Rising Stars: ADMNTi

    It’s a typical winter’s morning in the heart of London, the dazzling lights and bustled streets of Soho have a feeling of tranquillity for the time being, before the shoppers, drinkers and theatre goers set in. We take a seat outside the infamous Bar Italia on Frith Street, the go to coffee spot for Adam Monti, better known as ADMNTi. 

    From unforgettable peak time shows at fabric and After Caposile to his immersive warm up sets, as well as playing alongside some of his nearest and dearest as dynamic duo’s in the booth, last year really put the Londoner on the map. We sit down outside and order some coffee, before talking about how the last 12 months has felt for him, and what has been important to his development as an artist. 

    I’m immensely grateful to be able to do what I do, a lot of the time with my close friends. Not many people have the honour of travelling the world with the people they love the most, playing shows at renowned clubs and collaborating with others creatively on a regular basis. There have been some real standout moments for me playing at certain clubs as well as the shows with my extended families at FUSE and Beeyou particularly. Paired with a solid output in the studio, I’m super content with what this year has done for me” he says with a wide grin.

    It’s not a path that he has travelled alone either, far from it. There’s a tight knit community that collectively involves a number of brands and a handful of artists who have been making waves in recent years, bringing a fresh approach to the music we hear in London’s nightclubs.

    There’s an African proverb that states ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ I think this is particularly important to myself and the people around me. Growing together is priceless and every time someone succeeds, we all do. There’s a lot of talented people around me, from Jamie (Just Jam) and Reece (Laidlaw) as well as our extended family overseas that includes Julian Anthony and Aladdin!, to the Northsouth and Oscuro camps. Even within the complex where our studio is located, we have talented neighbours such as the Bizarre Traxx/Felon5 team, Ollie Rant and Voigtmann. Tam from Opia runs his store Lirica Archives upstairs too. Having this community of producers in such close quarters creates a really enriching environment.

    As we continue to talk over a couple of double macchiato’s, it becomes clear that the area we are situated in has acted as a secondary neighbourhood at times for the London based DJ and Producer.

    It’s funny how so much changes around in Soho on a regular basis, but it manages to keep the heart and soul that I have always felt walking around here. I started working up here as a runner for a post-production sound studio after dropping out of school, I ended up spending 6 years in that industry. It was an exciting time for me and probably the last career outside of music that I was really dedicated to long term. People like Eric Cantona, Idris Elba and Nicole Sherzinger would come in to do voice overs for adverts, I’d make them teas and coffees and run about Soho all day getting things for people to begin with, before winding up in the tech department as a digital librarian. I always wanted to be a sound engineer but by the time I started getting the training I was so into making tunes and playing the odd gig here and there, I had lost interest and it was the last thing I wanted to do.

    From the eastern section, where a cluster of music stores and independent recording studios emerged on Denmark Street in the 1960s, to the western side extending toward the bustling Regent Street, crowded with shoppers and tourists, Soho has provided countless opportunities and inspiration for generations of musicians and creative individuals, including today’s electronic producers.

    This opportunity is the topic of conversation as we take a stroll over to one of the few record stores that has remained over the last couple of decades.

    I would use any opportunity I could get to have a dig in Phonica, Blackmarket and Music & Video Exchange – Phonica being the only one that is still open. When I first started going there, there was a dude named Kenny that used to hook me up with stuff, he left after a couple of years and then the legend that is Luther Vine started working there. Him and Nick have been keeping me stocked ever since”, Adam says with a breath of gratitude.

    It was in these record shops that the budding selector would pick up lashings of dub-techno and minimal, as well as trying to fill the gaps in his grime and hip hop collections by sifting through the second hand bins of Music & Video Exchange.”

    Even before buying records I had the bug for finding tunes. I went to school in Croydon and wasn’t too far away from the infamous Swag Records, headed up by the team behind the label of the same name. I was far too young to go to raves at the time so I’d pick up CD packs from there that had been recorded at Sidewinder, Jungle Fever and One Nation and tirelessly search through forums for the tracks in the sets. If there was an MC on the set I would be on the edge of my seat praying that they gave away at least an artist name for the track playing. As I got older and started actually going to raves it was the same thing, staying up until the early hours searching for new tracks that I had heard on nights out or from recordings I had downloaded from various forums”.

