#98 - Ade Fenton (ADE 2017 special)
With the new podcast, we find out just how Ade has rocked Birmingham’s Atomic Jam for so long. Fusing tough, no-nonsense techno with industrial sonics and brooding atmospherics we find Ade carving up Dave Clarke, David Meiser, DJ Funk, Rebekah, Joey Beltram, Terence Fixmer and Surgeon’s classic ‘Badger Bite’ amongst Jon Kennedy, DJ Amar, Oliver Kucera and Tachini whilst giving us a preview of Advanced 50th release, Ade’s ‘Manipulator’. As a pre-cursor to the biggest dance event in electronic music, Ade does ADE in style!
Ade last released in 2011 as an independent techno artist and built his name upon the very foundations of the industrial sound, becoming one of the leading exponents of the scene throughout the late 90s into the millennium via his and Paul Smith’s Advanced Records. Culminating in multiple BBC Radio 1 features, over 40 single releases, albums and remixes released across some of the world’s finest techno labels alongside a full DJ schedule that demonstrated his global recognition.
For the last decade Ade has most notably worked alongside electronic music icon Gary Numan. He has now produced four critically acclaimed albums for Numan: Jagged, Dead Son Rising, Splinter and Savage, with Artrocker Magazine describing Dead Son Rising, which Ade also co-wrote, as "one of the great dystopian rock albums of all time".
Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind) was released in October 2013, scoring Numan his first Top 20 album in over 30 years. The album enjoyed widespread global acclaim, with many critics hailing it as the finest album in Numan’s career. Its success meant Numan and Fenton would soon be back in the studio again working on the follow up Savage (Songs From A Broken World). Released just last month, Savage entered the Official UK Album Chart at number 2, delivering Numan his highest chart placing since 1980 and again receiving rave reviews.
Alongside his work as a record producer, Ade has produced numerous scores for film, TV and advertising. His recent projects include an original score and soundtrack album, composed alongside Gary Numan, for 'From Inside', an epic animated film released by Hollywood's Lakeshore Entertainment.
Ade has also formed a partnership with multi-instrumentalist Tim Slade, specialising in the creation of original music for Film, Television and Digital Media. In 2016 they completed original scores for the Investigation Discovery/October Films produced thrillers ‘Angel Of Decay’, ‘The Chameleon’ and ’The Head Hunter’ (all currently airing on US TV screens). In 2017, the pair have completed an original score for British horror film ‘Nails’, which receives a theatrical release in November 2017 and composed original music for the forthcoming TV series ‘Kiss Of Death’ and ‘Eight Days That Made Rome’.
Ade Fenton’s ‘Manipulator’ EP is released 20 October on Advanced Records featuring remixes from Ben Long, Madben and Gemini Brothers.
Q&A with Ade Fenton
1. How did you approach the mix? Was it a different process to how you would DJ in a club?
A little bit. I thought I’d let the tracks play out for a bit longer in the podcast, whereas when I was playing out, it’d be a more intense experience.
2. As a DJ, where is the balance between reading the crowd and playing what you want?
For me, the balance was always determined by where the promoter stuck me on the bill. On the odd occasion I was on early, I’d keep the pace and intensity down, but most of the time I’d be playing in the middle or the end of an evening so I could go full force. That seemed to be what the audience wanted, so yeah I guess I played what I wanted most of the time.
3. ‘Manipulator’ is your first techno release in sometime. How do you view the scene now, compared to when you started out 20 years ago?
It seems to be in a very healthy place. Obviously, as record sales have dropped off, social media now plays a big part in keeping the scene as vibrant as it is. I must say, it seems more corporate now than it was, but if that helps to push it to new levels of popularity, I guess it can’t be a bad thing.
4. What were your first clubbing experiences like? What were the key clubs / venues in your early music education?
Amazing, it was all I lived for. I was clubbing 3 times a week until producing and DJing became my profession. My friend Michael and I used to travel up and down the country to as many techno clubs as we could. We had some truly brilliant nights at clubs like Atomic Jam, The Orbit, Voodoo, Lost and tons of others. I miss it actually, but we were talking about it recently and both agree that we were so lucky to be experiencing the rise of something that we loved doing so much at a time when it was new.
5. In the late 90s a remix project saw many key techno producers such as Dave Clarke, DJ Hell, Claude Young, Robert Armani and Dave Angel remix Gary Numan tracks. So as the UK electronic pioneer is held in such high-esteem by the techno community, your first experience of working in the studio with him must have been a bit of a pinch yourself moment?
Fuck yes. I remember him sending me the vocal stems for the first track I did for him and I was in my studio with my hands on my head thinking “it’s Gary Numan’s fucking vocals!!!!”. I was a nipper when Are ‘Friends’ Electric? came out but I had posters of him on my wall, so you can only begin to imagine how it felt to be producing someone you’d idolised for years.
6. Carrying that on across 4 albums, how has your writing partnership with Gary developed since ‘Jagged’ in 2006 to the recently released UK chart hit ‘Savage’?
Jagged, Splinter and Savage were all written by Gary and produced by me, Dead Son Rising I produced but we wrote it together. Our working relationship has gone from strength to strength over the last 10 years or so and I think the success we’ve just enjoyed with Savage says a lot about how much we get out of working with one another. Added to that, we’re also close friends so you have the benefit of having a great time whilst working.
7. How does your writing partnership for TV and film scores with Tim Slade differ from your collaborations with Gary and other artists?
With the production, the songs are Gary’s, and he employs me to produce an album that’s cohesive and of the highest quality, commercially and artistically speaking. With the film and TV work, Tim and I work on the composition and the production of the music together, usually with guidelines set out by the film’s director. The reward with the film work is two-fold, meaning that when you’ve composed a piece of music for a scene and brought it to life, you have both an audio and visual reward.
8. It’s been a while since your last techno release. Do you still feel part of that community or do you feel more like an outsider looking back in?
Definitely the latter, although working closely with Dave Clarke means I’m still heavily involved in what’s going on.
9. Describe a perfect ‘non-music’ day?
On a beach with my family with my iPhone turned off.
10. Which previously released film would be your dream job to re-score?
EPM Podcast 98 Tracklist – Ade Fenton
Tiago Onez - State Of Grace (Jon Kennedy Mix)
Rejects (Dave Tarrida Mix)
Dave Clarke - Charcoal Eyes (Glass Tears) (Terence Fixmer Remix)
Ade Fenton - Manipulator
Tachini - Aaibaarheid
The Subdermic - Powershift
Trunkline - The Mole
Zeta - The Plantworker
Bjarki - I Wanna Go Bang
Rebekah - Into The Black
Terence Fixmer - Striking Patterns
Energun - Cold Voice (Ade Fenton Remix)
EjwT feat Plastique - Eris
David Meiser - Black Geometry
Trunkline - Is It Funk?
Kris Goad - Miss Italia Goes To Berghain
David Meiser - My Game
Jon Kennedy - White Noise
DJ Amar - Andromeda vs In The Mist (DJ Ze Migl Remix)
DJ Funk - Run UK
Surgeon - Badger Bite
Anti Gasmask Techno Militia - AGTM 10.1
Oliver Kucera - They Be Jackin’
Rebekah - War Cry
Joey Beltram - Set Ups
Jon Kennedy – 404