In The Spotlight

Electronic Music Is Just Getting Started: An Interview With Adventure Club

Posted by Nick Brothers |

By Nick Brothers

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Leighton James and Christian Srigley of Adventure Club.

Getting the interview with Adventure Club was my first feeling of “running with the big dogs.” The guys were tired, but they were real.

From Montreal, Canada, Adventure Club is an electronic music duo. They specialize in “meshing dubstep’s chainsaw synths with delicate vocals and surprisingly upbeat melodies,” to make their own brand of EDM. Adventure Club has remixed such bands as Brand New, Thrice, Alexisonfire, and Metric, Flight Facilities and many more, as well as concentrating on creating original productions. After more than 16 weeks (and counting) of sitting in the top 10 on the iTunes Electronic Chart, it’s safe to say these guys have been blowing up recently.

By accident, I was allowed into the Artist Compound at Wakarusa, where I was to do the Adventure Club interview. Let me tell you, that area was dope. Here I was, this doe-eyed media member, and there were all these artists hanging out and drinking together right in front of me. There was a tambark pathway lit by tiki torches that led to an indoor/outdoor lounge area where artists could hang out on fancy furniture underneath the tents. There was a fire pit, a couple sculptures, and a water fountain. They had the nicest bathrooms around, and their own catering tent.

I ended up running into Air Dubai by chance, where we joked about how I was the new Nick that would be replacing their current drummer, Nick Spriegl. I eventually found Adventure Club in their trailer.

Q: So how does it feel coming from the Satellite Stage last year to headlining the main stage?

JAMES: It’s pretty surreal.

SRIGLEY: It’s nonsense. We got transportation, we got a hotel….

JAMES: Everything’s looking up.

Q: I want to talk with you guys about electronic music, and how it’s come and how it’s evolved, and where you guys fit in among all that. How do you guys keep Adventure Club fresh among the other electronic artists out there? The genre seems to be the Wild West of music right now.

JAMES: Yeah, it’s pretty saturated compared to what it was three years ago. We kinda got lucky and we caught the dubstep wave as it was just starting.

SRIGLEY: So we don’t really try to stay fresh as much as, I guess the way I look at it is we kinda entered the EDM world relatively recently on the scale of things. So at this point we’re having so much fun exploring it and just doing whatever we feel like, just kinda touching this area or that area because they’re all new to us. Even if some of these genres have been around for decades, to us, we kind of feel like where a lot of our fans are, in the sense that they started listening to EDM around when we did maybe, and these genres they’re touching on now. We’re doing the same thing, we’re exploring with them.

JAMES: We’re kinda learning as we go along. We don’t claim to be like EDM connoisseurs or anything. We just keep our ear to the ground for anything new that comes out or new trends.

Q: Tell me about that process. What are you always keeping an eye out for? What’s something maybe recently that really struck you?

JAMES: UK Jacket-house. I really like that sound. I’m really into that love trap kind of R&B sound. Stuff like Keys N Krates I’m a big fan of, Minnesota’s new stuff, it’s kind of like a melange of deep house and trap.

Q: So are you guys planning on going to see Minnesota and Keys N Krates at the festival?

JAMES: We leave after our set.

Q: Oh, really? So you guys are pretty busy then. Where are you headed next?

JAMES: Miami tomorrow, Vegas Saturday and Phoenix Sunday.

Q: So you just got here, too?

BOTH: Yep.

Q: God, how do you have…a day? Y’know, when you’re a rock band, you can play a seven o’clock set, and that’s totally normal, but with you guys, you’re going on at midnight? 1:30? That’s your life. Do you have to change gears completely?

SRIGLEY: There are a lot of compromises that you’ve got to make with your life. It sounds like such a breeze like, “Oh you just gonna deejay? You just get to party for a couple of hours? That’s what you get paid for?” No (laughs), you sacrifice your sleeping schedules, you don’t have a house you live in. For a heavy touring act like us, we’re on the road 200 to 250 plus days a year. You don’t have a home, you can’t really maintain relationships with people, your fitness and eating schedule sucks….

JAMES: You constantly have to be on when you’re playing or meeting fans. You don’t want to come off as a dick to your friends. So when you’re walking around you just kinda have to smile .

SRIGLEY: Not that it’s not worth it. (Laughs) It’s definitely worth it.

Q: So give me an example of a time when you started writing a song with a vocal melody in mind.

JAMES: “Crave You” all started with a vocal. We took that one line and worked around it.

SRIGLEY: We love working with vocals and just recontexualizing them. I don’t know if that’s a word (laughs).

Q: How do you guys work as a duo? So many DJs work solo.

JAMES: Christian does a good chunk of the work, he’s like the brains behind it. I just kind of come in like, “Yo…”

SRIGLEY (acting like James): “Yo, this part’s like, stupid…Oh, don’t do that.” (laughs) No, Leighton’s being modest.

JAMES: More like, he does a lot of the legwork, and I’m just kinda like I would say the vibe guy. I just put my flavor to it.

Q: What’s your opinion on what is pop music versus EDM? You hear a lot of house in pop choruses now.

JAMES: It’s weird, a lot of EDM acts are trying to go mainstream and trying to go on the radio, and a lot of radio artists are trying to incorporate a lot of EDM stuff and put them in that direction.

Q: So where do you guys fit in?

JAMES: We’re at a crossroads right now, and we’re torn between what to do. We do enjoy the popularity and all the stuff that comes with a pop single, but at the same time we don’t want to piss off our fans.

Q: How different does an American crowd feel from a Canadian crowd?

SRIGLEY: Not very different at all. The crowd in Shanghai almost feels the same, when it comes down to it. We play a song, and people dance appropriately to the style of music that you’re playing. It always ends up feeling the same. Music is like the great equalizer, y’know?

JAMES: EDM, especially, is kind of universal, globally.

Q: What are your thoughts on the future of EDM? Where is it headed?

JAMES: Promising, I’d say. Yeah, I don’t see it slowing down too much. I think we’re at that point when pop-punk became popular on the radio, like when Blink-182 was surfacing on the radio, I think we’re just approaching that area with EDM now. That just happened this past year.

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