    As we continue to talk it becomes clear how Adam’s music journey evolved. He tells me of the early years of secondary school where he and his peers would break into a vacant classroom at lunchtime with a boombox and microphone, him and his best friend Ben with handfuls of CD’s they had burned with grime instrumentals for their mates to rap over without getting caught. The natural progression into jungle, drum and bass and dubstep was imminent. Dubstep originated from Croydon and its surrounding areas, being pushed by Skream, Benga, Mala and Loefah to name a few. Graffiti had a big part in it too, going hand in hand with the soundtrack of 160 bpm amen breaks and warpy industrial sounds.

    We would run about late at night climbing fences, getting night buses, walking up and down train tracks, painting our names on anything and everything that we could around South London. It’s interesting because whenever I think about it, graffiti and making music are exactly the same thing for me. You start with an outline or an idea and begin sketching something out, then you fill it in with the key elements that give it it’s character and style, you add some other bits and pieces for more flavour and definition, then wrap it up and bring it all together, neatening up here and there to make certain parts stand out. There’s quite a few producers and DJ’s that come from that world too. When I speak to others they feel the same way about creating their art, whether it’s visual, auditory, verbal, or mixed, it feels synonymous and universal.”

    Outside of music, his relationship with graffiti is ever-present, as well as having a keen interest in writing which he says with regret he doesn’t have much time for anymore. There’s a little known fact that he was actually the first editor for Trommel when it launched, and contributed a number of articles when in its infancy, as well as dealing with a handful of premieres and free downloads. This fond memory makes him grin ear to ear, before touching on the importance of balancing a creative career with work.

    The best piece of advice I have been given in regards to pursuing this path is ‘Don’t give up your day job, until you literally can’t fit it in with your bookings and studio time’. I also read a book called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert which expands on this more. It changed my life reading that book. There are so many creatives who drop the nine-to-five to get in the studio every day, and quickly realise that they are less inspired than they were before! Forcing that pressure on your output can be really damaging to your open approach to making music if you rush it, plus I think just being out and about, mixing with people day to day when working and flexing your mental muscles in different ways provides a really healthy balance and unique source of inspiration.

    The exploration of inspiration – coupled with our discussion on Adam’s musical background and its evolution – sheds additional light on his distinctive sound, which has undergone transformation since his initial releases in 2015. In his earlier years, productions were characterised by a slower pace and a more stripped-back approach, influenced by the minimal scene’s prominent figures he admired. As an active producer over the years, certain tracks started garnering attention from trailblazers in the scene, with his track  ‘Angkor’ gaining early support from the likes of Petre Inspirescu and Alci. This earlier work can be explored in depth via the back catalogue of his now inactive label, 4Plae. The label operated for several years with a focus on collaborating with producers in the early stages of their careers. Adam mentions that he occasionally includes tracks from the label in his current sets, highlighting notable pieces such as Direkt’s ‘Caries’ and the ‘Hopscotch EP’ by Kye.

    Over time, his open-minded approach to music has enabled him to delve into further experimentation and exploration. This is evident in his solo work and collaborations, where the influences of drum and bass, jungle, and even grime can be discerned.

    I’m not really the sort of person that can go into the studio and say ‘Right, let’s make something like this’ or ‘I want to make something that sounds like them’, it just doesn’t work for me, I tried it and even when the outcome was good it just doesn’t resonate with me” he says honestly.

    For me it’s all about pulling from a mood or a feeling. Sometimes it’s from the way another piece of music makes me feel, but the end result isn’t always even comparable to the source of inspiration. For example, the track ‘Angkor’ I made was sketched out after listening to lots of Miles Davis and Clifford Brown, some of my favourite Jazz musicians. You can hear the inspiration slightly but it’s not replicated in any way, it just gave me a similar feeling and that was my interpretation in a way.

