Having called Los Angeles home for the last 12 months, guitarist Adam Miller couldn’t be happier to be back in Newcastle.
“I’m just super enjoying being in Newcastle at the moment and being able to see family and friends and go mountain bike riding,” Adam told Newcastle Live.
“I’ve done a couple of gigs which is great because in the US at the moment, the only gigs available are in places that think the virus doesn’t exist.”
On the back of a solid year of touring in the US, Adam is on the cusp of releasing his latest album Unify – another stellar and beguiling work from the instrumentalist that chronicles his journey stateside.
Check out Adam Miller’s Adam Levy below
If you’re not aware of Adam’s work, this virtuosic player has an innate ability to evoke emotion and a palpable sense of place in his playing – a fact more than evidenced on the two singles – Adam Levy (a tribute to Adam’s good mate who has played with the likes of Norah Jones and Tracy Chapman) and Shipping.
“In my mid 20s i had a brief period of singing and I did record an EP because I had it in my head that I needed to me more mainstream to succeed,” Adam admitteed.
“But to be honest it was terrible! It was so bad – my lyrical skills were useless, my voice is average. It just didn’t work.
“I have so much more to say with the notes on a guitar than I do lyrically and can explain things better without the pressure of having to convey things with words.”
During his time in the US, Adam befriended in-demand drummer Justin Glasco (who has worked with the likes of The National’s Matt Berninger, Andrew Bird, and Avril Lavigne) and bass player Joel Gottschalk who Adam recruited to round out the lineup for Unify.
“This one is the first album I haven’t recoded in Newcastle. I recorded it in LA which is basically my other home and was meant to be this year but hasn’t worked out that way,” Adam said.
“The guys on it have become really good friends. I only met them last year at the start of the year but they are just amazing. Justin is a brilliant drummer who has played on some massive hits and Joel is a monster bass player who has toured all over the world.”
While the album bears Adam’s name, he was quick to add that the album was very much a collaborative effort, with both Justin and Joel bringing a new sensibility to his oeuvre.
“Its a little bit more refined than playing with guys from Australia – and that’s not a positive or a negative,” Adam said.
“I think that we have this way in Australia as musos – we’ve all grown up playing in pubs so we have a different attitude when we attack things and those guys play in environments that are a lot quieter, I suppose, which changes the way you approach music.”
Adam, who had been heading stateside regular to tour since 2010 said the decision to make a permanent move was based purely on the number of opportunities to play in America.
However, things didn’t go exactly to plan.
“Changing where you live in you late 30s is pretty crazy and the whole year was a bit of a battle,” he said.
“When you turn up to the US, if you’re not flush with cash its hard to get a place when you have no rental history of US credit history so we didnt even have a place to live the whole time we were there. We were in short term accommodation or styaing with friends in between touring dates.”
Now back in Newcastle, Adam said that he was in ‘no rush’ to head back over adding that he always finds it hard to leave Newcastle.
The music scene here is just so amazing, I can’t stress that enoughAdam Miller
“To be honest I don’t know about going back,” he said. “The thing is the US music industry is gutted and especially the venues I play because they’re smaller. I think a lot of them won’t survive and while we haven’t received huge government help here there’s no government help there.”
While being able to see family and friends again was a major drawcard for Adam to head back to Newcastle, being immersed in the local music scene again would be a close second.
“The music scene here is just so amazing, I can’t stress that enough,” he said.
“The fact that you can go into venues all over town and see all sorts of music from amazing cover bands to really quirky… well, instrumental stuff like me is just great. And I get paid which isn’t always a reality in the US.”
Adam added: “I started playing in 1999 when I was 19 and I have watched it evolve. When I was doing original gigs back then they were terrible – no one was there they were in seedy, gross pubs – it was never good.
“But now people are out supporting things and are interested in what people are creating which is just so great to see.”
Adam Miller’s Unify is out on Friday 7 August. Head here for more info.