Toronto has no shortage of talented musicians. In fact, two of the hottest acts in Pop Music right now, Drake and Justin Bieber hail from this city, both having reached number one on the Billboard Hot 200 Album Chart. Often though, we don't get to know the artists who bring us the music we pay top dollar to hear when we support the artists we love on Tour.
I want you to introduce you to a friend of mine, Adrian Eccleston. This interview has been long in the making with his grueling schedule - balancing a relationship, family, friends, touring and studio work - but alas it is here. I first met Eccleston through his multi-talented older brother Robin, whom I have worked together with for many years on my own projects. Adrian and I have also collaborated together on a few tracks together. It is no mystery that he is perhaps the city's greatest Guitarist, but what makes him rise above the surface of the deep talent pool is his presence. His signature Dreadlocks are unmistakable. Regardless who he is supporting, eyes just migrate towards him.
W: Adrian, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with Mr. Will-W.: Pop Maven readers. Many of us were fortunate to see you in-person on Kylie's last World Tour. For those of us who aren't familiar, can you please tell us about some of the work you’ve done which you are most proud of?
A: Well, being able to tour around the world two times already has been a really great experience for me. I am really one of the luckiest people. Playing the festivals in Europe during the summer months is my favourite touring experience I think. I love an outdoor show! Getting to play on all of the TV shows I grew up watching and being so excited about has also been a great feeling.
W: As a Guitarist, Songwriter and Producer, tell us about who and what inspires you? Who are your muses?
A: Well I have many, many muses. A perfect example is my girlfriend. She (Pastel Supernova) is a muse because she is so beautiful. It inspires me to make great music all the time. If she likes it, I know I am doin’ something right (laughs). I love the guitar. Therefore I always listen to my favourite players for inspiration. I listen to Hendrix records every week. I can never get enough of him. I also dig Prince a lot. He is so underrated. I like The Edge, Shuggie Otis, Kevin Breit, Van Halen, Steve Vai and Jeff Beck a lot too. I also listen to Electronic music like Massive Attack. The Gorillaz are also dope. But at the end of the day, the louder the guitar, the better!
W: Icons. Well, I do think Prince gets a lot of love, but he does like to remain low-key and perhaps that is the key to his longevity in addition to his amazing talent. Please tell us a bit about the whole audition process for Kylie’s tour and how you found out about it. What was going through your mind when you first finally got to meet her?
A: Well it started when my English manger (Wolfie) emailed me about the audition. He told me what I needed to do and he asked me if I wanted to fly to London for the audition. As it turned out, the audition was on my birthday! So it was extra special to have made it. The last audition run through was the best one because I got to play with Kylie. I was really nervous to meet her but she was so down to earth and smiley. It made the performance easy and the playing is always the fun part. I guess that’s how it went down.
W: That definitely comes as no surprise. She exudes a rare blend of approachability and confidence. When we chatted in London at her X Tour at the Backstage Lounge, you told me that Kylie is the greatest boss ever. Tell us about some of the most memorable moments of the tour because it enabled you to travel extensively for quite a duration.
A: Well definitely going to Asia, New Zealand and Australia were the adventure highlights. Being able to make music that far away from home for people of different races, and sometimes different languages, was really special. I would always walk around and try to soak up some local culture everywhere we went. I always have a good time walking around in a new place.
W: What kind of challenges did you face while being so far away from home, Toronto?
A: The hardest part is always missing your family and friends. We sometimes take our loved ones for granted, but trust me when you’re away for six months that much time apart can really make you miss people terribly. Besides that, taking care of yourself physically and mentally can sometimes get the better of you. If you don’t take care of yourself, you get sick or lose weight. Reading books and eating vegetables are important things to do. Also having a fully loaded iPod helps too.
W: Agreed. I can't live without mine and I'm not even Touring! Now we already know there's lots of Hendrix on yours! What else?
A: Right now I am listening to the new Damian Marley and Nas record called Distant Relatives. It’s the most incredible sounding album. It is educational and soulful. The Island rhythms are perfect. There are a bunch of special guest performers too! Check it out!
W: Why don't you tell us about your favourite parts of Kylie's show (we're sure there were many) and which songs you enjoyed playing most? The big guitar solo in Slow gave you a chance to shine.
A: The whole show was really exciting. Slow was definitely one of the more intense moments but the whole flow of this show was perfect. I knew the whole thing inside and out and loved every beat of it. Getting to play a song off the new album Aphrodite was really cool. It was called Better Than Today.
W: Oh yes. Track eight. Trust me - we're all waiting on the edge of our seats for this album. What can we expect to hear from you next, Adrian? I saw you on the MMVAs this past weekend and secretly snapped a shot of you rehearsing, Paparazzi style. Shhh.
A: Well, right now you can hear me playing if you come to a Drake show (laughs). I’ll be back in the Kylie Tour later on when she starts to prepare for her Aphrodite World Tour!
W: Another Kylie World Tour? You heard it first here, Mavenati!
A: Yes. And I also have an album in the making and its getting closer to completion sounding pretty damn cool. All I ever wanted to do was put out my own album. So stay tuned for that.
Although there is no set release date yet for his debut album, you check his Myspace page for updates and drop him a line there. Thanks Adrian, for taking time out in your busy schedule to chat with us. I hope to see you around Robin's studio soon!
(Photo credit: Mr. Will-W.)______________________________________________________________________
Please stay tuned for exclusive interviews with international celebrity DJs Freemasons and Chew Fu to come in the next couple weeks! And yes, there will be Giveaways!