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Friday, February 27, 2015

Kindness on Immediacy, Working in Collectives, and Missy Elliott

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 10:35 AM

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Adam Bainbridge is more than just a pop music aficionado. As Kindness, he’s a student of pop and has long been fascinated with its history, something that shows in his unique interpretation of the musical style.

In 2014, he released the second Kindness LP, Otherness, which features the likes of Robyn, Kelela, and Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes, the last of whom Bainbridge collaborates with regularly. It’s a smooth take on pop that flows best as a whole rather than plucking individual moments to focus on, a concept we spoke about with him while he was on tour in London.

Bainbridge currently lives in Berlin, which he calls “a great city, but it's not particularly cheerful at this time of year. That's what California is for.” San Francisco welcomes Kindness this Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Mezzanine and we had a moment to speak with Adam about influential pop greats like Missy Elliott, what goes into making a great collaborative album, and working with legendary producer/engineer Jimmy Douglass:

We were so excited to hear you were coming to play Noise Pop, since you bring something really different to the table. What’s your stage setup going to be like?
There's going to be six of us, and it's pretty live I suppose. We aim to do as much as we can with instrumentation, rather than the computer thing. And sometimes it's an interesting contrast to be playing at festivals and being on the bill with other bands. 'Cause we’re maybe drawing on a different set of influences and live influences from what a lot of other people are drawing from at the moment.

I’ve never seen a Kindness show before, but I’ve seen you with Blood Orange a couple of times and I think that’s something I definitely appreciate about that live performance, is how much goes into it musically.
Yeah, I think Dev and I are on a similar page, and we like to get together with similar kinds of musicians as well. We have the same drummer now. We’re trying to save money [laughs]. The more shows we play together, the cheaper it gets.

So have you always envisioned Kindness as being a collective type project, similar to the Blood Orange collective that you’re a part of?
Well, I think it’s collective in everything but the bank account. That’s mine and mine only … there's not very much in it anyways [chuckles]. But yeah, it’s about getting together with the people that can keep you going. The people that can keep you inspired and make it fun to play a show every night. I’m looking fwd to doing it with this crew, cause we’ve done it for so many consecutive days either. We normally play a sporadic thing here and there. This is gonna be a real tour, like you see on TV.

So talk about building the community of collaborators. I’m fascinated with the journey of a bandleader that goes into roping everybody in to record the album. Do you jump from one city to the next to meet with everybody or is it just casual phone calls?
I think it's a bit of both. When you know you’re going someplace, you might consider who you know that lives there and if they have the availability to work on something with you. So when I came to L.A. during the album recording period, I would always check in with Daniel from Ink and with Kelela to see if she was there. There were a few other producers that I would get in touch with. Likewise with New York or in London. I wasn’t living in London, so every time I came here, it was an opportunity to reconnect with other musicians whose work I appreciate. And yeah, I think it is organic. I mean, theres a lot of people I would’ve loved to have added to the mix on the record, but maybe they just weren’t available. And equally there were surprises, when friends happened to be there at the right moment. So it's like trusting the hand of fate to deliver someone to the studio door.

I feel like I’ve heard so many stories like that in hip-hop. Where such-and-such became a part of the group, because someone was on a solo tour and this guy happened to be here and it turned into a long-standing relationship based on chance.
And that’s what’s nice about the social aspect of it. That might happen because of touring. It might happen because of the studio as a social environment. It's different from talking online or working collaboratively over email. It's really about the genuine personality of the individual. With maybe one minor exception, everything that we recorded collaboratively happened with everyone involved in the same space, same room, same studio.

There’s a magic to it. There’s something special about it that starts with the jazz greats and then moves on to Steely Dan and ends up with Missy and Aaliyah and Timbaland. It's always about these mad geniuses together in one space.

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About The Author

Adrian Spinelli

Adrian Spinelli

Bio:
Hip hop and sandwiches.

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