Inside The Track with Adesse Versions
UK producer Kevin Gorman aka Adesse Versions started out as a simple re-edit series, with humble ambitions of self releasing a few white labels. Down the line this mushroomed into icons such as Derrick May, Larry Heard and Gilles Peterson playing his music and major record companies taking notice, resulting in a remix of Henry Krinkle for Sony Music. We caught up with Kevin to celebrate the launch of his latest EP on Toy Tonics – ‘Devoted’ and discussed the production in depth.
Congratulations on your ‘Devoted’ EP release via Toy Tonics. How is it being received in your sets? & How are other club DJs responding to the release?
Its going down very nicely in my sets thanks. I aimed for a classic feeling a la Kerri Chandler, so it fits nicely with the many things I play of that vibe. I’ve had some great reactions, I believe Gilles Peterson is into it so I’m really chuffed about that.
Tell us more about the ‘Devoted’ EP. What was the main inspiration behind it and what prompted the musical direction on this?
A good friend of mine in Barcelona, Pau Roca, suggested I do an edit of a particular A R Rahman track. I had a quick listen to it and was interested. I replayed the main riff as a bassline over a kick, then I was totally hooked. It had a Kerri Chandler feel to me, so I went with that as an inspiration. I worked out some chord progressions, added drums and then lastly chopped up some vocals from the same Rahman track. It came together quite quickly because I was enjoying it so much.
Production wise, what is it about the ‘Devoted’ track that makes it work?
Personally, I feel its the swing and notes of the bassline against the kick drum. That and the chopped up vocals that come in halfway through. Everything else sits well with them, but they are the hooks that define it.
Is there one machine, program or technique that characterizes your sound?
I mainly use samples and Ableton Live, so it’s muli-tracking through a hardware mixing desk. I separare everything through that and push levels into the red. This adds a subtle compression and a lot of crunch. It removes the digital sheen that I’m not so keen on. I also use the desk’s EQ, which has a more pronounced effect that the EQ of Ableton Live. Using a desk just makes the music come alive. I’m currently using a Soundtracs Topaz 24 channel desk.
What is the one piece of kit that you simply cannot do without?
I suppose the audio interface that allows me to separate the audio into groups on the mixing desk. I currently use a Focusrite Saffire 40. Not a high end bit of gear by any means, but it does the job perfectly. I’m an advocate of not overspending on gear. If this attitude was good enough for my musical heroes in Chicago and Detroit then it’s good enough for me.
I also rely on a really cheap Pioneer hifi. Literally 100 euros from Fnac in Spain. It has a pair of single cone speakers and is perfect for getting a balanced mixdown. If the mix sounds good on that, then it’ll sound good on anything.
Any advice for your fans on how to make it in today’s fast paced game?
Just enjoy yourself making the music. There’s no guarantee you’re gonna make it big, so you can at least enjoy the journey. Write music that moves you personally, don’t just try to write hits. If it gives you goosebumps then its likely it will others. Don’t think you are weird for liking or making something unpopular. Just go with it. That could be the next big sound.
If you don’t know where to start, begin by making edits for your own DJ sets. Learn Ableton that way. After that, analyse and study the music that inspires you, see what makes it work. Then try apply it to your own music. And be patient. It takes years and years to get confident. I’d say I was only truly happy about my own efforts after ten years.