There is an interesting movement happening in the music industry. We have all seen it, and most are very opinionated about it… The EDM Revolution. Love it, like it, hate it – regardless, it’s here and thriving. I recently had the good fortune to spend a few very interesting days with SONAR X3 users Adventure Club; one in LA, and one in NYC, and I can honestly say that I think these guys have figured out [some sort of] a new model of the “music industry.”
Truthfully speaking, I really was unsure about what our interaction would be. I understand the EDM scene from afar and surely respect it, but I wasn’t sure what actually goes into the work behind the scenes of an EDM artist. SONAR is used by Composers, Songwriters, and Producers of all genres, but when Cakewalk found out that Adventure Club, a heavyweight EDM act was using SONAR 8.5, we were pretty intrigued. I had heard of the duo strictly from their online presence and charting activity, but I had never focused in on any of their productions. Their popularity alone on social media told me there was something different and unique about this artist, and my assumptions were correct.
If you are not familiar with Adventure Club [“AC”] they are a Canadian Elecronic Dance Music duo, composed of Christian Srigley and Leighton James, and based out of Montreal, Quebec. The duo formed while attending high school in Montreal as a hardcore pop-punk band, but later decided to move onto the more electronic sound of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) after simply getting bored with the pop-punk sound. The first song to put the duo on the map was their remix of the song “Daisy” by the American alternative-rock band Brand New, which was put on The Hype Machine, an MP3 blog aggregator website. After this track resonated deeply with EDM fans around the world, the duo was off to a solid start with a solid online fan base and foundation. What separates this group from other EDM acts is that they both are accomplished musicians with a great knack for music production in general. This translates into very solid tracks which they produce on their own in SONAR X3.
A truly memorable moment for me was my first interaction with Adventure Club in Los Angeles, CA. Luckily I was in town at the same time the guys were there on a creative sabbatical, and a quick phone call with their manager brought me to the industrial part of the city where Brooklyn-type loft structures prevail over the quintessential Los Angeles abodes. While walking up the 4 flights of stairs, I just had that feeling that I was going to be in for something unique and interesting. After entering the loft and climbing one more set of old wooden stairs, I entered through a passageway that opened up to one of the most impressive views I had seen in LA – I thought for a moment I was back in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
This is where I first met Christian of the duo, and to my surprise he was just as excited to meet someone from Cakewalk as I was to meet such a great new artist. It so happens that Christian had been producing music on SONAR for quite a while. After talking for a bit on the roof and marveling at the great view of LA, we moved inside to a project mobile studio they had setup for a creative workspace. This is where I got a good dose of reality regarding the work and dedication that goes into an Adventure Club production. After Christian picked up a guitar and starting playing some serious riffs was the moment when I also realized that Adventure Club is not a sample-dropping, button-pushing outfit – it was instantly obvious that this guy had music and melody running through him in a very exceptional way.
One of the many favorite parts to my job is showing people hands-on the features in the newest build [software release] when they are coming from an older release. Listening to what Christian had done musically in SONAR 8.5 was incredible, and I knew that X3 was going to give him the playing field to create music in a more dynamic unique environment. Sure enough, after installing X3 on his machine, we started going through all the new features and I could see the light bulbs illuminating in his head on what he was going to be able to do in X3 compared to SONAR 8.5. From the ability to instantly audition, drag and drop any audio from any of his drives, to the quickness of the workflow utilizing the ProChannel and Docking tabs, I could tell that Christian’s wheels were turning.
After a day’s dose of Adventure Club and X3, I left the loft with a lot of respect for this group. I also got the sense that they were onto something very promising in terms of their music, their fan base, and their approach and outlook to the “music industry” in general. I was very excited to watch and hear the development between SONAR 8.5 and SONAR X3.
Fast forward a to another warm summer in New York City, and I was fortunate to get the word from Christian that not only was Adventure Club absolutely and positively entranced with SONAR X3 compared to 8.5, but their new music was bringing them to a sold out show at the prestigious “Governor’s Island Beach Club” in the city. This venue is quite a special one as it literally uses the NYC skyline as its backdrop. In fact in order for one to enjoy a concert at this venue, you have to actually take a quick ferry from lower Manhattan, but it is still considered “NYC.” I knew Adventure Club was gaining momentum with new music, and I also knew this was a popular venue, but I don’t think I was prepared for the magnitude of what I saw that night.
Thankfully we had been comp’d tickets in the VIP section, because the regular entrance just to get on the ferry was over 2 football fields in length. Once we got on the ferry, we could start to see and hear the concert which was in full swing, and when we got off the ferry was when I really got a dose of reality on what the “scene” is like at an Adventure Club show. The place was packed and electrified to say the least, and it was great to hear such a dynamic range knowing that it had been created in SONAR X3. In fact according to Christian and Leighton, their use of SONAR in the EDM world has enabled them to sonically break out of a cluttered pack of artists who all use the same techniques to achieve a similar sound. SONAR is a program that has many possibilities to create in different ways, so we look forward to hearing how Adventure Club keeps pushing that envelope on future releases.
Adventure Club just may have forcefully stumbled upon a new model in the music industry that is working for the time being. At this concert, and for the first time since I had worked at major labels, I saw some parallels to back when things were different. I heard some great music, I saw some seriously compelling visuals, and I witnessed over 5,000 dedicated fans having an absolute blast with no holds barred. The group is also utilizing their massive fan base to work with charities. I learned that in between my LA and NYC visits with the guys, they had joined forces with Electric Family and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to bring together one of the largest gathering of volunteers the establishment has seen. In fact, it was the first time there was a full volunteer staff. Between the music, the fans and the goodwill, we look forward to what Adventure Club will do next.
“With the rise of electronica bands in Europe and the United States alike, Adventure Club stands out amongst the genre with their song “Thunderclap.” In the track, the bass drops at the right time with just a dash of reverb, cascading spiraling beats, and echoing beats that transcend into Adventure Club’s very diverse sound. This Montreal duo credits the program they use, Cakewalk’s SONAR, which isn’t used by many electronica, or EDM artists. Along with their cultured way of making music, this program seems to add to their widespread success. Already playing at Ultra Music Festival in 2013, and Electric Daisy Music Festival, I think Adventure Club is quite an adventure already.” ~Papercutmag.com
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