There is a lot to explore when talking to an artist like Adrian Underhill. He’s got this retro style and sound, but this universal perspective that will forever travel through time. The enjoyment we get out of being alone with our own misery, say what? We talked about that as it’s the focus of “Not Good Enough,” a song found on his upcoming release – which was also a topic on the table as was his educational look, and more.
Kendra: You’ve noted your debut is a long time coming and a sonic journey. With that said, if there was a scenic route attached to this journey, what would we see as we listened to CU Again?
Adrian Underhill: I think that it’s really up to the listener! That’s something I was thinking about as I wrote these songs – leaving space for the listener to have their own interpretations and experiences while listening.
Kendra: Well, we can hear “Cruel” now and with that, I see bell bottoms and burnt orange because there is a heavy 70’s sound there. Did you always have a love for that throwback style?
Adrian: Cool! I think my writing on keyboards has always gravitated naturally towards some of those classic songwriter chords and changes. I’d say at least 75% of what I listen to day-to-day is current music, so there are a lot of modern influences as well. But I do love classics like Carol King, Curtis Mayfield, Prince, John Lennon, The Doobie Brothers, the list goes on.
Kendra: Speaking of style, you kind of remind of a teacher from the ’70s. Did that fashion sense evolve over time like your sound?
Adrian: Yeah, I think fashion is an interesting part of being an artist. Part of me wants to feel like I can not worry about what I wear and not think too much about an “image.” But on the other hand, it’s always going to be a part of how people see you, and connecting the person with the music is always an interesting part of getting to know an artist. So I think I’ve slowly become more drawn to using fashion as an extension of the music. I think there is a lot of room for creative exploration there.
Kendra: So we can also hear “Not Good Enough” which is creeping onto my favorite songs of the year list because it has one of the best underlying messages; we all feel like shit. It made me think of scrolling through Twitter and seeing an endless stream of complaints, but I’m sure you came up with the song via some other means. Please share…
Adrian: It’s been so awesome to hear from people connecting to this song. I guess I wrote it from a place of trying to be vulnerable with my music. I wanted to try to speak to some of the insecurities in my own head and at some point in that process, it became clear that maybe our personal doubts can actually become an opportunity to connect with one another.
Kendra: Also, can you talk about the video and the whole “simultaneous isolation and togetherness between people” you wanted to capture in the clip? Like why do you think we like to be alone in our misery?
Adrian: Yes, this is a super interesting question. As I was contemplating this, someone turned me onto this Rilke quote which I think speaks to some of this issue: “Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvellous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”
Kendra: Is there a release date yet for CU Again?
Adrian: Not yet! But it will be out later this year.
Kendra: After that drops later this year, what else do you have in store?
Adrian: Well, there is another video in the works and I will also have some more live shows happening in and around Toronto.
Kendra: Lastly, here at ZO, we’re all about the creatives in all respects. So if you had to compare your upcoming debut to a piece of art, which would it be and why?
Adrian: Hmm…I really love this piece by Joan Miro called Painting. Not sure if there is a connection to my album but I just like it!