Adam Kneale, Melbourne’s creative groove producer, deep-dives into the young and effervescent stories that drive his vibrant sound.
Coming from the release of his recent single 5:21, Adam Kneale pulls out the golden threads in his work and the stories that brought them to life.
Swizzled with electric beats and intricately vivid lyrics, Kneale puts himself on the colour-bursting spectrum of music that dances in the clouds.
5:21 is all about happy experiences and moments. The picture is of someone you don’t know too well, but already thinking about all the great things you are going to do together. ‘Tell me who you are, what you like, what you do, let me pick your brain”. You want to get closer to this person and find out all you can about them.
I tried to paint a portrait of lush and fun experiences. “Dancing under chandeliers in your family’s home”, “sitting by the sunset water, champagne bubbling high”. These lush and hypothetically expensive thoughts sitting in with the sounds of guitars and organs in the instrumental were a perfect juxtaposition to me.
For whatever reason, I had Gatsby in my head and wanted to create lyrics that seemed like they were from the Gatsby story, maybe minus getting shot at the end.
Again, these lyrics are juxtaposed with perhaps contradictory following lines. “Driving to the Eastern Coast, oh ain’t no mountain high”. This is probably as pure a thought as I think I could have. On a road trip, in this case to the NSW coast, and singing old 60’s songs. At the end of the day, it is all about just great thoughts and being happy.
Middle of the Mountain
This is my favourite song lyrically and musically I have written. It means a lot to me. The story is from when I was overseas and for whatever reason wasn’t feeling particularly comfortable at the time. I was surrounded by a lot of people I didn’t know too well, but ended up becoming some of my closest friends. The Middle of the Mountain is a specific hill we were sitting on at a park one night.
We were sitting “in the middle of the mountain” and I was made to feel really comfortable opening up to some people and being super honest, and that is exactly what the song is about; “tell me where you wanna be now, tell me where you wanna go”, “I wanna know your darkest secrets”. From the line in the second verse “it’ll only be an hour till I see your face again”, the song shifts perspectives. A situation occurred that night and within an hour someone was opening up to me like I was to them, with similar thoughts of stress and anxiousness. ‘The fire storms approaching”, represents the stress that we were both having, maybe in a literal sense too, but opening up changed that dramatically.
The key lines in the song are at the end of each chorus, “In the midst of the wind, the pyramid shall rise”, and “In the middle of the mountain, we’ll both be fine”. They mean that even when you feel like there is a lot going on around you and are worried, everything will be okay.
When you have self-doubt about what other people think of you, if you think they are thinking that you’re not smart enough or are questioning you, just know your self-worth, that you are one of a kind, and that “in the middle of the mountain” everything will be fine and “the pyramid shall rise”. The person in this story will always hold a special place to me for the comfort they gave me that night, and for the same reason this song will always hold a special place.
I paid close attention to the chord structures in the songs Godspeed and Seigfried by Frank Ocean. They drew big inspiration for this song as I wanted to create a similar night-time atmosphere. I think through the chord choices in this song and the minimalistic production that atmosphere really is felt.
Although when hearing some of these lyrics, they may seem quite dark on the surface. The story behind this is really a bit of a fun and silly one. The whole song is about feeling out of place somewhere and having no idea what to do. The inspiration is from a time I arrived in Paris at the train station for the first time and I was completely lost with no phone and no ability to speak anything other than English.
I aimlessly walked around stressing for an hour trying to work out where to go and was attempted to be robbed. The lines in the bridge are “I’m out of time, but I’ve got 4 days, standing out in the crowd, like I can’t find the way”. The use of the word “time” is in terms of rhythm. I was staying there for 4 days, but I was not in time with the rhythm of the place. The following lines “cathedral walls on the floor, Cartier visions on doors”, is a reference to the walls seeming like they were coming in on me, and also creating a connection to Paris which is known for Cathedrals.
Willy Cartier is a well-known French model, and this line was juxtaposing the expectation of arriving in a place which is known to be so beautiful, like a model, but when you arrive feeling completely unsure and like the entire place is collapsing on you. These lyrics seem quite serious and dark, but really it is just a funny memory now. I remember laughing writing these lyrics, it was a stupid hour in my life [laughs].