From Seattle, WA, the Alt-Rock/Grunge project Adams Traktor returns with a heavy-hitting single and equally shattering music video entitled "Noth'en."
Made up of JR Smith (guitar and vocals), Manny Elias (drums), Fernando Saunders (bass), Gregory Darling (keyboards), and Olda Kreycoves (lead guitar), Adams Traktor is continuously creating music that reminds us of prime-time grunge while fusing their lyrical content with heavily emotional and realistic messages.
Speaking on their latest release, "Noth'en," Adams Traktor takes us through the heaviness and emptiness of facing loss towards anything you once valued. While the song brings blistering melodies and JR Smith's sweltering vocal performance alongside Adams Traktor's grungey and dark instrumentals, the music video perfectly places the song's emotion on a pedestal.
As we press play on their single, "Noth'en," Adams Traktor opens the piece with a melancholy and grungey electric guitar melody, accompanied by a downtempo drumbeat, a soothing bassline, and eerie keyboard tones. As JR Smith powers through on the song's hook, he exclaims that he has nothing left to give after experiencing such loss and tragedy.
Touching on the music video for "Noth'en," Adams Traktor perfectly highlights the soul-shattering feeling of loss through the gloomy and dazed music video. From scenes of a woman walking upon shattered glass and gazing in a broken mirror to a powerful performance by Adams Traktor, the band has delivered an outstanding and spot-on portrayal of the grueling emotions we trudge through.
Don't miss out on the grit and strength of Adams Traktor, primarily through their heavily emotional single "Noth'en,' and the song's powerful conceptual music video.
We truly admire the raw emotion and slice of reality you've offered us with your recent single "Noth'en." Where did you initially find the inspiration to create this heavy piece?
I’ve always been a fan of dynamics in rock music, the highs and lows, the drops and crescendos, etc. so while I did not set out to write a song that went from mild nothing to absolute screaming and back again, it just kind of happened that way. The concept was lodged in my mind somewhere. Nirvana was very good at this technique, as was Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. IMO music tends to take you where it wants, I usually let it take its course and see what happens, no matter how ridiculous it seems at the time. And believe me, the screaming chorus in Noth’en seemed absolutely ridiculous when I did it the first time.
Noth’en was sketched out on guitar the week Chris Cornell died, it’s based on my memory of him, my recollection of the loss of yet another great musician, perhaps the best writer and vocalist of his generation; it was the recognition of all he gave to us in his music. In many ways, it reflects the story behind the birth of a new music genre in the ’90s and the tragedy and death that came with it - more specifically, the artists that brought it to life and are no longer with us. It was inspired by a lyric Chris wrote early in his career, a lyric I can still hear. The lyric: “Nothing to say…. I've got nothing to say” came into my mind and seemed to fit the feeling I/we were all left with at his passing. A deep sense of loss and emptiness that just left me a bit numb and feeling nothing; hard to process I suppose. It’s important to note that I grew up in the State of Washington (Olympia to be more specific) and lived in Seattle all of my adult life before relocating to Prague. I lived through the Grunge era, was a DJ, musician, and huge fan of all the bands and what was going on in and around Seattle and the Pacific Northwest for that matter back in the ’90s. Those heavy riffs, distorted vocals, and emotional highs and lows that I love so much really came out more aggressively than usual in this track.
How did your group work your way around the instrumentals within "Noth'en" to offer this heavy grunge and alternative space? In theory, the alternative space is where I am generally at while writing. But lots of other influences tend to creep in. I really like the minor dark chords and rhythm and chord changes on the upbeat rather than the down. That tended to get me some funny looks and more than one eye-roll from Gregory and Manny in the studio, however. I thought about turning this song down a half step - but in the end, felt it had the right feel as it was. The chords are incredibly simple so we focused all our attention on bleeding as much feeling and emotion as we could out of the song. Gregory Darling, the producer, was on the same page, maybe even more so, he added dark keyboards and coached me on some truly evil guitar riffs underneath the chorus that was in some cases an octave higher, way up the neck with crazy fingerings - you can barely discern they are there but they add an eerie effect. Fernando on bass really laid down a dreamy bass line in the verse and played around in the background to fill in the gaps and on the chorus, he just banged it out in line with the guitar… yet another layer. In the end, but actually, it was at the beginning of the process to set the tone, Manny just decided to layback on the drums and dance with the vocals. When you listen, it just weaves and impacts the way all of us played. We joked that "it’s so laid back it’s almost dragg'en”. Originally this track had a longer verse, pre-chorus, and chorus but over time was whittled down to the simplicity of just a very short melodic verse and screaming chorus. Raw simplicity! In line with the kind of raw, alternative grunge-like feel you refer to.
How did you achieve this sweltering sonic atmosphere? Sorry, for the most part, I think I answered this question above. To add a little more color… In the chorus, we added some reverb and atmosphere to the vocals but most importantly everything started with an old Les Paul with P90 pickups from the ’60s and my VOX amp pushed to its max. The sound, even with no effects, was loud, dark, and growling. We then plugged in various effects, the Strymon stack was our favorite on this piece, with lots of space and verb with some compression and distortion of course. Multilayers of guitar, keyboard, and bass, often at different octaves, added to the “sweltering sonic atmosphere” as you say. Within your music video for "Noth'en," we adore the video's conceptual scenes of shattered glass, similar to a shattered mind, body, or soul. How did you initially come up with this concept? This song was meant to explore the emptiness you experience when you are faced with loss. The loss of a relationship, a friendship, a loved one, or anything you cared about or valued in your life. It’s that moment of despair and emptiness when you realize it’s gone and how much you truly valued it; it’s important in your life. It’s highly emotional. The very point where you feel the regret, the silence, the loss; the point you are left with… Noth’en... The shattered glass, darkness, the "shattered mind, body, or soul", the character, the coloration of the vid, everything leads to darkness, a disheveled mind, dealing with loss, despair, and depression. Some people are faced with these feelings based on an actual event, some sadly to say, deal with it on a daily basis for all sorts of reasons, some external, some internal, some chemical… It’s simply an emotional dark track. Speaking on your music video for "Noth'en," what was the shooting process like? Did your group take the lead for direction, or did you work with any producers/directors? We are generally very clear with respect to what the song means and what it’s about but, do like to leave room for interpretation. With that in mind, we always leave some things open-ended so the listener/viewer can create their own story and read into it what they want, within reason of course. Imagination is important. One producer came up with the verse footage, feel, general theme, and approach and we shot the chorus separately with a completely different producer. Two distinctly different approaches, much like the song. This was the intent from the beginning - to really differentiate the verse and chorus from each other. After hours and hours of cutting, pasting, and reworking, we settled on what you see now. It was down to the wire. We finalized it just a few hours before it had to go live. What can we expect to see from you throughout 2021? We released two singles off the “Quench” album in 2020 and for 2021 we’ll be releasing eight more singles. They are all completed and mastered and ready for release so it’s just about timing really. They vary in approach, one lighter track like “Time To Wake Up”, two medium more upbeat tracks, and the rest tend to lean to the darker side, heavier guitar, and even synth. I love a good industrial or heavy guitar track every now and again. We brought in an additional guitarist on a couple of tracks to add a real dark blues layer. We hope to maintain the same overall strategy and vibe with the next tracks. A few may surprise or maybe even shock you, we’ll see. Manny, Gregory, Fernando, and Olda play on all the remaining songs, and Gregory, as with the Noth’en, produced them all.