In addition to art projects, remixing tracks for the likes of Ladytron and Fischerspooner, and running their own label, the prolific pair of Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller has been devoted to their band ADULT. for the last two decades. They grabbed the torches from both the poppy synth scene and the edgier industrial dance sounds of the '80s and ran screaming with them into the future, fusing the best of those worlds with their own ideas, skills, and vision for hypnotic, intense results.
ADULT. has consistently created electronic music that ranges from relentless and frenetic to haunting and plodding. And, when they feel like it, all of those components get thrown into their blender, creating tracks that grip you in their frenzy.
On tour supporting their latest release, This Behavior, the duo is playing in Phoenix for the first time. We chatted with Kuperus about that and the recording process for this new one, which involved hiding out in a cabin in the woods.
You and Adam have been doing ADULT. for 20 years now. Has your initial vision changed in many ways?
Not really. I mean, it's kind of just like a thing of we're compelled to do what we do, and we do it for people who might be looking for an alternative to what's out there. We kind of operate in a parallel from mainstream culture, and we try to offer something that is different, with some absurd humor in the mix.
You went off the grid to create your latest record, to a remote cabin in Michigan. Why did you want that isolation?
Our last album was a collaborative record with six other musicians. It was very vulnerable and very public in many aspects, like the writing process, and doing things like posting on Instagram while we were working. So this time, we just wanted to go into a hole – just the two of us – and work differently. We wanted to cut ourselves off and see what that situation would inspire.
You two have a label, produce records, and do a lot of collaborative work, but when it comes to Adult, does working with others feel like it compromises your vision?
No, I don’t think that. In many ways, that record was one of the most important things we ever did. When you collaborate, it gives you the ability to grow and learn in different ways. It was really enjoyable.
So future endeavors could involve both processes?
Yeah. I think we have some things lined up for the future that I can’t speak about right now that will be collaborative. Either way, our goal is that we never want to make the same record twice and I think that we’ve been pretty successful achieving that.
That can be a tough spot. Some fans want to see you evolve while others always want more of their favorite tracks.
I think there are people out there who would probably want us to make the same record twice, and we don't do that. I think our true, hardcore fans have finally figured out that that's the way we are. But I think it took a while.
What did you do while recording in that cabin that was different than a traditional studio?
Being in a cabin in the woods, we couldn’t take our entire studio with us, so we just took what we used to play live and set it up on the kitchen table. That changed a lot of things. We also used a lot of 909 drum beats on this recording, which is something we haven’t done before.
Do you have a preference between recording and the live show?
Myself, I’m somewhat ambivalent. There’s a lot of work and energy that goes into the live show. I am always impressed by people like Michael Gira from the Swans who can tour consistently and play two-hour sets.
What are you listening to on the road?
We just got done listening to New Order. The new Wetware albums are great. There’s a band from Berlin called Group A that are amazing. Additionally, we are lucky to have our friend Chris on the road with us and he does a radio show, so he’s turning us on to lots of new music.
This is your first time in Phoenix, right? What might we see?
Yes, we have actually never played Phoenix! It’s weird for me to talk about what we do live. We’ll make some sounds. Sometimes I get mad. I might say some stupid stuff. I might fall off the front of the stage. Anything can happen!