During her three years at dBs Music Bristol, Adjua was involved in an incredible array of exciting projects. With talents extending far beyond performance and production, her creativity continues unabated after graduating. With a hectic schedule of festival performances now behind her, we sat down to see what lies in store.
Tell us a little about your journey into music production, how you first got it making music and what led to where you are now?
So my music life started with an all female thrash punk band, which my best mates and I created when we were 15. I was drumming back then. I then started getting into free parties and rave culture, buying my first pair of vinyl decks and studying music tech and performance at college. This is when my music taste started to get a little more experimental listening to lots of tech-y DnB, intricate dubstep, techno and artists like Venetian Snares, Aphex Twin, Björk and Plaid.
I went on to start studying a degree course in music tech, but it wasn’t for me so I dropped out and I think it knocked my confidence in the music tech area. For the next few years I was raving and also formed a reggae fusion band of which I was the front woman for. I began singing over tracks for other producers, working with drum and bass, house, hiphop and glitchhop.
After performing for a few years I still had the itch to pursue music production so I started to think about going back to uni. I joined Backbeat Soundsystem (an 8 piece dub reggae band), which I’m currently co-fronting, started a production duo project Eskimo Nebula (digidub/dubstep) and now I’ve finally released my first solo album!
How did you find out about dBs Music and why did you choose to study with us?
My nephew recommended you guys, and also a friend had already done a year of the course I was interested in. Both people had amazing things to say. Bristol is just amazing for bass music and is also like a second home to me, so I was sold.
Your solo album ‘O.L.V’ was released shortly after finishing your final year, and saw you leading its creation across recording, production, marketing and release. What was it like having that level of control over the project?
Awesome. Loved it. Although I definitely felt/feel more vulnerable about it. I'm still at the very beginning of discovering what my sound is. At the moment I feel like I don’t really fit in to any cliques so there's a little bit of insecurity there. It’s great that it's been received well though.
What surprises arose during the project that you’d want to warn other people about who may be considering following the same path?
When ordering physical copies of your releases always ask for a sample first! Have a very clear concept of what you want for your logo and overall branding before you go to a graphic designer. If you need funds for any part of your project get that sorted first and fast. You don’t have to do everything yourself. If you recognise your strengths and weaknesses and can bring in help for the weaker areas, that's sensible and professional.
Alongside the album release, you’ve been extremely busy since graduating earlier this year. Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to?
Yeah, pretty busy. I've been touring with Backbeat Soundsystem across the UK and Europe, there have also been a couple of live performances of the solo album and some recording with an alternative choir project I'm in called Choir Noir. I've also formed a function band for a big project next year so lots of preparing and rehearsing for that!
You’ll be setting sail on a cruise ship for 8 months at the start of the new year as the resident music act. How did you land the gig?
Well myself and my partner were thinking of ways to bring in extra income as musicians and a friend of ours who is in a Bristol band has been playing on ships for the last few years and is really enjoying it. He put us in contact with the cruise agency that he is with and that was that. I think it’s a great way of making money in the winter to totally take the pressure off our earnings throughout the UK summer season. Performing over ski seasons is another great way to subsidise yourself over summer.
It’s always great to see our alumni working in music so soon after leaving dBs. How did your time studying here help you to build your network and find these opportunities?
I've met some really amazing people and artists, the support from dBs has been great. The encouragement to move into the industry areas that resonate with you is really helpful and not only that, but to practically get out there and start doing it is invaluable.
Leading on from that, what would be your top tip for someone who has just started studying and is looking to find their way into the industry?
Do what you really love and you’ll do it best.
What advice has proved invaluable for your development as an artist?
I think the most valuable things I’ve learned have been from experience really, but I would say that whatever kind of project you choose needs to be thought about as a lifestyle choice and a financial choice too. Musicians often have so many things on the go nowadays, so making sure you don’t burn yourself out is really important.
What’s next in the pipeline for you?
I’m going to be doing more DJing next year as well as performing on cruise ships. I’m also thinking about starting an alias which is focused more on darker dubstep production. I'm looking at releasing more vocal sample packs and there may be some more music from my production duo project Eskimo Nebula in the near future. I will write another Adjua album at some point too!