Adam japanilaisessa INROCK lehdessä
INTERVIEW: YUKO KATO
It’s been a while since we last spoke to Adam. Last year, after his high-impact, glamorous show in Japan, Adam toured Europe and returned to Los Angeles, and is now in the process of recording his next album. During his tour, we had arranged for an interview with him, but unfortunately the interview had to be cancelled. This time – perhaps because he was comfortably settled at home – the elusive Adam took the call right on the dot and gave us a great interview as usual.
INROCK: Adam, it’s been a while!
Adam Lambert: Yes, indeed it’s been a while!
I: The Japanese fans have been wanting so much to see you again.
A: So have I! I can’t wait to visit Japan again.
I: And when will that be? (Laughs)
A: Next year surely. My album would have been released by that time, so I’m sure it’ll be next year.
I: Is that so? Well, let’s cut to the chase and talk about the album. You’re in the midst of recording the album, am I right?
A: Yes! I’ve already been working on the album for three months now.
I: Three months!
A: Yeah. This time, I’m writing a lot of songs on my own. In fact, almost all the songs have been written by me. I’ve been working with various producers and songwriters; noting down ideas, melodies and lyrics. It’s really shaping to become an exciting piece of work!
I: At this point, are you at the stage where you’re picking the best songs from the ones that you already have? Are you at the initial, middle, or final stage?
A: I’d say I’m a little past the middle stage – I’ve recorded about 25 songs now.
I: Wow, I’d love to hear them, please!!
A: Ahh… well… let’s see about that (laughs).
I: Darn, it’s so hard to wait…!
A: Well, the album will probably be completed in October, so…
I: Is that so? This time, you didn't want to have a hard deadline, I guess?
A: Yeah. This time, perhaps you could say that it’s a matter of allowing things to take their own course. But really, it’s most important that the music is fantastic, thus there hasn’t been a hard deadline. And which is why I haven’t been rushing on the album, but instead, have been taking my time to bring in elements that I think are important, which will enable me to make fantastic songs.
I: Indeed. This is going to be album number two after all and “sophomore jinx” frequently comes to mind.
A: Yes. That’s why there’s a constant pressure surrounding this album, and in reality I’m feeling a little of this pressure. However, at the same time, for this album I do have more time to work on it; furthermore I think I’ve also learnt a lot over these past two years.
I: What do you think you have learnt?
A: I’ve learnt various things about myself, and as an artiste – so many things.
I: Things that you have learnt about yourself?
A: Yes, things about myself, and also lots of things about my audience. For instance, what they like, what they want to hear – things like these. That’s why, this time, I think I want to combine these two things together to produce better music. The first album was produced in a blink of an eye – an exciting, adventurous undertaking that was the best for that period. However, it also took place at a time when I had recently attained sudden fame and was still wrapping my head around it. There was a lot to learn then. Now that I’ve toured around the world, seen the world with my own eyes, and through that, grasped how many people from different countries are watching me, I’ve come to understand more deeply than ever who I am and who my audience is.
I: Indeed. I’m really interested to know what you’ve discovered about yourself. I think you’re great as it is.
A: I’m happy to hear that, thank you! However, it was really quite shocking to be suddenly noticed by so many, many people; it definitely took me some time to adapt to it. It’s a great thing and I’m enjoying it, but it’s definitely a little stressful.
I: It’s stressful, but enjoyable?
A: Yes, there’s stress! But it’s also enjoyable.
I: Do you feel a certain pressure not to disappoint your fans?
A: No, there’s no pressure in that regard at all. I’ve met a lot of my fans, and can feel a connection with them. And that’s why I’ve come to understand what are those things I would like to share with them through my songs.
I: That’s very interesting. Through this album, is there, for example, a statement that you wish to make to everyone?
A: Yes, lots of it! However, that’s something you’ll have to wait till October to discover. (Laughs) (Terra: COCKTEASE)
I: (Laughs) But couldn’t you share just one out of the several that you have?
A: Generally speaking, this album’s theme is about the search for oneself. No matter how old you are, whether you are a man or woman, no matter your background – I think that everyone is in the process of finding out who they are, what makes them happy or gives them a sense of stability. This time, the subjects of many of these songs are about the search and the discoveries made – whether it be happy or sad. It could be about the joy you experience during an “Aha! Look at what I’ve discovered about myself!” moment, or “Wow, I can’t believe I was able to make a connection with that person” moment. Or, it could be about the sadness you feel when you can’t seem to understand yourself or make a connection. There are songs about both of these aspects.
I: Will the album contain answers to your own discoveries about yourself? Will we be able to hear the results of your own self-exploration in this album?
A: Yes, I think this album will probably tell people more about who I am. From the first album, you were probably able to learn a little about me – but the songs on that album were mostly glittery, fun songs. It was an extremely theatrical, fun album to make – and something I really wanted to do at that time. However, for this album, I wanted it to be much more personal – something that would allow people to know more about who I am inside.
I: [On that note] in another interview, you’ve said that you wanted to make this album extremely personal. What sort of personal things have you written about?
A: It will be about various things I feel for personally – such as how I think. Extremely personal things. This time, because I’m writing my own songs, it’s natural that these aspects emerge more than ever. From within me, ideas and song lyrics have been pouring out, so as it stands now this album has become a personal one. (Terra: I suspect he probably phrased this better in English; in Japanese it sounds fine but translated to English it’s a bit weird.)
I: When it comes to what artistes define as “personal”, it usually is about love isn’t it? It’s a subject that’s easy to relate to.
