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Interview: Ade Fabola
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I took music courses in school and enrolled in a few summer schools for music when I was young. I didn’t take it seriously at first, I just wanted to learn to play the instruments that looked cool so I gravitated towards the piano and bass guitar. Even though I didn’t realise this at the time, it laid a solid music theory foundation for me. I later picked up the guitar and got really into fingerpicking and this led me down a path to what I now consider “my sound”.
If I hadn’t gotten into music at all, I’ll probably be doing what I do these days anyway when I’m not making music – I’ll be working in tech somewhere as a researcher and/or software developer.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I walk a lot. It’s valuable thinking time. Sometimes I pair my walk with a podcast or audio book, or obviously music :). I also enjoy writing a lot. Some of the things I write tend to make it into my music and other online posts, but sometimes I like the idea of writing just for the sake of it. It helps me process my emotions and figure out where I stand on political or philosophical issues. Pre-covid, I played a lot of Table Tennis (I actively played leagues/tournaments/competitions before covid, and played BUCS back in my Uni days).
A lot of my lyrics come from the ideas I get when I’m writing for writing sake, and as for melodies, I just hear them, probably influenced by the music I listen to. I find that these things tend to come together when I’m out walking because it’s valuable thinking time for me. Altogether, these activities feed my creativity
How long has your band been around?
For the most part my band is just me, I’m mostly a solo act. I do have a few friends that I get together to jam with, record demos etc. As for my recently released record, and the ones to come in 2021, the instrumentation features myself and the folks at the Animal Farm Label
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based in Manchester these days. I was born in faraway Nigeria, though, so a lot of my music is influenced by my heritage, and there’s some really strong melodic lines in West African music. Over the years I’ve sort of blended it with western elements, borrowing from Jazz, Blues and modern pop music. I listened to a lot of folk music during my formative years, so I guess it’s no surprise that my music these days is folk-based.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
It’s my name – Ade Fabola. Fun fact, Ade is a fairly common name in West Africa and it means “Crown”
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
My best show has to be my first at Matt & Phreds. From the history of the venue to the staff, ambience and sound system, everything about the venue is just fab.
As for my worst show, there’s probably a few of those. When I started playing live, I played quite a few open mics to an empty room; pretty much just the sound guy and bar staff. It was pretty heartbreaking on occasion but I just told myself that it was valuable mic-time :)
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
I love Matt & Phreds, the staff, the ambience, the history of the venue, everything about it. Night & Day is also pretty coo. These are both in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. There are also many small venues around Manchester that give you such a cosy, intimate space to connect with the audience. I feel like my music tends to work well in those settings.
In terms of places that I want to play, I want to play everywhere :). There are so many cool venues in the country, and right now I’m just hoping they survive post-pandemic.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
I imagine an intimate acoustic gig with Aldous Harding, Tallest Man on Earth, Nneka and Passenger. I think I’ll feel right at home :)
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Enjoy the process, do it for the right reasons, be clear about who you are and what you want.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Keep at it, don’t abandon it, you may regret that lost time later.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
One of the first songs I ever wrote was about how much I appreciate my parents and my family. I played it live a few times but there’s no official recording. It’s a heartfelt song, and it was a surprise to my family because prior to me sending them a phone recording of the song, they didn’t know I wrote songs. That’s how it started I guess…
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Sweetest Thing I Know…this is probably my most popular/requested song. It’s a song about nice things and it has prominent melodic lines (or so I’ve been told). I also enjoy playing it so much because it’s almost impossible for me to not smile while playing it.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Music is all around us, we live and breathe it everyday. The thing is I don’t usually wait for inspiration. I’m always writing, sometimes writing for writing sake (to process my thoughts), and other times writing purposefully with a view to share it with the wider world. Inspiration often strikes when I’m overwhelmed by an emotion or a thought, for instance love, heartbreak or socio-political injustice. It also strikes when I come across good music (maybe a live performance or a new record) that moves me so much.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
This is probably one of the biggest cliché kicking about, but the overarching message, the essence, the raison d’etre of my music is to spread love and kindness, and always be hopeful irrespective of (bleak) circumstances.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
How many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is too many? Discuss!!
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
To make and release more music, build my following, and have fun in the process. I wrote a lot in 2020 and was fortunate to record a bunch of songs which will be coming out this year. Something Good is just the start, the first of those songs, so there’s a lot more coming later in the year. I’ve been writing away in lockdown and I’m looking forward to when we can get back in the studio to record more. When things get better, it would be nice to go out and play these songs live, maybe even go on tour when the logistics allow, but for now I’m focused on making music and building my online following.