucky to be invited to peek, dance and sing inside Shpongleland. Knowing these mind-blowing peeps has changed the way I look at the world and interact with it. Performing with the full band at Red Rocks, Colorado was, for me, a shamanic ritual of the highest level. I’ll never come down from that. To communicate through music with beautiful, suffering, joyful, humble, bombastic people is a constant gift. I can’t understand it but I try my best to be present and offer as authentically as I can my interpretation of all the things I’ll never know.

Raj gave us a brief in Australia at the end of a Shpongle tour to write the most beautiful music ever… having something to aim for for the rest of my life is certainly keeping me busy.



You’ve been in the studio with what seems like most of the trance scene over the last two decades. At what point did you start to compose your own music and how did that come about? Did you start by playing on vinyl and turntables and then move on to production using electronic music hardware such as synthesizers?

My first dj experience was playing chill out at Samothraki under the luminescent Tribe of Frog decor. I analysed all the songs I wanted to play the day before by length and key, naturally feeling what was obvious, for me, to come next. Dj Neerav helpfully suggested at the end I try learning to beat mix, I felt a tinge ashamed that through sheer luck and good presentation (tits) I was already on the stage instead of some highly skilled beat mixer but I felt deeply passionate about the music and now knew what I had to do next. I must have absorbed Logic lessons for almost a decade before finding the time and confidence to produce by myself. It was agonisingly slow at first and I have given myself ten years to master the process of translating ideas through the computer. I’m about six years into that now and getting my first singles from the album mastered as I write.

Over the years, producers I work with have invited me deeper into the process. Riktam was the first to let me really sit in the driver’s seat and have at one of the tracks we were working on (‘Touch Down’). I have received incredible support and encouragement from the kick-ass producers I’ve worked with.

Words is… There’s room at the top... it’s not a competition... it’s a Celebration Bitches!

When you get asked to do vocals for a track, does the artist give you freedom of expression to create the lyrics, or do they present to you an *idea* of what they want to portray with the track? Do you sometimes start with vocals and a melody then pass it on to the musician to work around?

Bit of both... Mostly I receive a short sketch loop and put down a few vocal ideas and send it back and we go from there… it’s so much easier in the studio when you can bounce ideas off each other and be more fluid in the creative process and while I do love a bit of guidance, 99% of the time I am given completely free reign so it’s candles, smudging, gaiting naked through the woods with my eyes closed and sacrificing Pokemon until the muses appear.

What are your favourite lyrics from a song outside the electronic music scene?

That’s a tough one as different lyrics move you at different times of your life. I love word play and lyrics that make you laugh… ambiguous, suggestive lyrics that allow you to create your own personal story... and then there’s Necro (who’s your daddy, the sexorcist) but I’m not sure you can print that.

Having recorded with SO many notable artists over the years, do some stand out more than the rest in the way that when you met, a certain magic happened with the synergy between you?

A session springs to mind… among so many fun, playful experiences… it was hard, hard work… we shvitzed… we niggled… we struggled (metaphysically) and by the end of the day I think we all hated each other a bit but the work we produced was quality and I have the highest respect for different creative processes. The easy ones come quick, are fun.

I had a session with Skazi once where I walked into his studio and pretty much saw the words of the track written right there on the white walls. The more challenging sessions tend to lead to greater growth and learning but ultimately I’m following a path of love. If I don’t like it I can’t do it.

Is there another singer or songwriter you’d like to work with?

Tallulah Rendall, India Waters, two ladies I’ve met who have humbled me with their mature, intense, intelligent, soulful lyrics and voices, My dream would be to meet Bobby McFerrin. The greatest living singer in my world... or Beth Gibbons from Portishead… so many musicians have inspired me I could dream endlessly…
Michael Hutchence… Tom Waits... but fantasies aren’t as much fun as the real thing though… so Pete Callard, Harry Escott, Hari Om, Joe Russo, Raj, Simon, The Egg, Infected… it’s a privilege and honour to perform with these human beans at the top of their game



What about your solo studio time these days? Tell our readers about your plans for future releases.

Finally I have some! I feel I have been on the road so long… living out of a suitcase… always working off laptops and in other people’s studios. Now I have my space set up I leap out of bed and get straight in there. I have 40 minutes of my first solo-produced album and will imminently be releasing some singles. I can’t (even) tell you how excited I am to share these sounds with you. It’s everything I have learned so far… it’s me honouring my friends, my passions, the fraggles I have met along the way… I started making it only for fun, but have had such good feedback that now I’m totally chomping at the bit to get it out there. I’m thinking of releasing the first single on Bandcamp because from what i can see it is a direct connection to the fans. I’m also super excited about a release I have with Eddie Bitar called ‘Stronger Together’ which is out today on Spin Twist Records. it’s getting a lot of pre play from Armin Van Buren but to me it’s proper psy trance and an absolute monster I’m happy to bomb the trancefloor with. I am also writing new Shpongle vocals and working with the luminescent KUBA who is a musical magician of the wildest beauty. I had a super productive visit from Peter Deep Dive Corp, the results of which should be out there very soon. Tons of new projects on the way... have I been away long enough to have a comeback? ;-)

Do you believe in music therapy?