    We continue to talk, walking past one of the old studios that he once worked at. Vivid memories are shared, particularly around the time that Adam decided to get sober.

    It’s not really something I’ve spoken openly about in great detail, I think it’s important not to push sobriety in people’s faces but rather lead by example and if people need it they will feel comfort in speaking with you about it when they are ready. Attraction rather than promotion. I had been getting out of control with alcohol and substances from a young age and ended up in a hopeless place, waking up every day saying ‘It will be different this time’ but not being able to stop. Obviously there was a lot more to it, it was a dark dark time full of bad memories, poor mental health, spot of pain and probably just as much denial. When I was working here I got some help and have tried my best to put recovery first ever since, with that everything else falls into place. It also opened me up to a more spiritual way of living which I keep very personal to me, but it helped me to find practices that prepare me for each day and before playing or even making music. Life can be uncertain, so having tools to steady the boat when it rocks is absolutely fucking essential to me

    As we sit on the bench in Golden Square, we get on to the subject of Adam’s debut release on FUSE, and his relationship with the brand. Many of the up and coming tastemakers of his generation have come from the same dancefloors, and there’s really something to say about the impact that it has had on such individuals.

    For me the early releases from the immediate crew were the perfect infusion of minimal, jungle and garage, and jumped out at me when I heard them for obvious reasons. I made sure I went to as many of the events as I could, the music really spoke to me. It was at FUSE that I was introduced to one of my best friends Daniele who is now my agent. Our good friend Jamal Edwards – who remains always in our hearts – introduced us to each other at Village Underground. We went on to live together, before him and Zack set up the FDTN Agency which launched officially at the start of 2023. It was a really natural coming together of artists and feels like we are one big family, which I think can be hard to come by with the agencies of today.

    I had been sending Seb and Archie music since 2015 by which time Dan Farserelli had taught me a lot of the basics on Ableton. I managed to get some tunes over to Enzo a few years back and basically just worked my arse off. After some time he and the team decided to give me a chance to play at some shows, which has since included some very special back to backs with Reece (Laidlaw), Marlie and Voigtmann too. All the while I continued sending tunes. There must have been close to 20 tracks that I sent over as official demos – maybe more – before we all decided on the final pieces for the EP, which they wanted put on the FUSE label. The lead track is over two years old now! But we’ve kept it under wraps and I worked hard on making sure this release is varied but comes together as a body of work. Malin Genie has done an incredible job of remixing the lead track ‘Vibrations’, which is a trip as he’s someone who’s music I have followed from the get go – particularly his sludgy techno numbers with Yaleesa Hall.

    You can listen to the “Vibrations” EP from ADMNTi released last month here, another 360 moment for the artist, reminiscent of the soundtrack of younger years – Reese basslines and thick dreamy pads with wiggy vocals throughout. 

    Before we part ways and make our way towards the tube station, we touch on what’s in store for Adam in the new year and explore what listeners can anticipate hearing from him and any potential projects that may emerge over the next 12 months.

    All roads lead to Pickle Factory this Saturday for a secret B2B with myself, Enzo and Harry McCanna for the final leg of Enzo’s London residency series, Jhobei and Voigtmann are also getting some back to back action too – it’s going to be a goodun! Otherwise, plenty of shows in Europe, some new places and returning to some special clubs, as well as playing at some of my bucket list festivals in the UK including Gottwood amongst others. I’ll also be launching a new imprint which has been cooking in the oven for well over a year now, the final touches are coming together and you can expect to hear some music from me and my close crew around summertime, a lot of stuff people have been asking for too. It’s been important to build a personal concept around the label which has taken some time, but I can’t wait for it to see the light of day!

    I’ll continue working with Kepler, Jack Wickham and Boss Priester on Studio Orbit, it’s been really rewarding teaching more music production through the platform and helping others advance their skills. After the release of the Revival plug in, we are working on more incredible plug ins that can be used for creating sounds, as well as the usual breakdowns and tutorials.

    Other than that I just wish for more memory making with friends, health, happiness and growth for myself and my crew, and of course, many more late nights making new music.

    More info on ADMNTi
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