Adam & Dan Skinner

19 January 2009

Proof that two plus two really can equal five.

 

A big part of Audio Network’s ethos is to ‘bring on’ new talent. Adam and Dan Skinner are a prime example of how this can work best.

As a composer team, the brothers enjoy a long family tradition of musicianship, extensive formal training including degrees from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and possess a mastery of a variety of instruments. More important than any of these things though is that they have ideas which give them an individual and unique sound that sets them apart from the crowd.
 
“Because we are brothers we know how the other thinks” says Dan, “we find that, in our case the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts and together we generate ideas that neither one of us would on their own. Besides our similarities, we have both gone through very different areas of training complementing our skills and musical knowledge, however, we have found that formal musical training can be a dangerous beast when it comes to creativity. The key is to take on board the bits that matter and then experiment until you find your own ways”.

For any composer starting out, developing and settling on a sound is a hard process. Adam says, “Musicians speak about ‘finding their chops’ which can mean finding something unique in their sound; this has to be done without allowing that sound to become a limiting pigeon hole. That’s what we like about media music in general and Audio Network in particular”.  For Audio Network the task was to encourage the brothers’ creativity, originality and unique approach to sound and writing, but to channel it into a sound that can be used by producers. To do this we had Adam and Dan develop their mixing and production with Barrie Gledden. Almost at once the pair began to produce wild new works that took on a life of their own.

“Because we had so many ideas and potential directions,” says Adam, “we were like a sponge and gratefully took on all new pointers. For us this has been a wonderful journey and we are still barely out of our driveway!”   Normally these writer biographys are full of what this or that composer has done, who they’ve written and performed for or to, and we could easily have compiled an impressive list for Adam and Dan which would look pretty much like all the others, but we’d much rather you just listened to what these guys are doing and experience the fresh new sound that really sets them apart from the rest.

A final word from the brothers: “Audio Network has an extremely personal connection with their writers. From this we get the benefit of their immense knowledge of the industry and placing music to picture. Their close-knit network of composers gives us the opportunity to collaborate and learn from some of the top writers and performers around. Quite simply, Audio Network is the best at what they do!”

Honest, they said that, not us.

Click here to listen to the Skinner Brothers' first album for Audio Network.

Q&A

  Adam Dan
What was your most embarrassing faux pas? On meeting my Spanish girlfriend’s parents for the first time, I decided to impress them with my ‘knowledge’ of Spanish. So, after the meal, I turned to her mother and said, ”Mas polla por favor”, which I was sure meant, ‘more chicken please’. Unfortunately ‘pollo’ means chicken and ’polla’ means…well, something very different! Once, while ordering a very girly drink for a young lady I was out with, I received an odd look from the bar maid, so I tried to make myself seem more manly by telling her the drink wasn't for me. She took this as a chat up line so, out of embarrassment, I ended up buying two rounds...the rest of the evening was pretty awkward!
 
What is your greatest/favourite claim to fame? I hung out with BB King on the European leg of his final ever world tour. While on tour in Germany, I was on a TV show interviewed by the German voice of 'Bart Simpson'.

Which album do you air guitar / drum / keyboard to? 

Do people air keyboard?!I do have a penchant for air-percussioning to Cuban music.

Anything by the Foo Fighters! I mainly plug my guitar in and rock along with Dave to be honest.
Any musical guilty pleasures?  I occasionally catch myself singing full on to ‘Don’t wanna miss a thing’ by Aerosmith while sitting in traffic (making sure the windows are firmly shut!).

Aerosmith are positively oozing with cool compared to some of my favorites, like 'I'm with you' by Avril Lavigne for instance.

 

Who would play you in a movie? 

Bruce Lee – if he was still alive and not Chinese I suppose.

Johnny Depp – not because he’s that much like me, it's just he’s cool, a bit of a legend and one of the best at what he does... although I'd probably have to give him some bass lessons so that he at least holds it properly in the film.
What is your greatest extravagance?

No time for extravagances around here!

 

London rent & my helicopter, I never seem to find time to fly it.
Any words of wisdom you would like to offer or have received? Be like water You can't polish a turd
 
Any hidden talents? I could kick Kung Fu Panda's arse any day!
 
I have a passion for creating things, from the musical instruments I learnt to build with my dad, such as my custom fretless Skinner Bass.
What/who would you put in Room 101?
 
My old headmaster who refused to let me go home to practise my drums…He suggested that if I want to practise I could do it on a table! Adobe Flash & Action script... however the more I learn, the more I start to like it. I think I’m starting to scare myself.
Your top 5 musical works of all time or today are?   1. Miles Davis -  complete concert 1964 2. RHCP - Blood Sugar Sex Magik
3. Barber - Adagio for strings
4. Bilk, Barber, Ball - Sweet Georgia Brown
5. Michael Jackson - Off the Wall

1. Jaco Pastorious - Portrait of Tracy
2. Foo Fighters - Everlong 3. Michael Jackson - Wanna be Starting Something
4. John Powell - Berlin Foot Chase
5. Elbow - New Born

What's behind you? Hopefully not one of those creatures from ‘The Descent’! Touring all over the country in an indie band, and a cheap ‘vintage’ strat rip off, that really needs to go in the bin!
If you could be reincarnated, who would you come back as?  I’d quite like to come back as a monkey (the animal, not the band!) and not one of those ones with the weird red bottoms, a proper one like a chimp or gorilla. (Perhaps I should have said ape.) If there’s an opportunity to hang from something or jump onto something, I’ll take it! That's a difficult one, probably someone who is born a good few hundred years in the future, so I can try out all the latest gadgets and hover cars etc.
 
Have you ever been on Top of The Pops?  No, but I’ve been on Fernsehgarten which is the German equivalent of Richard and Judy...not quite as cool! No, although apparently one of my songs reached the top ten in Chile.
 
What inspires you?   True masters of anything, be it music, firebreathing or knitting!  Everything that surrounds me and that makes me think.
 
If you weren't writing music for a living what would you be doing?  Trying to get into writing music for a living.
 
Learning to be a real photographer.
 
Do you ever hear a complete piece of music in your head before writing it/ recording it?  I usually have a very clear idea of how I want it to sound but often it tends to evolve and change direction during the writing process. One thing I love about creating on a computer is that accidents and glitches can often lead to whole new ideas. No, but they do often write themselves, those are the best ones. 

Do you download or buy music on CD?

I’m quite into downloading at the moment. It’s great to be able to buy a tune and have it delivered to you in a matter of seconds.

Both, but however much Apple try to make downloaded music seem like a virtual CD, there is something still great about the physical CD – case and artwork. I love receiving copies of our Audio Network albums on CD, very cool. 
Other than family, what one thing would you rescue if your house was on fire?       The boring answer would have to be my computer as that’s where my life’s work is stored…I really should make another backup. My custom Skinner Bass – the one thing that’s irreplaceable!  
What question have you always wanted someone to ask you, and what would be your answer?     Would you like to be the first to try out this new teleportation machine? Hmmm, I think I’ll let the monkey go through first.  Would you like to write the score to the next James Bond / Bourne Film? Hell yeah!!!!!!!
 


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