Adam Mitchell is one of the top international representatives of industrial techno and rave culture. If anything can be said for him it’s his virtue in staying faithful to his style for almost 30 years, and although he is an American producer, this approach has always been linked to both the American techno scene and the European electronic scene.
He goes by Adam X, however, he also has a few more alias’, most notably ADMX-71 and Traversable Wormhole. In this interview, we look to talk about his projects, career and most recent work.
– Hi Adam, first and foremost thank you for your time, it’s a pleasure to talk with you. A few artists have subjected the electronic music scene to change in New York over the years, how has the city evolved in the last three decades?
The biggest difference between the scene from when we first bought techno to NYC until now is that back then the scene was very grassroots based meaning most everyone involved grew up in NYC. In the past decade and some years most of the people actively organizing events come from other cities, towns and countries which has made the scene way bigger and more varied. Also with crime down and gentrification really changing the city lead to the local government there being much more accepting of parties and allowing for new clubs to exist. In the late 90’s the scene crashed very hard due to do a right wing government who saw parties as nothing more then drug haven’s.
– Throughout your career, what has EBM meant to you? How did you discover this genre?
EBM is just one genre of out of many I love in electronic music. It just happens to be I was pushing this sound in techno long before it came trendy in techno. In fact other then Terence Fixmer and Thomas Heckmann and I there were no others. So I get recognized for my accomplishments in being a pioneer of mixing the sound of EBM with techno but by no means and Im exclusively playing or recording music in this genre.
– What do you think of current EBM?
Truthfully there is not much I like, most of it I find is under produced and the basslines are too simple for it to have the appeal that the original EBM has on me but of course there are some in the very new wave of artists who do it great. My favorites being Crystal Geometry, Fractions, Alessandro Adriani, Phase Fatale. Then there are legends like Rhys Fulber from Frontline Assembly, Terence Fixmer who still are around doing it properly.
– The concept of techno has been globalized, perhaps too much, how do you think this has affected it, has it become banal?
I preferred it more in the early 90’s when every country and city had its own regional sound. The music coming from different places was so much more unique then. Now it feels that the environment that one grows up around doesnt have an effect on their music like it did back then, that globization has influenced their sound more then where they’re actually from. This in return creates a lot of same sounding techno.
– Why did you move to
The scene in the USA in the aught decades was close to death, no way to survive solely on music at that time in NYC. Music is my life and so I decided to go where I could enjoy my life which is here in Berlin.
– You created two other aliases parallel to Adam X in 2009, Traversable Wormhole and ADMX-71, why did you launch these two projects simultaneously?
It seems you missed the third one. “The Secret Initiative”! Hahaha. Work commenced on all these projects in 2008 , 2009.
I never had recorded solo under different aliases and during this time I wanted to try some new styles out , ADMX-71 being downtempo , Traversable Wormhole being a more deeper spacial sound then Adam X industrialized/ techno and The Secret Initiative leaning more to 1990’s techno styles. So that is why I recorded under various names. The timing of release of all of them was just coincidental.
– You published Audiobiography in 1998, your first album, and as the title says it’s a sound reflection of your life. The concept of Recon Mission is more extensive, from inexplicable phenomena such as the Bimini wall to theories or search works, what exactly influenced you in making this piece?
Recon Mission has not one influence. Each track is influenced by a different subject. The lyrics in the song Recon Mission itself is about me doing an illegal activity and surveilling the police while doing so while some songs like Bimini, Tales Of Mystery, Earth Base one are about unexplained phenomena’s on earth.
– In 2018 you also released ‘Societal Decline’, ‘The Secret Initiative X’ and ‘The Secret Initiative Anthology’, as Mass-X-Odus and The Secret Initiative, can you tell us about these two projects?
The Secret Initiative is a take on old school techno , acid house styles from the early to mid 1990’s mixed and sculpted in a sleek modern production style. Mass X-odus is my hard as nails rhythmic noise industrial project. Probably the closest of all my projects to my work as Adam X.
– Do you plan to publish something new with ADMX-71?
Yes in 2020 but first this year we celebrate 10 years of Traversable Wormhole with a new album in November 2019
– L.I.E.S. was the latest imprint of an ADMX-71 release, how is your relationship with Ron Morelli and what do you think about his label?
Ron Morelli is one of my closest friends. That is La Familia ! I don’t like everything LIES releases namely the lo-fi recordings but with a catalog that big there are very many I do like. I especially like more of the labels releases since past 4-5 years.
– Sonic Groove is close to its 25th birthday, have you planned anything for this milestone?
Technically it will be 30 because the original shop was Groove Records in Brooklyn and the original label was Brooklyn Groove Productions which released my first solo records. Sonic Groove we opened in Manhattan in 1995 , so I have to figure how I want to celebrate all this time gone by, 25 or 30! For sure will see some anniversary parties next year!
From Industrial Complexx, we want to thank you for your time and congratulate you for your great career so far.