Exclusive Interview: Adam Sky discusses early beginnings, career in Asia, and future plans
Australian producer and DJ Adam Sky is currently one of the industry’s biggest names. Hailing from the city of Melbourne, Sky has become one of the most supported artists especially within the Asian region. Previously named as “DJ Modium”, he has continued to progress toward the higher ranks of the business, with top-notch productions such as his reboot of Sebastian Ingrosso and Tommy Trash’s “Reload” and his remix of Dannic and Sick Individuals’ “Feel Your Love”.
Sky has also gained an immense amount of success behind the decks, holding a couple of residencies in Asia’s most notorious nightclubs. In addition, he has toured across the globe with some of the electronic music scene’s prominent DJ’s including Paul Oakenfold, Fat Boy Slim, and Daddy’s Groove. With these many accolades thus far in his career, Sky has clearly become one of the most-sought after talents in an international scale.
Talking about his early beginnings, his successful musical career, and his future plans, Adam Sky recently chatted with We Rave You and you can check out the exclusive interview below:
You’ve been in the music industry for some time now; What initially got you interested in electronic music? Do you have a previous background in music?
Yes it’s starting to get along now!
Although I’ve only been really in the game for the past 5 or so years, I have had a passion for dance music for as far back as I can remember. I know the exact moment actually I fell in love with house music – it was at a high school dance thing many years ago back in Australia. Instead of there being a rock band like there often was at those things, on this particular night they had a DJ and the DJ was playing this thing called “house”. Fell in love with it immediately but it wasn’t until a few years later that I started taking a more technical interest in dance music and the technology behind it.
I wouldn’t say I have a background in music per se – I’m 95% self-taught, and high at school I messed around with everything from drums and bass guitar to even playing the flute (thanks to my mother for that!). I’d say the majority of my music experience and learnings are from me playing around in a studio or on music computer tech.
Given that you are an Australian who has managed to top charts in Asia, how does it feel to be so accepted and popular in a foreign region?
To be honest, it was totally unplanned to be that way. Originally about 90%+ of my fan base was in Asia but this has shifted to about 75-80% in the past one to two years as UK, Australia and the US following have grown. I think the growth with the base in Asia is in part because of the ease of access to the market via social media but also for the enthusiasm for ‘EDM’ like music. The Asia markets love social media and given the scale, it’s relatively easy to get exposed to a large population.
But it has been humbling to see that grow and for sure, it’s what’s propelled things for the past few years. The genres I produce and play are growing fast in the Asia region especially in the commercial dance scene. It’s interesting to watch as Asia is 6-12 months behind the US and the with the US being 6-12 months behind Europe, and that means that you have time to pivot and tune the sounds you play and produce.
Interestingly though, the half dozen tracks I’ve had make Beatport Top 100 charts and other similar lists, were house and tech house so whilst I’m more known for my bigroom sound when playing live, it was the tech house heads in my fan base in Asia, and then obviously Europe and US, who got those tracks into the top 100s.
To top off that question, how would you compare the dance music scene in Asia to that of back home in Australia?
There are definitely similarities but Australia is unique in that it doesn’t really follow the European or US markets directly, and is often running its own parallel thing. That’s not to say that what works in the US doesn’t work in Australia, but there are styles in the Australian market which are unique. Overall I’d say Australia has a super rich musical heritage with a lot of unique sounds coming out of there, especially with Melbourne being one of the true underground and rootsie musical centers globally.
Asia is by far is more commercial but with its size, it means there’s an appetite for everything. Techno and proper house are growing fast in Asia and now there are a number of clubs with scale, and dedicated festivals which cater for these sounds. A few years ago you didn’t see this. But I have no doubt that commercial dance music will continue to grow at the pace that commercial genres tend to.
You’ve also produced under the alias, “DJ Modium”. Can you tell us a little about how you transitioned from there to Adam Sky?
