Getting To Know – Admlithi
A&A – Hi Admlithi, for those of you who don’t know tell us about yourself and how are you getting on with lockdown?
Hi there, thanks so much for premiering my new video.
I am a solitary music making factory from Aberdeen in the North East of Scotland. Showing my age here but I began making music aged 12 when I traded in my Spectrum Plus 3 for an Atari ST. I picked up a package with a sampler and a bright red Yamaha keytar in a closing down sale in a local computer shop and that was how it all began.
As I got older grunge exploded and I got more into making guitar music, initially on a karaoke machine which in time was upgraded to a Tascam 4 track and so on.
Admlithi sort of happened by mistake. I had developed severe problems with my nervous system, lost most of the use of my left arm and hand and was living with chronic pain. I figured that was my musical career over so starting selling all the instruments I could no longer play. Then one morning I spotted an old Technics keyboard in a skip and had to grab it and see if it still worked. Most of the keys didn’t work but the built in drum rhythms did and a couple of them were kinda cool in cheesy 1980s sort of way. The thing was massive and I didn’t want to keep it so I sampled the beats and inadvertently created the drum tracks for what was to become my first album ’Tyrants’. Feeling I had to do something with the beats I bought my first real synth with the stringed instrument sale money and just played the synth with one hand. I suppose that was the birth of Admlithi right there.
Lockdown-wise, as a notoriously anti-social, autistic hermit it hasn’t affected me as much as some. I would be spending most of my time shut in my studio whatever was going on in the world. I feel lucky in that respect. It is all gradually starting to feel more normal now but during the first few weeks going outside felt like I was living in a painfully long episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. The way the situation have been dealt with here and in the US is truly beyond parody and my heart goes out to anyone suffering as a result of this.
A&A – How would you describe your music?
I refer to it as ‘a mixed bag’. I don’t consciously write weird music or straddle genres, I just do what comes naturally but my influences are many and quite varied which sometimes comes accross. It is definitely synth driven, mostly electronic, occasionally funky and quite often bleak. I try to craft uplifting electro-pop but it just sort of goes wrong somewhere along the line.
A&A – We are delighted to have the video premiere of your new single ‘Radel’. Tell us about the song and video?
I suppose Radel is about passing through life, remembering happy times and trying to tunnel back to them from where you are only to find blockages, things have changed and opportunities have dried up.
The video, made recently under lockdown conditions in my studio features some hand drawn animated loops by the hugely talented Micah Buzan. The artwork represents the cycle of life, nature and technology.
A&A – ‘Radel’ was a working title named about a car boot purchase. Tell us about that?
Another happy accident, I purchased what I originally thought was an odd retro 1980s radio from a car boot sale for five pounds but turned out to be an electric tanpura (an electronic drone/rhythm device manufactured by Radel India). I got it home, plugged it in recorded the first rhythm it played and saved it as Radel as a working title but ultimately I grew fond of it as a title so it has remained.
A&A – Did you have a musical upbringing? What do you remember listening to when you were a child?
When I was five I used to listen to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album a lot. I was heavily into Star Wars and I was fairly sure Bowie was an alien. We only had two cassettes in our house a that time and the other was Elton John. We had some vinyl but the tapes I could listen to in my room. My first walkman was the real game-changer for me, I took it everywhere. My first real musical influence in my youth was my uncle, Mike who played various instruments, it sounds silly but up until then, I hadn’t really realised that normal humans could play music as I had only ever seen the strange collection of New Romantics on Top of the Pops. Another huge influence came later from my cousin Theo who, one holiday, simultaneously introduced me to Prince, Eurythmics and Fun Boy Three. My mind was blown.
A&A – Who are your influences now?
After the release of my debut album, a few reviews popped up online describing the music as ‘darkwave’ and another comparing it to ‘John Foxx era Ultravox’. I must confess I wasn’t aware of Foxx’s work and had to google the term darkwave but this has led me to discover some fantastic music. My autistic brain tends to get fixated on one artist, sometimes one song so I have mostly been listening to John Foxx’s extensive back catalogue whilst exploring the kingdom of darkwave. Sort of reverse engineered influences.
A&A – We love discovering new music here at A&A. Who have you been listening to recently?
There is so much great music online right now. I find Soundcloud and Bandcamp particularly rewarding. At the moment I am listening to several great Scottish artists – Repeated Viewing, Alec Cheer, Noma, Portland Vows, The Scottish Enlightenment, Haworth Hodgkinson, Solace of Mind, Whyte and Hate Colours. From Germany – The Laetitia Moon, from France – Darko’s Aufhebung (literally listening to this now) and from England – Dakota Suite.
A&A – It’s so difficult to answer right now, but when we are out of this current situation what are your plans?
The first thing I would like to do is visit my family and hug everyone I love other than that I would like to seriously consider ways of performing my music in a live situation if of course there are any venues left by then.
A&A – If you could describe Admlithi with one song (not your own) what would it be and why?
I’m going to say ’The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum’ by Fun Boy Three.
I had attempted various musical projects over the years but Admlithi began only when I shed any attempt to deliberately conform to what I saw as preset expectations within music (verse chorus etc) and equally self-imposed limitations (too cheesy/predictable). Once I abandoned these concepts and let my crazy true self take over was able to be free musically. I realise this is not in any way what the song is about but in some way it captures the essence of what led me here.