[Part 1 of 2]
Adult. has been making electronic music for a few years now, creating a sound that’s recently become popular to imitate. They’re certainly not the first band to push the limits of the electronic sound, but they’ve managed to combine their love of punk rock and noise bands with their skill of producing complex danceable beats. The result is dark, paranoid and compelling.
And their live show is impossible to ignore. Singer Nicola Kuperus stomps around the stage, demanding attention with her cold militant lyrics as Adam Lee Miller jumps out from behind a laptop, picks up his bass and rocks as if he’s in the heaviest punk band ever. Adult. has often been criticized for being pretentious or arrogant, but Kuperus and Miller are anything but. They’re just two people with plenty of anxieties who still know how to have fun.
Prefix Magazine: How’s your mini-tour going so far?
Adult.: Part 1: Adam Lee Miller: It’s going good, I can’t complain. We’re traveling with great bands, and it doesn’t really get any better than that.
PM: Do you have any major plans for when you get off the road?
Adult.: Part 1: ALM: We’ll probably just rest. We spent some time getting some songs for this mini tour, you know, and we worked a lot before (the tour). So we’ll probably just rest, and then the holidays. In the new year we’ll start working on some new songs in the studio.
PM: There’s some new music in the works?
Adult.: Part 1: ALM: Well, there’s one seven-inch that’s going to come out in February, I’m guessing. It’s a split label release between Ersatz Audio and Cass records. We did a cover of the Detroit band the Dirt Bombs, and the Dirt Bombs did a cover of us. So it’ll be a double-sided split seven-inch.
PM: Do the Dirt Bombs have a different sound than Adult.?
Adult.: Part 1: Nicola Kuperus: Yeah, they’re way more rock-oriented. Detroit rock.
PM: Where does the inspiration for your music come from?
Adult.: Part 1: NK: A lot of it just comes from life, but people would probably never know that because it’s kind of convoluted.
ALM: A lot of the lyrical content is obscure metaphors. They don’t have a specific read so they can be more personal for the listener. The music itself is more like us trying to look for the next level and to not repeat ourselves and not repeat what’s going on. We’re trying. [Laughs.]
PM: What are you guys influenced by musically?
Adult.: Part 1: ALM: My main influence is Jonathan’s feet. [He points to Jonathan, the band’s sound technician, as he changes his socks and cleans his feet.] Hey it’s cool. We’re mainly influenced by Throbbing Gristle and the fact that they never did what you expected them to do. We’re influenced by a lot of the SST and those kind of do-it-yourself, let’s-get-in-a-van-and-tour bands. We’re influenced mostly by motivation, more than by sound.
NK: I would agree with that. We’re more influenced by ideas and ideals.
ALM: That was really good; we’ll have to use that again. [Laughs.]
PM: Who else do you like to listen to?
Adult.: Part 1: NK: We like to listen to a lot of stuff.
ALM: Pines of Nowhere (Jonathan the sound guy’s old band).
NK: The only thing we really don’t listen to is country, but we even like Johnny Cash. Before we got here we listened to Au Pairs and before that we were listening to Mission of Burma.
ALM: Husker Du, that’s who was in the car today.
PM: How do you feel about other bands borrowing from your sound, something that you have created over the past few years?
Adult.: Part 1: NK: I think it’s cool because that’s the point of art. You can only hope that you do something that will inspire someone else. One thing that I do feel a little bad about that’s not necessarily because of us is that we get a lot of demos that are robot-based and we’re really not robots.
Adult.: Part 1: ALM: It’s just sometimes frustrating because we spend a lot of time with lyrical content, and then we get a demo about robot sex. I don’t see the correlation.
NK: We’re really a lot deeper than that. I feel bad. Maybe people don’t get it. We’re actually kind of sarcastic, but we do have some things to say.
PM: How serious is your music to be taken? Are the lyrics to be taken literally, or is it tongue in cheek?
Adult.: Part 1: NK: Some of it is literal. There is definitely a lot of sarcasm.
ALM: We wrote this song on our new album called "We Know How to Have Fun" as a reply to so many people trying to pigeonhole us as very serious people. Yeah, we take what we do very seriously, and it’s our life, but we can also have fun.
NK: Besides that, there’s a lot to be sarcastic about in the world.
ALM: So we would do a song like "We Know How to Have Fun," but then put it to the most funeral-march beat. The people that say "Oh, they’re arrogant" don’t get it. And they won’t get it, and that’s okay.
PM: So you do stuff like that to fuck with those people?
Adult.: Part 1: ALM: Yeah, and we don’t make music for everybody. I think that’s something that’s going on right now and it’s kind of unfortunate. So many bands are riding this line where the only response you can have is "Yeah, that’s cool." I want our CD to be on at a party or a coffee shop, and for people to say "Wow, who’s on?" or "God, can you please change the disc."
NK: Yeah, like "That is like an annoying fly buzzing around my head. Can you please turn it off?"