There’s a long story, but the short of it was I wanted something more personal, and a change to reflect my evolving sound. The old name came from my earlier foray into electro music and for anyone whos been around long enough in electronic music production would remember the previous format from MP3 files, MOD files which is where half the name came from.
But originally it was MÖDIUM, which then just dropped the umlaut. All got too hard with sponsors, promotors and so on so … ADAM SKY was born, which is combination of my name and a family name.
You’re hosting a globally renowned radio show with over a million monthly listeners, which is absolutely massive! How do you manage to keep things fresh and satisfy all those ears? Do you have any future plans for “The Guestlist”?
One of the reasons I do it monthly is basically for quality over quantity so I think this helps with the show getting a following. I may change this of course but for the moment I think it’s a big draw card doing the monthly show. I also like to think that the tracks I choose are both relevant but also ‘big’ versions of what’s out there. My live sets I tend to layer a lot so that there’s not a lot of empty space where the floor or crowd isn’t dancing to a bassline. So, I try to keep that same vibe in for the show too as a teaser.
As for future plans – I’d like to see it continue to expand and I’m always on the look out for more radio stations around the globe to syndicated it. I’m also waiting to see what happens with the likes of Soundcloud and their paid podcast service – I used to run the show on there too but got fed up with the take downs, despite the tracks coming to me from many of the labels’ promo pools. Don’t get me started on that!
Last year you released remixes for Sebastian Ingrosso & Tommy Trash’s classic “Reload” and for Will Sparks’ “Another Land” which went on to receive support from the likes of Afrojack, MAKJ and more. What made you decide to remix those particular tracks? The remixes were incredibly successful, how do you feel about all the positive feedback?
2015 was the year for remixes! I still find it humbling when people are digging music I create, whether it be remixes or originals. It’s quite surreal infact.
As to what I decide to remix …. I tend to go with tracks that I like in their original form or are older ones like the Reload remix, and then add my flavor to it so it fits in my sets better. And preferably ones that haven’t been done to death by others. Or if the track has a hook I like, and enough space in it to add more elements, I’ll respray or remix it. I did a unique remix of Rob Thomas’s “Pieces” track late last year also which is totally different and I absolutely loved it and really proud of it. The original is a super slow ballad in typical Rob Thomas style, but I changed it completely and it got rave reviews and big support from the names you mentioned and many others.
What do you think about the current music scene and how do you think it will progress in the next few years?
It’s amazing how much and how fast a movement this large, can change!
One thing that does my head in is people who say “EDM” is dead. I think the “scene” is changing, and the sound is maturing, but saying “EDM” is dead is myopic. EDM is like Pizza in that there’s so many flavors and styles and not everyone likes every style and not everyone needs to. There’s good “EDM” and there’s shite “EDM” but it’s a personal choice and who is anyone to say a particular track is shit because they label it as EDM?
I honestly think the scene, rather than the music on its own, hasn’t helped itself over the past few years but either way there’s no doubt that electronic dance music is evolving and not dying … it’s just growing up.
I actually think we’ll see a resurgence of progressive trance and vocal trance style tracks. It won’t be the same vibe as vocal trance in the early and mid 2000’s, but I don’t think mainstream dance music will revert all the way back to more classic house styles as some have suggested. So, at least where I’m heading, it’ll be phat basslines from the tech house genre, combined with the melodic components of progressive house and emotive elements of vocal trance.
The uniqueness of individual tracks will be introducing or weaving in elements of all the sub-genres like bass house, hardstyle, trap and so on. That’s just my two cents worth.
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Do you have any new projects on the horizon?
Second half is looking busy! I’ve Just signed to Armada a few weeks ago and that’ll spur on a lot of new work, with two tracks on their way out on that label. Have a few collabs I’m exploring with some house hold names, or at least my management is talking to “their” management, and have about 8 tracks in various stages of completion that vary between house and more progressive stuff.
I’ve also thrown my hat into the ring for the DJ Mag Top 10 this year so hoping for an entry there also!
Fingers crossed for a big second half and bigger 2017!