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Adam Whittaker. Part 1

Publicat in: 04.07.2011, 07:00AM
Autor: Richard Constantinidi
Comentarii: 0
Vizualizari: 2805
Etichete: Alex Green, Amy Winehouse, Attention Thieves, Eden Music, Franz Ferdinand, Julian Cope, Kate Nash, Mark Ronson, Starsailor, The Arusha, The Damned, The Rakes, The Xcerts
Adam Whittaker. Part 1

Starting his career in the US on guitar, Adam Whittaker moved back home (Reading, England) and took the seat on the other side of the glass, producing groundbreaking UK indie artists such as The Rakes, Kate Nash, and The Xcerts, and engineering for artists such as Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson,  Starsailor, Julian Cope, and The Damned. He mixed a #1 hit single for Irish supergroup The Saw Doctors, going on to produe their debut album and has done the same for UK #1 Album Kingdom Of Rust by the Doves … in 2009.

Recently, he’s discovered a talented Transylvanian band through MySpace and is the first Industry fellow I know that flew in from London to Cluj just to see Grimus play Live in front of their home crowd.


Here’s Part 1 of things discussed that night (the 13th of March, 2010) at a local Pub before the show.

CZB: Why should I want to discover Attention Thieves!

Adam Whittaker: Well, first of all because they will be the first band I work with under my production company, Eden Music (you know, because it’s the bite of the apple kind of thing … in Paradise). It’s Rock’n’Roll. It’s obviously naughty stuff!

I’ve worked with a girl (who is passionate about the music) for many years now and she will be doing the PR work. I really wanted her to work with me, so I dragged her into this production company. The main goal of this production company is to find and help new talent to find record deals, and produce their music.

So, the first of these bands is Attention Thieves, which is from a town not far away.

I do not want to refer to Reading as a suburb … it is roughly 30 miles away from London and it’s quite famous because of the Festival held every year. So, it’s kind of got a heritage of music and other things. It’s the biggest town in Britain. It tries desperately to become a city but fails miserably. It’s very close to London. It’s easy to get in and out and it’s more affordable than London.

To me, working with Attention Thieves is really exciting. They have really strong songs, which I think is the most important thing. …And they have a singer, Alex Green, who can sing. This singer was actually in another popular band, that promoted a technical kind of Metal … they’re called The Arusha (math metal, deathcore screams, jazz timings).


Now, basically that band has been winding down, and basically he’s been working around it with Attention Thieves.

Basically, Attention Thieves sounds something like a cross between Franz Ferdinand and maybe Foo Fighters, so it’s a little bit quirky, with kind of a heavy guitar – well, heavier than most pop.

One of the main reasons we want to work with this band, apart from the fact that they play well, have a good front man and have good songs is the fact that they’re one of the hungriest bands I’ve ever worked with. If most bands go around for people to do things for them, this is the kind of band that pulls you up every day, asking you

  • what’s going on?
  • what can we do?
  • can we help?
  • what should we be doing?
  • We’ve written some new songs, do you want to come down when we rehearse and listen to it?

They are very Pro-Active and they have a desire to go for it. A lot of bands aren’t like that.

CZB: How soon will I read about Attention Thieves or how soon could I listen to their album on the internet?

Adam Whittaker: As we’ve discussed today, you will understand that there are still some things that have to happen for a band to come through. We’ve started recording already and pretty much have finished the first few songs … we hope to get things on the road by the beginning of summer. They are contenders for the opening slot at the Reading and Leeds Festival this year. These are Sister Festivals in the sense that if a band plays one day here, the next day, they will play there and vice-versa.

Therefore, I want to have this band show up to the Media and to the Labels as quickly as possible.

Once they get these two festivals confirmed, that is when we release the single, which will be on all the relevant radio shows and that’s when we will contact the record companies and say Yes, this is Our project. Do you want to do something?

That’s the way things work.

CZB: I understand you are an In demand producer. How many job requests do you get and how many projects do you actually work on during a year?

Adam Whittaker: It varies. The thing is I do lots of things. In almost every field these days it’s very difficult to make it work personally. You make that change, working in the industry, doing things you have to do in order to make a living, pay your mortgage or your rent and your bills on a monthly basis. So, to get around that, I do a bunch of things, like I have worked with other producers, I will go work on their projects, I will mix different things, I will make random things if I can fit it into my schedule. I will never say no. No matter what I do, if there is something I can help in doing, I will do it.

At the end of the day it’s all about the artist. It’s not about me; it’s not about me making something sound good, or whatever. It’s always going to be there in the first place, under some shape or form; I can only enhance it.

CZB: You help other people to realize their potential.

Adam Whittaker: Yes, That is part of the job. The role of the producer is expanding.

CZB: Enhancing and accentuating the good parts of a song…

Adam Whittaker: Yes, the way I would describe it is you join a team for a certain amount of time. They are a very close-knit thing. You know …they drink together, they work together; they know each others jokes, they complete each others sentences, and then the rest is politics they had with each other …like you married my ex-girlfriend, I used to do … you know, there’s always some kind of scandal like that … and also, there’s a lot of mindfulness about each others contributions and how each reacts in certain situations and that’s very unhelpful sometimes when it comes down to getting the best out of something. I approach a lot of things in the clearest way as possible. I don’t really care very much about anything, apart from the impact it has … you know, am I bored yet?

  • Is this boring
  • or is it catchy?
  • That doesn’t make sense.

I’m not interested in who wrote what guitar part that has to be in this song.

I’m not interested in waiting for a minute for this awesome intro that they wrote in the rehearsal room. It would be over before I could get into the song

I come in and I say to people, well, you know, I’ve got no attachment to this. I didn’t write it; I haven’t been living with it for six months and I can tell you my gut reaction is … and a lot of factual opinions are a point of commercial considerations, when it comes to things like radio playing. I know that it can’t be … five minutes long. I know that if you’re just sitting there waiting for a minute and 30 seconds for the first chorus, the record company executive might just push STOP before it gets to that point.

I kind of bring that kind of experience into the projects, having done those things, and having seen what works and what fails and judging by my own mistakes as well. I’ve participated in that point (of record company discussions) with a lot of people.

CZB: How many years have you been doing this?

Adam Whittaker: I’ve gotten involved early on. I played myself in a band. You go through this self-betterment process and I was always the one who cared the most. I was always thinking

  • how can I do this better
  • how do we change that
  • it doesn’t sound right…

CZB: You were a perfectionist.

Adam Whittaker: Yes. It didn’t take me much to realize that I enjoy that process probably more than I liked being in the band. So I went into the Recording part of the business soon afterwards.

March 13, 2010

Cluj/Napoca, Romania

When we return to the Second Part of the Adam Whittaker Interview (in 3 days), find out more about the beginning of his career as a musician, as a guitarist and as a part-time American.

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