I wish I knew enough to answer your question… I recommend a couple of wonderful books. Musicology – Oliver Sacks and The Music of Life – Hazrat Inayat Khan. The best example I can give you personally is that when my heart was first broken after a love so deep and chemical I wondered if I would ever love again or if the very capacity to love was somehow damaged. Then I heard ‘Espanolizar’ and the whole Violent Relaxation album from Total Eclipse and I felt a buzzing energy in my heart... I loved the music. I realised then that my love experience, while shared, was not generated by the other person… it was in me and sounds made on a cold hard machine… about as far from feelings as you could get… were somehow communicating and translating waves of vibration within the human bandwidth to such a degree beyond words that I could recognise and feel love in my body, mind and soul.

Musicians are often recognized not only by their music but also by their appearance, such as their clothing, for example. You have been seen in some phenomenal stage costumes especially in the Shpongle live appearances. What role do you think appearance has in the music industry nowadays?

I have always had fun with clothing and being a performer is partly just an excuse to dress up and unleash the Meesh. I would actually love to do a Shpongle gig all dressed in black, in the dark, from the side of the stage or a pit, where all we care about is the sound but you can’t land in Shpongleland without getting completely gestonkenflapped in fluoro, feathers, strange paints and etheric goop. I’ve been there a bunch of times now so I just keep glowing. If crowned Queen of Fucking Everything I would clothe the world in Space Tribe prints and soft raw fabrics. I think society’s attitude as a whole is changing toward appearance and we are embracing our differences. We want to be comfortable in our own skins... the original Outfit. Travelling through Asia and particularly Japan I was struck how much more effort people put into their appearance, in some cultures the face you present to the world is like your commentary on it. You show respect to other people by putting your best foot forward. If I dressed in Space Tribe all the time it would probably look a little weird at the garden centre… HA… I’m kidding I DO wear Space Tribe ALL the time and I’m snuggling into my pink dragonfly winged cape of wonders right now! Joshing aside… I hate the idea of pressure on young people to adhere to ridiculous false standards of beauty… love yourself in all your expressions… life is beautiful.

A decade ago there were but a few women in the spotlight on the scene, but nowadays you’ll often find at least one female performing at an event and there are also now more female-only events popping up. Do you think that the electronic music scene is still a man’s world?

I have just returned from Boomtown Festival where there was a solid and most excellent female contingent on the decks. Maybe it was just my timing but when I left the psy forest I would say 50% of the time when I returned there was a girl on the decks. That is a first for me and a very happy occurrence. It really is balancing out and there are so many more rocking women energising dancefloors with their vibe and music. It’s not a man’s world. AI is watching. The lean machines are all but taking over. Speaking music may be our only hope for communicating with them. although… we do look pretty funky dancing if you can’t hear the music and maybe the art of the machines will be too different to ours to comprehend but sometimes when my Logic crashes it gets stuck on a loop doing something I did not program that sounds wonderful… I like to think it’s teasing me to catch up.





And a few for fun:

What would your superhero power be?
The ability to reveal cosmic truths with loving clarity to anyone ready just by touching their face (or hearing my voice?).

Who is your style icon and why?
Olli Wisdom obv.

What’s your favourite cocktail?
Something with sherrrrberrrt.

If you were stuck on a desert island and could only take 5 albums, what would they be?
Nirvana – Nevermind
Enya – Watermark
Linton Kwesi Johnson – Bass Culture
Brian Eno – Ambient Music For Airports
Tsuyoshi – Deck Wizards

If someone were to play you in a movie about your life, who would you choose?
Amanda Plummer

A perfect day for you begins with ....
Making music
and ends with…
lucid dreaming


Much thanks for your time Michele and we look forward to seeing you in Australia in November x


Thank you and your readers for the support and love.
~See you at Earthcore!




You can find more about Michele Adamson in these pages:



Facebook: facebook.com/micheleadamsonrocks

Twitter: twitter.com/micheleadamson

Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/micheleum



Exclusive interview & earthcore international PR:

Robin Triskele
Triskele Management
https://www.facebook.com/triskelemanagement

Editing and intro:
Tara Hawes
www.facebook.com/DJFlibbertiGibbet









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