Memory Code The Phosphorescence of Thought EP and Sample Packpdj
Mike, congratulations on the release of Your new EP, “The Phosphorescence of Thought.” How much time did it take for you to complete the EP and what is the EP about?
Thanks a lot, Sean- I appreciate it! I worked on the EP for about two years but I re-wrote the tracks a ton of times and started new ones from scratch.
It took about 5 months to make the tracks that ended up on the EP. It’s inspired by the glow of consciousness that radiates out from our thoughts – so for each track I took a thought I had and then created a sonic sculpture to represent its glow.
How do you get ideas for your songs?
Usually a few different ways – sometimes from a sound design session where I make a synth patch that might inspire a riff or groove. Then I’ll create a few mud pies from the original synth patch and groove and chop them up to make variations and other sections. Then, I’ll blend those with other melodic and harmonic elements.
Sometimes the ideas come from timer beats that I’ve done that I feel have the potential to be a full track, so I’ll take elements from those and blend them together with the results of a sound design session.
How long have you been playing drums and how has it helped you as a producer?
Pretty much my whole life- my mom said I used to take out pots and pans from under the stove and bang on them when I was around two years old, and from there I kept going and never stopped.
It helps in a lot of ways – first by inspiring me to want to produce music. Just from listening and studying old funk and jazz records and hearing pieces in there that had been sampled in Hip Hop beats. A lot of times I was more inspired by how the producer flipped the sample than I was by the original song, like the whole alchemy of the process and everything and that made me really want to get into producing.
Then just studying and playing the drums and knowing the science behind the art is really helpful. Also the discipline that you get from practicing – I had a lot of years where I practiced the drums for 6 to 10 hours a day, everyday- so being used to that focus and dedication as a part of life and applying it to producing has really helped.
The relationships I developed with other musicians has also really helped- I’ve been so blessed to play with such dope musicians – especially keys players, so having them teach me little things here and there about music theory has really helped me out.
Learning how to listen to the big picture and all the smaller pictures at the same time- like listening and locking with the bass player for my kick drum patterns, listening to the rhythm guitar and keys for locking in the hi-hat and snare, and listening to everything with the singer or lead on top to make sure the tempo and overall pocket are on point. You can find all these little micro-pockets happening- so I just look for those and work on developing them when I’m writing music also.
Listening to classic funk rhythm sections [like James Brown’s bands, the Meters, Tower of Power] has influenced my production style. All the instruments are checkerboarded and weaved together so masterfully and there’s always such a perfect balance of notes and space. So I like to see if I can do the same thing with sample chops and bass chops in my tracks.
When I’m working on a track, I’ll take a break and just play the drums for a little while – it helps me clear my head and come back to the session with a fresh perspective.
Learning how to be in the moment on stage and interacting/responding without thinking, and getting into a flow state – that also really helps me when I’m doing timer beats or writing a super loop.
I feel like there’s more stuff that I’m leaving out. Sorry for the crazy long answer- big ups if anyone read all of that!
What other artists do you listen to for inspiration?
There’s so many – especially these days you can listen to so much dope stuff, but I’m listening to a ton of LethalNeedle and a ton of Rezz right now. A lot of the architects of boom bap like DJ Premier, Pete Rock, RZA, J Dilla, for lo-fi a lot of Jinsang, bds.u, SwuM, for bass music and sound design wizardry ill.Gates, Au5, Virtual Riot, Koan Sound, CharlestheFirst [rest in peace], Herbalistek, you [Spiderhound] and the senseis at the Dojo are all so dope, modern boom bap guys like Apollo Brown, Beat Butcha, Daringer, and V-Don, classic funk groups like the Meters, Tower of Power, a lot of the old Stax Records stuff, Black Sabbath, All Them Witches, Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans – it’s so crazy the places they could go with trios with just piano, bass, and drums
How do you approach collaborations? Do you have any advice for others who are trying to collaborate?
I haven’t done too many collaborations yet, but I’m currently working on a few tracks with other producers. Mainly I just want to have a basic idea and direction that we’re both hyped on, but give the idea enough room to breathe and allow something new to develop.
Tell us about your new product on the Producer DJ Marketplace.
It’s a sample pack called The Phosphorescence of Thought: Elements. It’s the elemental DNA signature of the EP distilled into 84 samples, including one-shots, loops, phrases, and some extra stuff like mudpies for chopping. It has basses, melodies, pads, arps, drum one-shots, drum breaks and fills, and some fun stuff like record scratches and glitchy vocal phrases. Everything is EQ’d and compressed [except the mudpies]. It’s all royalty-free and really useful, either as song starters, adding a little extra flavor to a track, or anything in between- I’ll definitely be using it a lot myself!
What can we expect from you in 2022?
A lot of new music, playing live shows in Portland and the pacific northwest area, more tutorials and other content for my youtube channel, teaching as a sensei for the Dojo, some really dope collabs, and I have a new group with Lucien Francis- so we’ll be putting out new music with that project also.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
I have a clothing company called Illuminated Raven – all the stuff is W.R.A.P. certified, so it’s not made in sweatshops and has to meet workplace regulation and safety requirements. Some of the clothes are also made with organic cotton and organic dyes. I’m working towards having 100% of the materials being organic. Check it out at www.illuminatedraven.com.
A midi pack of my drumming is available through Groove Monkee- there’s over 500 different beats and it’s all un-quantized and natural- you can check that out here.
I’m also available for online drum lessons- check out my drum stuff at www.mikeadamo.com.
I do web design, graphic arts work, and video editing/visuals/content creation – so hit me up if you need anything like that!
I just want to say also that even though there’s so much insanely bad stuff happening in the world right now, I really feel like there’s an equal amount of positivity happening that we just don’t hear that much about – like millions and even billions of people waking up and expanding into a new dimension of consciousness. We have no idea yet of the power that kind of positive collective consciousness can have and what we can achieve with it- so let’s all keep doing our light work and having love in our hearts and making it happen, and doing what we can to help each other out – I believe in us.