Robin Adams

Glaswegian troubadour Robin Adams could be one of the city’s biggest hidden treasures - he's been inviting us into his enchanted world of melancholic storytelling since 2009.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 2 Apr 2014
  • min read
Glaswegian folk troubadour Robin Adams could be one of the city’s biggest hidden treasures.

He has been inviting us into his enchanted world of melancholic storytelling and gentle acoustic soundscapes since 2009, and is now preparing to release his fourth studio album, The Garden.

Over the years Robin has built a small army of devoted fans, who are hooked on his gentle melodics and authentic roots.

Like John Martyn and Nick Drake before him, they appreciate his nifty way with a guitar and his knack for turning the ordinary into the sublime.

So far, official recognition has come in the form of the 2009 Billy Kelly Songwriting Award (for Robin’s debut album Down to Reverie) and 2012 The Burns Song Award for his EP Pushed and Pulled.

Latest set, Wilt, brings a darker edge to his songwriting and is only available through Robin’s Bandcamp page.

Meanwhile, upcoming album The Garden will enjoy an official release later this year, thanks to funding from Help Musicians UK, which has recently bestowed him with the Emerging Excellence Award.

We spent time with the committed folkie to learn more about his influences and discover the source of his inspiration…

I first started writing music because…
I heard great music all around me as a kid. My parents were in a cult folk rock band in the sixties and seventies called String Driven Thing. My dad was always working away on a song and my mum would harmonise with him. I felt like I knew the process before I even began writing.

I have been making music since…
I was a child. My older brother fronted a garage punk band and so I followed in his footsteps and started my own little band. There was a TAC Scorpion mixing console and a 16 track tape machine in the room next to our bedroom so we used that set-up to record our demos on spare tape reels lying around.

My music is…
Mostly acoustic. I've been told I have a melancholic sound. I finger pick a lot, experiment with tuning and always look for a unique hook in a song. Lyrically, if I'm coming from a personal angle then I'll be very direct, but usually if I'm inspired by an artist, a poet or a book I've read, the lyrics can become less accessible, more impressionistic. I think that's natural.

You'll like me if you listen to…
Melancholic acoustic folk music I guess. I'm sometimes compared to Nick Drake, John Martyn and even Neil Young. That's a huge compliment for me but I'd rather be recognised for having my own voice and sound.

My favourite venue is…
The Old Fruit Market in Glasgow. It's still got all the old fruit market stall signs around the sides of the venue from back in the day people would go there for their groceries. Such a great atmosphere. It's not so big and vast that you feel isolated from the performers but it holds around 2000 people and still has that feeling of intimacy.

Music is important because…
It's a massive part of being human. It helps us express our emotions and energy in ways that other creative forms couldn't possibly. It helps us connect and identify and gives us strength. It helps unify people in important causes and keeps us in touch with our history and tradition. It has the power to underline an entire generation's youthful energy. It's by far the most powerful art form in my opinion. Unfortunately as powerful as it is for good, it's also equally vulnerable to exploitation and misuse.

My biggest inspiration is…
Anyone who lives or has lived for their art with no artistic compromise. Anyone who has worked to find their own voice and who gives themselves to their art. Anyone who's more involved in pure expression than the need to impress or fit in.

My dream collaboration would be…
To work with Nigel Godrich or Rick Rubin in the studio I think.

To try me out, listen to my song…
Sun Behind the Storm, Be Gone or for something darker Metamorphosis.

If I wasn’t making music I’d be…
Writing stories, painting oil on canvases and animating.

In 10 years time I want to be…
Working away in my own recording studio and making many more records. And travelling the world performing my songs.

http://robinadams.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/pyobin/videos
https://www.facebook.com/robinadamsband
https://twitter.com/RobinAdamsMusic