What do you get when you combine a full heart, raw emotion and a pint of English breakfast tea? A batch of rich ballads, that’ll leave you full of feeling. London based singer-songwriter, Adam French (AF) holds true to the idea that emotion is the starting point for every piece of music. His poetic approach to songwriting has led to heartfelt melodies such as his recent single “Punchbag Love”. At the ripe age of 10, he taught himself guitar and later began working in a record shop. You can’t go wrong with a room full of records and a life-long staple diet that consists of legends like Johnny cash, John Lee Hooker and Nirvana. After recently finishing his U.S tour, he has released his new EP Face to Face. The result is a melodic storybook that you’ll be playing on heavy rotation.
You just wrapped up your U.S tour. What is one memorable moment from tour?
AF – The New York show was a highlight, but The first night in LA was pretty special for very different reasons, my band flew out and met me at our hotel, shortly after that, Hollywood got very real, and very weird… Good times.
Your newest song, “Euthanasia” is powerful, both melodically and lyrically. Where did you draw inspiration from for this song?
AF – I think it’s just honesty… I only ever write about things that I understand and genuinely feel something towards, whether that be a person, or the idea of assisted suicide. Euthanasia is me coming to terms with the idea of death as an inevitability. Uplifting, I know.
Speaking of powerful, Punchbag Love is another heartfelt ballad of yours. What is your song writing process like?
AF – It varies, I only ever write if I have something to say, so emotion is my starting point for every piece of music. I’ll mainly write on piano or guitar… Then lyrics fall onto whichever I’m holding at the time, I enjoy writing… It’s my release. Stress relief. Pain medicine.
Can you tell me a bit about your music background and what made you want to become a musician?
AF – I never had music in my family as such, my dad introduced me to a lot of his favorite artists when I was a kid; Johnny Cash, John Lee Hooker, Nirvana, The Sex Pistols & more… I’ve never moved away from his record collection, those albums remain my staple diet, I just enjoyed discovering more and more new music as time went by. I was in bands as a teenager and was obsessed with making as much noise as physically possible as a toddler, I taught myself guitar, drums and bass through high school, then sat at a piano for the first time a couple of years ago. I just genuinely adore playing, creating and writing music. A lot of people say that, although I often question how many actually mean it. I’ve always found solace in sound. At age 10 you taught yourself guitar and later worked in a record store.
You’ve clearly spent a lot of time surrounded by music. Who were your biggest influences and who continues to inspire you today?
AF – My dad, his dad… my boss, Dave (the owner of that record store) introduced me to a lot of my favorite bands and artists whilst I worked there. I loved it.
Tell me about your personal style, and where you find inspiration?
AF – To be honest, I think the only style I’m bothered about is transparency, I’m not going to hide behind orchestration. I enjoy recording, producing and experimenting when I’m in the studio or at my home setup, but it’s always going to be about songs and emotion. The whole point of music is to transfer feeling from one human being to another… That connection is what I’m interested in… And the more I write, the more it feels like people just me to be open and honest with them, which I’m strangely comfortable with, and find quite relaxing.
If you could transcend time into any musical period, which would it be and why?
AF – I feel as though I missed out on not getting to see Nirvana play live… So let’s say early nineties. Although, I would have enjoyed being around in Johnny Cash’s heyday… Either or would be absolutely fine by me.
You’ve played shows and supported the likes of Frances, Rat boy and Jack Garratt. Who is someone that you’d love to tour with in the future?
AF – I met Van and Johnny from Catfish whilst in LA at their album preview party… I think their music’s ace and we got on well, I think that would be a pretty good fit, but we’ll see. I’d be extremely happy if Josh Homme decided that a slot opened up at some point on a Queens of the Stone Age tour, or if Bon Iver had a last minute cancellation and I was the first name in the phone book.
Do you have a special ritual that you do before each show?
AF – A pint of English breakfast tea, 3 sugars… Normally 2 in a standard cup, but a pint is massive.
Aside from creating music, do you have any other creative outlets?
AF – I paint, and I enjoy photography. I think I’d be within my rights to say that I’m better with music though, but I find both of those satisfying too.
Your new EP comes out soon. How does it differ from your last?
AF – I think its perhaps even more personal than “Punchbag Love” etc. Darker in places too? I guess I’m more interested in how you feel it differs from my last. Let me know.
What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue music?
AF – Be yourself and try to enjoy what you’re doing. Signing a record deal means absolutely nothing, so don’t be the d*ckhead bragging about it. Go out and prove yourself to the real world, because they’re the people that actually matter, and they’re the people that actually care about you.