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Adam Freeland: DJs & the Rock & Roll Lifestyle

Author: Jonty Adderley
Friday, 19 October 2001
Holding off The Chemical Brothers and Grooverider to remain DJ magazine's highest rated breaks DJ in 2000, Adam Freeland remains the world's number 1 breakbeat DJ, some 6 years after emerging as 1996's latest serious contender. Internationalist, open-minded and notably down-to-Earth, he's hugely popular from the beaches of Australia and LA to his home base of Brighton, England, where he's also based his own label Marine Parade. One of the first DJs to preach the bible of breakbeat over four/four house, he's also a technically accomplished mixer and producer, well known for his 3 deck seamless mixes and technical wizardry. Numerous examples can be found on his new live album Adam Freeland On Tour' on which he adds in crowd sounds over tunes from the likes of Bushwacka, Uberzone, and his own mixes of Pressure Drop and Fluke.

"If you'd stepped off the planet for five years, then come back, the role the DJ has in youth culture has gone way beyond how anybody could have imagined." Adam Freeland speaks slowly and thoughtfully as he recalls his recent experiences touring America alongside the Crystal Method and Uberzone. Acclaimed as a DJ genius and pioneer since he burst onto the stale club scene of 1996, he's maintained his focus and commitment to breaks, building up a global niche audience of impressive scale in the process. Skrufff's Jonty Adderley tracked him down to Brighton this week where he was preparing for his album launch at the Concorde. A former high flying press officer (a fact he admitted he's sick of talking about) he also dismissed sex symbol questions, claiming 'I just wear old T shirts and jeans, man'.


Skrufff : Your press release says your spirit is 'true rock & roll', what does being 'rock & roll' mean to you-

Adam Freeland: "These days a lot of media compare what DJs do to what rock & roll stars used to do- flying round the world, staying in nice hotels and, er, all that … It's an issue the media keep bringing up, of the whole superstar DJ thing. I was touring America in the same way as a rock & roll band with the only difference being that I was playing electronic music. That didn't used to happen. Five years ago it wasn't like that for DJs. We work inside the industry so don't tend to notice as things progress over time but if you'd stepped off the planet for five years, then come back, the role the DJ has in youth culture has gone way beyond how anybody could have imagined."

Skrufff: What have been some of the more rock & roll situations you've found yourself in through DJing-

Adam Freeland: "This Crystal Method tour, man, was completely rock & roll - I was on a tour bus every day, travelling to 25 cities over 29 days. We'd do the gig, pack up, get on the bus then drive somewhere between 3 and 13 hours to the next city, then repeat, 24 times."

Skrufff: And how were you filling in the time on the tour bus-

Adam Freeland: "Either nursing a hangover or getting one. All there really is to do on a tour is to get fucking hammered (drunk). I'm not really a big drinker or caner, whatever, but having done the tour, I can see how rock & roll stars get habits. You reach the next city, go to the hotel and have a shower, do a couple of interviews, have something to eat then, before you know it, you're on stage. Then you're getting drunk and doing your set and it's all craziness for a couple of hours. The next thing you see is the crew packing up (the stage) and it's 3am, you're steaming drunk and you're back on the tour bus, off again. I'd say doing that every day for a month is pretty rock & roll."

Skrufff: How different is that from your usual routine-

Adam Freeland: "Doing that tour made me realise us DJs are quite spoilt compared to bands. When you're a DJ you've got a nice hotel and you can spend the night at the club. You've got time to find a wicked vibe, to meet some cool people then to fly off the next day, whereas on this tour bus it was a much more militant schedule."

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