Adequate 7

By Andy

Cardiff’s unclassifiable Adequate 7 have been ripping up dancefloors for over four years with their heady mix of kinetic punk energy and brutally catchy funk harmonies. After releasing a self-titled EP off their own backs, London’s Household Name took them under their collective wing for the unleashing of the critically lauded ‘Songs of Innocence and of Experience’, an ambitious collection as likely to get you running around in circles as it was make you throw some shapes and follow Mr James Brown’s advice to “git down.” While they’ve been touring fairly regularly there had been no new music from Camp Adequate until the infectious ‘Splitting Up’ emerged, but rumours persisted regarding their label. Had they left Household Name for a major? Were they to cease recognisable output and become a drum ‘n bass outfit? Have they been Athlete in disguise? Singer/lyricist Jamie wants to set the record straight. “We did leave Household Name earlier in the year and it was totally friendly. We still get on with them, we’re totally supportive of what they do, they still support our band and what we do. We moved onto Audio Rehab then.” Trombonist Tom continues. “ We’re not clear on the long term still, we’re just testing the water. We’ve done the one single, and there’s another coming up in a few months. It’s not finalised but we’ll probably put out the album with them. We’ve got about another week’s worth of stuff to do in the studio.” Since this interview was carried out in December we can but hope that someone somewhere is rocking out to the new Ad7 album, lucky bastard.

But why leave HHN, one of the most respected labels in the country? Watching their musical peers like King Prawn, Lightyear and Five Knuckle go the way of the dodo might have had something to do with it. “We might be nearing that glass ceiling now,” says Tom, “so we have to take steps to avoid it. That’s what Audio Rehab was about, trying to do something active. If there was some way of those bands to continue progressing I’m sure they’d have continued.” Do you not think that this move could be interpreted as a shift away from the UK punk scene, a scene that has not only helped you, but arguably got you to where you are today? “We’ve got no intention of becoming mainstream in that sense of the word, we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing. We want to facilitate more people coming to see us and getting exposed to us but we’re not going to change anything. It’s about financial survival too. We’re not trying to live off the band, but when you’re touring it’s hard to hold down another job.” Jamie continues: “Since we signed to Audio Rehab they’ve been investing in the band, they’re going to show us a lot of support for the record. And because someone is prepared to do that, we stand a fighting chance to get more recognition, get some more people into our band.”

Their words were ably supported by Ad7’s live show later that night. Mixing old favourites like “Free The Adequate Seven” and “No Space” with new and unfamiliar tracks, they showed that they can progress musically while retaining the trademark vibe that has won them so many followers thus far. The word ‘exciting’ is flung about with abandon these days, but the way in which Ad7 incorporate all their influences and inspirations – musical, social, political – is truly thrilling because it proves beyond all semblance of doubt that in a world that has been categorised within an inch of its life that uniqueness and intelligence can flourish. The punk community that they cut their teeth on was, above all, the inspiration to just be themselves. “The scene we’re involved in is such a broad church that you have to go out there and do what you believe in, “ explains Tom. “What we’ve been striving to do since we first started is finding a way of combining funk and hardcore. While we enjoy playing them separately, we want to get them together a bit more.” Audio Rehab is a large factor in the realisation of this process, since it will allow them to take longer and bolder steps forward. “The fact that it is a label that will put out anything really appeals to us, we’re not about to start working with machines any time soon. We’re doing exactly what we did before, which was get into the practice room, write some tunes, have a bit of a dance.”

While Ad7’s gigs are notorious for making everyone within earshot shake a leg (that crusty guy in the Against Me T-shirt? He can body-pop like no one’s business), they have never shied away from engaging with issues that aren’t usually raised by a funk band, let alone most of the so-called ‘punk’ bands doing the rounds. As the lyricist and consequently, if unfairly – throughout the interview both Tom and Jamie are equally keen to state Ad7’s comprising of “seven individuals with different influences, all with different political opinions and strengths of feelings” – the ‘voice’ of the band, Jamie’s adamant that their musical blend is as important as the subject matter of their songs. “It’s just about trying to challenge people’s views of what the music they listen as much as it is about the world they’re in. We’ve always played to a partisan audience of sorts, and it’s hard getting beyond that. We do want to have people having a good time on a Saturday night, and we do want them to dance, but we also want to stop them from just listening to one style of music, and being more than just a musical band is the best way to achieve unity and get some kind of social consciousness going.” Bold words, but there has never been any evidence to suggest that they are anything but truthful. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Adequate 7: Godfathers of Funkcore.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]