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Singing Adams
Steven Adams

Article written by Ged M - Nov 29, 2010

Singing Adams is the new band of Steven Adams, former frontman of much loved/missed The Broken Family Band, and not to be confused with his former side project The Singing Adams, which released the Troubles album on Track & Field in 2005. He’s now joined forces with a number of people well-known to us in indie-world: Melinda Bronstein on drums (ex-Absentee and Wet Paint), Matt Ashton on guitar (formerly of Saloon and The Leaf Library) and Michael Wood on bass (ex-Michaelmas). They share some of the features of The Broken Family Band – the melodic indiepop and witty/ cruel lyrics – but given their musical pedigrees, they also sound a little more “indie” (and I swear I hear a little rap influence on at least one song). They were great at End of the Road, rocked the Windmill and sold out the Lexington recently and haven’t really started yet; Singing Adams’ first single, ‘I Need Your Mind’/ ‘Amateur Reactions’ is out on Monday 6 December on Records Records Records on 7” vinyl and download, while they’re playing End of the Road’s Christmas shindig at XOYO on 17 December. Give it up then for Steven Adams, who spoke to us on 27 November 2010.

SXP: When The Broken Family Band finished, did you have a burning desire to slap on the greasepaint and get straight back onto the stage or did you have to think about it first?

Steve: I wanted to do something different even before we split so the songs had been coming for a while. I did give myself a couple of months off to clear my head before actually getting a band together though. I wanted to avoid hopping straight from one thing to the next, but I didn't feel like stopping.

SXP: Is the fact that so many people loved The Broken Family Band a help or hindrance to establish Singing Adams?

Steve: It's good. So far we've been happy to trade on the connection. It means that a lot of people check out our band or offer us shows or whatever, which has saved us some legwork. This is obviously a different group, with a very different sound and approach, so some of those people are going to be disappointed, but I wrote and sang the songs in that group and I do the same in this group so there are some glaring similarities. The rest of the band are happy - it's nice to realise you're onto something special in the practise room and then have a load of people already curious about it. If people liked my old group but they don't like this one that's fine... because lot of people who didn't like what I was doing before are already getting into this.

SXP: We’ve seen the members of your new band over the years playing in other bands that we’ve loved (in fact, we’ve seen all of you watching each other at various times in their previous bands). Is Singing Adams a culmination of some long, mutual unconsummated love affair or did you all just happen to be available at the same time? And what do you like about them?

Steve: The first time I saw Melinda play drums I wanted to be in a band with her. I'd known her for years through touring with Absentee and hanging out drunk in dressing rooms. She used to just play keyboards and sing then. I love her voice. We have lots of mutual friends and I always had fun around her so it seemed a no-brainer. I think Mel took some convincing at first but she'd probably deny it. Michael and I had already played together, when I got a band together after my solo record a few years ago. He's someone that I think anyone getting a band together would want, really enthusiastic, really musical and dead good at keeping everything simple. Matt I'd known the longest, from back when he was in Saloon. I'd always hoped we'd end up working on something together. I really admire how he finds his way into a song, and he's got lots of pedals so he must be good. Matt and I have the same speaking voice, which causes a lot of confusion. Probably the best thing is that we all like each other. These guys didn't know each other before this, but we all get on so well. It's gross.

SXP: You do feel like an amazingly laidback band – what ambitions do you have collectively?

Steve: I think we're pretty laid-back when we play, but we have our moments. I'm really amazingly uptight. I want us to sell as many records as possible and play to as many people as possible. We're not about to make crap music just to get some success, but I want as many people as possible to hear this stuff ‘cos they'll probably like it.

SXP: The Singing Adams (with definite article) was a solo project in 2005. Why did you just drop the “The” for your new band when the rest of TBFB went for a proper rock name in ‘the Judge Reinholds’?

Steve: I just wanted a shorter name, that was it. I couldn't ditch 'Singing' or 'Adams'.

SXP: And we’ve heard you play ‘St Thomas’ from the Troubles album but are you going to go back to any other songs from that time?

Steve: Thinking about it. Some of them feel like they belong to another time and should stay there, but there's a couple we'll drag out. Matt and Melinda still haven't heard that album. I think they hate me. We'll do ‘Minus Nines’ at some point - for me that's the lyrical equivalent of letting my trousers fall down in public and Michael's got a killer bassline for it.

SXP: From what we’ve heard live and on Myspace, Singing Adams has a more indie sound than TBFB. Have you consciously tried to change the way you write or play to make the distinction between your old and new bands?

Steve: We gave up on one song because it sounded a bit too like my old band, but that's about it for the conscious decisions. We're making up the aesthetic as we go along, which frees everyone up. I'm writing songs to be played by a group of people who are still finding their way, instead of for a band where everyone's role is pretty much set in stone. I did all the singing in my last band, whereas these guys can all sing. We like singing together. That's also gross isn't it?

SXP: We saw you do a great cover of Herman Dune’s ‘Going to Everglades’. Are there other songs you intend or would like to cover?

Steve: I think we will do other covers, but it's easier to get excited about your own songs. 'Everglades' is one of my favourite songs though, perhaps more for the words than the music.

SXP: In all that time climbing the greasy pole of pop, what lessons have you learned for Singing Adams?

Steve: Don't get stuck in a rut. If you want to create things you have to push yourself. Don't pretend you don't care when you do. Give the people a good time.

SXP: Finally, it’s nearly December and everyone gets all misty-eyed and reflective. So do you have any musical highlights this year and tips for 2011?

Steve: Big Deal should do well, and they got started around the same time as us. Dan Mangan's doing a new album so hopefully he'll back in the UK playing some bigger shows. Magoo have finished another unbelievable album - they really are the great lost psychedelic band of our time. Dan Michaelson & The Coastguards made one of the best albums of 2010, so I can't wait to see what they do in 2011. Wet Paint, Melinda's other band, they've got a new album out. Isn't there a new Brakes record due? I'm waiting on the next Akron/Family album. Kanye West should do well. Our album will be out sometime early next year. It's called Everybody Friends Now and it's fucking brilliant.


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