A: I agree. However, what’s important for me is not only to let people know about me, but also to pen down feelings and emotions that could be felt universally by anyone. Everyone seeks love. And that’s why, in my own way, I want to tell people about such things. I’m sure everyone at some point desires to experience fun and joy. Anyone will have moments of loneliness, question their existence and significance on this earth – and wonder why they continue to live way they do. Anyone.
I: I’m sure they do. For the previous album, there wasn’t much time for you to write your own songs. This time, the songs will be ones that you co-wrote with partners won’t they?
A: Yeah. For the previous album I wrote five songs. However, I think this time all the songs will probably be ones that I wrote.
I: All the songs! This album is going to be just like your child isn’t it? (Laughs) I’m sure it must be very precious to you.
A: Yeah! I feel like I’m repeating myself, but this time I really do have more time to spend on the music. It’s not just about being able to carefully think about the songs, but also the amount of time I can devote to the vocals. For me, this enables me to create a different level of work.
I: The previous album was extremely glamorous. With this album I’ve heard that this aspect is going to be restrained?
A: I still love showy presentations and fashion – this hasn’t changed. As an artiste, this is one of my strong areas that I think will continue to persist. However, without a doubt, this time it’s going to incorporate more reality in the overall mix – much more realistic. The first album was abundant in imagination – overflowing in the fantastic and a myriad of colours; it felt a little like floating in space. This time it’s going to be…closer to Earth.
I: “Closer to Earth”…? That’s difficult (laughs). I guess the only way we can understand that would be to experience it when album is released.
A: Exactly! And that’s all I can say about the album too! (Laughs)
I: So rumour has it that you’ve been working with various people such as Ryan Tedder (One Republic vocalist), Sia (female Australian singer), and Christina Aguilera. What’s true and what’s merely a rumour?
A: I’ve been writing songs with Ryan Tedder and Sia, but not Christina Aguilera, which was nothing more than a rumour.
I: (Laughs) How did that rumour come about? That would have been a splendid combination!
A: I don’t know how the rumour originated, but recently she just released a song with Adam Levine (Maroon 5 vocalist/guitarist). Perhaps it was just a confusion between two “Adams”.
I: (Laughs) That Adam Levine!
A: Yep, a different Adam! (Laughs)
I: Recently, didn’t Adam Levine make some comments on your song that saw him on the receiving end of your fans’ wrath? (Editor: On the music audition show, “The Voice”, Adam’s song was performed by one of the contestants. Adam Levine, who was one of the judges commented, “I’m pretty sure, although I’ve never heard that song before, that you probably sang it better than the person that sang it originally.”)
A: Hmm… That was probably a misunderstanding. I don’t think there was any deep meaning to that. Just as he commented, he probably didn’t know anything about the song.
I: Yeah, I’m sure all he wanted was to praise the performer of the song, and wasn’t intending it to be an attack on your reputation. I guess it just wasn’t a very skillful way to handle it. (Laughs)
A: Yeah, I don’t think he really intended it as an insult. I think everyone was a little oversensitive on this issue.
I: I’m sure it’s just as you said. He’s a person in the limelight who’s seen by everyone.
A: Nevertheless, I’m really happy that I have fans that care so much for me. In this job sometimes things can get really tough, so I think it’s wonderful to have fans that are so supportive of me.
I: But Adam, I think that your fans are exceptional.
A: Yes, I do think that they’re exceptional too.
I: Last year in Tokyo, your show took place over two days, and everyone went really crazy for you! (Terra: The show was actually three days – I remember cos I was there ^^)
A: Yeah! That was a really wonderful time for me!
I: We received a ton of letters and emails on you!
A: I’m really happy to know that!! I can’t wait to go there again.
I: Yes. From the way I look at it, your Japanese fans must surely be the craziest in the world, don’t you think? (Laughs)
A: Yes, everyone is wonderful.
I: Do you have any special memories of Japan, or interesting stories to tell?
A: Hmm, let’s see… I was busy working and didn’t really get to go out much. But I did get to go shopping for a bit, which was really fun. As I was walking from Shibuya to Harajuku, I got to see the clothes that young people on the streets wore and really enjoyed that. I thought that their fashion reflected effort and was full of passion and imagination – it’s fantastic that young people are expressing themselves in that way. Really wonderful.
I: By the way, as you write your songs now, are you already thinking about, say, the concept for your next tour?
A: I have started to think about these things. But right now I’m really more focused on the album. I guess you could say that the tour will be an extension of the album; the look and sound of the album – everything is linked together. Since the previous album was extremely theatrical, the tour was also theatrical. Everything was glam wasn’t it? It was a love letter to my favourite artists of the glam rock era from the ’70s to early ’80s, such as (David) Bowie and Boy George. This time around though, the album is going to be more modern. Perhaps you could call it a next level, but it’s more of a modern style I think. It’s more current than retro.
I: I see. Which reminds me. Is it true that you are inspired by the artiste Adele?
A: Yes, I love Adele.
I: Do you think that the direction of your music is in any way influenced by hers?
A: I think my album will have a more electronic sound than hers. However, if you were to ask me what is the number one thing I’ve been inspired most by her, is that she’s reminded me that what’s ultimately most important is the “voice”. She’s the greatest proof of that – everyone craves her voice. Even without using sound effects, beats and special synthesizers, she’s reminded me how a song can be strong by carefully infusing it with emotions and feelings, and a great vocal quality. Without a doubt, Adele has reminded me that this is really what’s most important. Her voice is incredible.
I: Well, (for sure) everyone thinks your voice is unreal. (Laughs)
A: Thank you. (Laughs)
Recorded in Los Angeles on 28 June.
1) With boyfriend Sauli Koskinen.
2) Adam making an appearance at the 28th Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Hollywood.