Ade is a New York City based singer/songwriter and producer . The multi-artist’s music cites eclectic references from Beck to Bjork to Weezer, and his creations straddle just about everything in-between. April 23rd, sees the release of his debut album Midnight Pizza via Trickwork. The release includes a list of talented guests including CJ Camerieri (Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens) and Rob Moose (Bon Iver, Phoebe Bridgers), Alex Sopp, Hideaki Aomori, Gabe Cabezas (yMusic) and Steve Marion (Delicate Steve). The album was co-mixed between Ade and Greg Tobler.
Northern Transmissions had the Opportunity to chat with Ade from his home in New York City.
This interview was condensed for print:
Northern Transmissions: Hey, Ade! Thanks so much for doing the interview with
Ade: Thank you for doing it with me!
NT: New York City, is obviously one of the best music towns in the world. What have things been like these days?
Ade: To be honest, I kind of stopped checking the numbers after a while. About a year ago, I was actively checking to just see how big everything was going to get. Last summer, they kind of started to open up outdoor dining. I live in the City, and in that area, all of the local restaurants built a lot of decks and outdoor patios for people to eat. So, ever since last summer, it’s kind of just been a block party. In a way, it was initially sort of alarming but something that was interesting was that during the Black Lives Matter protests, there was no uptick. So it was just an incredible piece of information – simply that masks work. Us musicians are still waiting for concerts and everything to happen again, but other than that, you can just sort of do your thing now.
NT: Would you say, the pandemic has been a productive time for you?
A: You know, I think that nearly every artist kind of just felt like “big whoop”, because this is just what we’re used to anyway. I have been quarantining since, like, 2009. So I think that a lot of us had the thought process of “This will be great. We will go retreat to wherever or simply into our apartments and just kind of do our thing. But I would personally say that my productivity was about the same during the pandemic and I would credit it to a sort of general anxiety that has just kind of hung around. I think it’s one thing to say “I’m voluntarily going on an artist retreat and I’m not going to see anybody for a few months and work” and it’s another thing altogether for that to be sort of mandated. In a weird way, you almost feel less special because you think “Well everybody is doing this sort of thing”.
NT: Your original goal, was to produce other artists. What inspired you to release Midnight Pizza?
A: Well, there’s sort of a very, very long story answer and there’s also an abridged answer to that. But the abridged version is that, I released a lot of music when I was a teenager and pretty much up until my freshman year in college. And then I just had this big freakout, and so, that basically resulted in me deciding not to sing for a number of years. Instead, I ended up focusing on becoming a producer and music education. But really sort of engulfing myself in music was a fun thing for me. And I started to make a ton of tracks and I had a ton of instrumental projects that I think may come out some day. After a while I had a handful of them and thought “when I go back to singing, I’ll go back to these tracks”, and so the first song that was written for the album was the title track, “Midnight Pizza”.
NT: What was your inspiration behind the title-track?
A: It’s kind of this grandiose, curtain call-type ballad to me. I had never really experimented with characters in a song before or changing the sound of my natural singing voice and suddenly, that just all started to click. Writing a song about my friends, and just the experience I was having on that weekend and these anxieties about “How long are we going to go out and party all weekend?” and I kind of had to ask myself “How old am I?”. So that to me just seemed like it should be the last song on the album.
NT: Everyone that is into music, really enjoy album covers, is their a story behind the cover on Midnight Pizza?
A: For half of the process of making the record, I was living in the apartment that I grew up in as a kid in the city. And after 9/11, my parents and my younger siblings, we moved out to Connecticut which was honestly a huge angsty moment for me. But in this kind of incredible way, this just left the apartment in the city exactly how it was when we moved out. So when I got to be a senior in high school and college, I started to live there again. And living there in that apartment again and seeing all the family photos, that was just an insane psychological experience to make all of this music there. It felt very healing to me in a way. So the album cover is me as a kid in that childhood bathroom.
NT: Who would be your ideal artist to do a vocal collaboration with?
A: That’s a good question. One of my favorite records of all-time would have to be the debut album from Gorillaz. I feel like a lot of people like the Demon Days record the best out of their discography, and it’s definitely a great one, but I mean that first album is just so inventive and happy and truly, literally sort of cartoonish in its production style. But I have also always been a huge fan of The Dust Brothers and Q-Tip and also the Beastie Boys. I don’t think I would personally care for somebody super recognizable as a name. I’d like to work with somebody that I think just has a good character. A lot of the Top 40 chart songs are mostly all collaborations. So I like to just make music on my own mainly but I really like rappers who are also producers and have a distinct sound in that capacity.
NT: An artist’s songs are their children, tough question, do you have a favourite on the album?
A: My favorite song hands down is “In the Alley”. The record as a whole doesn’t really have any two songs that sound the same. It really kind of bounces around which to me makes sense. But, “In the Alley” is a hugely orchestral song and it was kind of my first time working out an arrangement. It became really colorful and dense and it was a huge jigsaw puzzle of a song that when I finally put the pieces together, was greatly rewarding.
NT: What does Ade have cooking up?
A: The interesting thing about all this is that to some extent, I’ve kind of felt a little out of the game. In high school, I was a real go-getter. But the landscape really has changed a lot over the years. The weight of social media too is really big. So I have been navigating through that with this release. One thing that is exciting though, is that I am currently producing and mixing an album for another artist called Tor Miller. I’m super proud of it and I think it is an excellent record. It doesn’t sound like “Midnight Pizza” too much but you can definitely hear my fingerprints on it for sure. It will come out in the summer.
NT: Thank you so much for joining me for this interview, it was a lot of fun and it was a pleasure to talk to you!
A: You as well! Thank you for doing an interview with me Northern Transmissions!