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Three Big Questions for Barry Adamson Barry Adamson is touring with a new LP and answering questions

Three Big Questions for Barry Adamson

Barry Adamson is touring with a new LP and answering questions

by Ancient Champion, Columnist
first published: April, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

renowned multi-instrumentalist, music composer, film scorer and superior-band bandmate

Barry Adamson, the renowned multi-instrumentalist, music composer, film scorer and superior-band bandmate, (a two-time Bad Seed and a founding member of Magazine), releases his latest solo LP, Cut To Black, on May 17th. It's Barry's first new album eight years. If the opening track, soul inflected 'The Last Words of Sam Cooke' is anything to go by there's nothing to worry about, Cut To Black will be one of the good ones. To accompany the release Barry will be on tour throughout May, supported at times at least by the wondrous Nadine Khouri (tickets→).

Barry’s recent work includes the soundtrack for Scala!!!, an acclaimed documentary about the world’s most influential and notorious indie cinema, the Scala in Kings Cross.

Even more exciting for us than all that is Barry agreeing to answer Three Big Questions from Outsideleft, put together by the OL Brain Trust...

ONE. You mention AI in the press release. How do you utilise AI in your work? And as an artist are you in any way concerned that a careful AI prompt could produce an ersatz Barry Adamson track, second-guessing what you might do next?
BARRY ADAMSON: Well it started with a program that I used to enter text to singing for the gospel choir for the song ‘These Would Be Blues’ on my new album ‘Cut To Black’ a simple five note melody and the result was beautiful. I played the five notes for each word (1) Lay (2) Your (3) Bur (4) Den (5) Down. And that became the backbone of the song. I also used AI mastering software though wish I’d’ve had more time with it before I finished the album. I’m always up for a prompt or two and if that helps me realised more of my own work and worlds that I can access, then great. I’ll take the holographic image for touring too. Hook me up to the mainframe and let me fly!!

TWO. I think you’re a kind of well-traveled, well-dressed man, but accidents can and do happen. I have some relatively lovely clothes… shredded by hooks, handles and door locks or whatever and things sometimes before I even leave my house. Even my super great tailor, Damian Marquez, a former mexican fashion designer, despairs at my inability to just get around my own house. On the road, it must be trickier as you travel. Which countries have you found to be particularly excellent in enabling you to maintain your sartorial elegance?
BA: The world really can be your oyster when it comes to needing to stay on top of your elegance game. I remember needing that pair of skin tight leather driving gloves that only could be bought in Rome (after a trip to the Vatican to buy silk socks of course) Lucky that Aqua De Palma cologne is in good supply here too. France is also great for lotions and potions to get you through. A quick trip to a thrift shop in Melbourne Australia will sort out your fifties from your sixties shirts and strides and you’ll be sticking out from the locals in no time. An empty suitcase on an American tour can see you through centuries of cool once you find stores on NYC and LA and SF that will blow your mind with ideas of dress… 

THREE. I was listening to cellist and MacArthur Genius award winner, Tomeka Reid and was thinking - oh man what a record could be made between Barry Adamson and Tomeka Reid. And that got me thinking... Is there a band, musicians left out there that you hear and think “I really want to play with those dudes. Thinking maybe, in some way something could be better…”
BA. Though I am the king of solitude and see my collaborators way away from me, I sometimes drift off with a version of myself in that post Radiohead (if it is?) Smile group. I’m particularly fond of both Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood and their film work is fraught with incredible imagination. I might fit in and unknowingly bring something to the table that didn’t occur to them. Tomeka Ried I can only bow and acquiesce before and ask, ‘How?’ With a smile across my chops, such is the ridiculousness of her talent…

Barry Adamson's new LP will be available in May
Tickets for the UK/Euro tour are here→

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Ancient Champion

Ancient Champion writes for OUTSIDELEFT while relentlessly recording and releasing instrumental easy listening music for difficult people. The Champ is working on Public Transport, a new short story collection that takes up where 2021's Six Stories About Motoring Nowhere (Disco City Books) left off. It should be ready in time for the summer holidays. More info at

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