Adri‘s “Waking/Tide” was envisioned to be a 9-person endeavor that would have seen his would-be collaborators come together for a casual recording session. However, Covid-19 had other plans so Adri had no choice to write and produce nearly the entirety of it on his own, which is pretty on brand given that he “always had a DIY approach to all [his] music projects”.
Once the frontman of indie math rock band Amberhill, Adri saw a solo career as an opportunity to expand his musical horizons; ditching the electronic-influence of Amberhill’s in favour of acoustic jams. It also opened up more possibilities for Adri to collaborate, as being familiar with said instruments allows him to “write parts for as many people as [he] can”.
Which bring us to the crux of why Adri makes music – “to create experiences and work with other artists”. Beyond the streaming numbers and social media followers, at his core, Adri is just a guy that wants to have fun making music with his friends.
Listen to his latest single “Waking/Tide” here, and read the full interview below.
Just to kick things off, tell me about Adri. How did it get started?
A couple of months ago, a friend of mine – JJ, who runs Pink Flamingo Records was asking if I would like to release music under them and I was really flattered.
So then, I started Adri because…I like making music with a lot of people. It isn’t something I can do on my own and it’s very communal for me.
When I was in my old band – Amberhill, everything was under a fixed schedule so it was very easy to move things around. However, now everyone has kinda gone their separate ways and it became very difficult to keep a band of around 6 people due to our schedules. So Adri is a project where I can still rely on people but still keeping it solo.
Also, I don’t really like using my name, so I guess Adri is like a moniker. Cause if I use my own name it’s very me, whereas if I use an artist name there’s more space for me to do things that I normally wouldn’t do.
Since you mentioned Amberhill earlier, how much of your old band’s DNA is in Adri’s music?
I think sound-wise Amberhill was very math, indie, electric guitars…very processed sounds; whereas Adri is quite acoustic. At least for this EP cycle, I’m trying to keep it very acoustic and minimal on the electronic side. However, the approach to making the music is still very similar, it’ll still be very collaborative.
Can you tell me more about “Waking/Tide”? What is it about and how was the process like in making it?
The intention behind the song, and most of the EP, was to go back to those days where I would spend every Sunday with Amberhill at my grandma’s house practising and hanging out. I wanted to have those Sundays again.
I came out with “Waking/Tide” when I was first serving my stay home notice. While writing it and the instrumentation, I was thinking of writing parts for as many people as I can. I looked around in my musicians’ friend group and thought about what instruments I can incorporate.
For example, Qing who played the flute on the song (and was also in Amberhill) was someone I thought of, so I wrote the flute part in the song. When I wrote most of the instrumentations, I had in mind that I would be able to play live with most of these friends.
The “Waking/Tide” music video with the 9 of you on there jamming out; were those the people you hoped to initially include?
Yeah definitely! The music video was basically what I envisioned how all of us playing the song live would look like.
Turntable Thoughts :
Were any past members of Amberhill involved?
[laughs] If I remember correctly, pretty much all of them have played in Amberhill at one point or another. It’s funny cause I didn’t want Adri to become Amberhill 2.0 but I just wanted to play with friends, and all of them have been involved somehow.
5 of them – Debbie on the cajon, Qing on the flute, Joel on bass, Yi Zheng on the drums and Micah on the cello. All of them were in the band before I first went to Melbourne.
Joy, who played the bells in the video, might…not have been in the band but the 8 of us (excluding Nat) were all part of the same polytechnic course. So, if she never played in the band, we’ve probably played together at one point. People should check out the solo stuff that she’s been putting out, it’s great!
Also, Angeline, who played the acoustic guitar, is my go-to person to translate my music into formal music terms, cause I’m pretty terrible at that and she has a great ear for transcribing.
Finally, Nat sang with me on the song. Nat and I have been friends for 10 years. I’ve always known that she can sing well and I’ve been very jealous of her voice. So, I thought it would be a nice opportunity to get her to sing on it (and also to hangout).
Looking at your social media promotion, it seems like the music video was shot entirely in one room. Could you tell me more about that?
Obviously I didn’t have the studio space but I’ve always had a DIY approach to all my music projects. So I did research on how I could get a seamless widescreen background; watched a lot of YouTube videos and looked at gear recommendations. I got all the gear I needed on Shopee for $150. It’s not top quality gear but if it works, it works.
My grandma had a spare room so we just set everything up over the weekend, and everyone came in 2-hour slots to record their parts. Since there was a restriction of having 5 people over, I couldn’t have everyone at the same time.
The concept of the video was based on my work last year with a very good friend of mine – Edwin, who does lighting and sound. We used parameters in sound to affect the visuals, like the amplitude of sound to influence the transparency of the subjects. Eventually, we got a very simple fade-in-fade-out effect depending on how loud the STEM played.
With “Waking/Tide” out, what are your future goals for Adri?
The plan right now is to have a single every 2 months, hopefully. Short term plans for the EP right now would be using Adri as a way to reconnect with old friends – like Nat, while also using it as an opportunity to work with more people. I really wanna work with [Scenery’s] Ryan for the next single.
There are no real milestones that I plan to hit right now. I mean it would be nice to have high streaming numbers and social media followers, but at the end of the day, Adri will always be an opportunity to create experiences and work with other artists.