We are hella excited to share with you our exclusive interview that we conducted with DMV based rapper Adama and Amsterdam based producer Mile$. The duo just released their very DOPE album “SOLDER”, so it is only right that we connect with them to discuss the project, find out which artist they would pick to be featured on one of their tracks, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with Adama and Mile$, be sure to connect with them on their respective social media and stream the “SOLDER” album on Spotify!
Salute to you guys on the completion and release of your new album "SOLDER". What does the title mean specifically?
Mile$ (M): I was obsessed with computer hardware and building computers as a kid, and always admired soldering as this very DIY, MacGyver esque way of fixing things and putting materials together. Working with samples feels like soldering to me. I find bits and pieces of sounds from the internet, and then I obsessively retime and EQ and mix them to make them fit together into a cohesive piece. And I think the instrumentals on this album take inspiration from a whole blend of different genres and sounds, so that the album itself feels very soldered together. That’s what was in my mind when I thought of the title and it stuck.
Adama (A): I completely agree about the sampling, the piecewise construction element of solder felt like the most fitting visual analogy for the album’s sound. When Mile$ suggested the title it also really resonated with me emotionally, Firstly because I love the toxic fumes of lead solder and two because growing up I would restore broken game consoles to working order, because it was a lot cheaper than buying them outright. I didn’t even know that Mile$ and I had this kind of background in common. On one project in particular I did a really bad soldering job on the PCB identity chip for an XBOX 360, I didn’t know exactly why my replacement didn’t work the first time, but when I opened it back up I realized I put too much solder and two contact points were touching, so I shaved the junction with my soldering iron, closed my console up and it worked. That was a seminal point for me because I realized something can seem hard, but it isn’t if a dumb 12 year old can do it. Similarly if you want to make a rap album with 2 people communicating mostly via Facebook messenger while one of said people is in Amsterdam and you are stateside, it can be fun and one of the most rewarding things in your life if you just do it.
From start to finish, how long did the album take to complete and at any point in the process, were you two together in the same place?
M: The oldest beat (Obviously) was made in summer 2016. Due to a drought/dearth of DJs, I ended up DJing for Adama as a freshman at Kenyon when he opened for Adamn Killa and Azizi Gibson, and showed him that beat while we were pregaming before going on. Immediately he asked me to put it into the set and he just freestyled on it that night. I was super impressed. I sent him the beat and he wrote a verse, and then we realized we were on to something. At the same time I was working with my extremely talented friends Max Laz & Lightstone, and Max and I wrote Just Dirty together in his dorm room that same year and Adama recorded to it. But after that, it was all remote because Adama had to fucking graduate with honors and get hired and shit. But we made the long distance thing work, which is more than most couples can say.
A: Yeah it was a surprisingly long amount of time, Mile$ was a part of this crop of amazing freshman who came in when I was a senior at Kenyon College and the first time I heard them make music together I was struck by how gifted and unique their sound was. Each of them stood out while still making incredibly cohesive music. They single handedly breathed life into the otherwise tepid music scene at the time. The homie Lightstone, has the most incredible groovy bass lines, every single song I have heard him on he glues together. We also had Max Laz on Sax, who while black out drunk can improvise a whole show and you would never notice a damn thing, he makes Just Dirty and Stuttastep with his pleasant licks. And of course Mile$ was the maestro bringing it all together with his fearless rhythmic elements.
Were there any songs that were recorded for "SOLDER" that you decided not to include on the final tracklist? If so, why?
A: We had a couple of more slow songs, that I still hope to work on and release in the future maybe as singles, but the impresario has to sign off.
M: Definitely a few slower songs, plus one that I always thought was kinda lit but my parents didn’t. Some were too short, some just didn’t fit on the tracklist. But definitely we’ll be working on those and more new material soon :)
Finish this sentence - "After someone listens to SOLDER for the first time, I want them to feel..."
A: Like they have never heard anything exactly like it, also I want them to kind of feel like our work confirmed something they already knew but never quite verbalized to themselves.
M: I want them to feel exhilarated, and yeah — like they’ve never heard anything like it before. Kind of a “what just happened” sort of vibe.
If you could select any artist, regardless of genre, to appear on one of the album's songs, who would you pick and which song?
M: I think Joey could kill it on “Just Dirty”. But also I feel like Kanye could really fuck up “Gladstone” for some reason?
A: Oh wow I mess with Kanye on “Gladstone” pretty hard too, he would be saying some wild mess, it would definitely be the right “New Slaves” energy.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist or producer who has dreams of music stardom but wants to seek a degree?
A: My advice would be, only make sure you are seeking the degree for the right reasons. You should ask yourself, does it fulfill you? Does the idea of knowing more about this field genuinely make you happy, can you live comfortably for you, or are you just doing it because it is expected of you? The problem is when you get a degree because you think it will be easier. But it doesn’t get harder than doing something that doesn’t give you any joy, and we should celebrate the people who find joy in what we don’t. I would also say, don’t go pay for a degree in time and money and not evaluate the potential outcomes for people with that degree. Education seems to be the only financial matter where we have agreed as a society it makes any sense to get an 80-160 thousand dollar loan without assessing the probability you are able to pay it back in a reasonable time frame.
M: Do both things. If you want to get a degree, there is nothing stopping you from making beats until 2am after you get your work done. Also, specifically for aspiring producers, you learn so much more by listening to cool music and experimenting with your DAW than you do by watching YouTube tutorials on how to sound like David Guetta. Just make cool shit, don’t worry about the technical processes of other people because as far as mixing, there’s no big secret — if it sounds good to you, then it is.
A: Yeah and I would add the benefit of a degree is exposure to diverse ideas. I know my degree has enhanced my music themes and creative process in ways I never could have predicted, but cherish now.