A.D. Wells, a musician from Brooklyn NY recently released his debut record “The West Hollywood Broken Hearts Club”. The 8 tracks that make up the record cover a genre of indie/lounge rock and look at themes of sweet yearning, desired loss, hopeful love, crippling failure, and somehow self-driven optimism in the face of defeat-all with the backdrop of mysterious Hollywood behind them. Backstage Tales caught up with one of the musicians to look out for to talk through his musical journey.
How did your musical journey start?
Way back in 2011 I went to my first concert: U2 in Philadelphia. That night really changed my life. It was the first time I really realized how powerful music can be and how much it impacted. I’m thankful for that show and for U2 musicians for setting me down a path that would really lead me to favorite musicians and I guess too where my sound has evolved from. From that point on I started playing the bass guitar in 2012, keys in 2014 and guitar actually only in the winter of 2017 but it came pretty quickly from my prior playing. I never really thought that it would evolve into me having my own music and my own record but I’m very very thankful it did, it’s been a dream come true in a lot of ways but especially being such a music fan first it’s hard to picture yourself on the other side of it, but here we are and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
How did your past & upbringing influence your work?
I still think I’m quite young, I’m only 21 so I think I’m still finding out who I am and how I see things and that nature but I do feel that my upbringing gave me an appreciation of music. My Dad and Mom enjoyed music a lot and I’m thankful that I went down the path of really, really “getting into” music and I think that at least had in part to do with them implementing music in my life from a young age. I try to incorporate realness and reality into my music. I think getting personal and reflective with music can allow for some really honest work that connects with people. As much as this record kinda tells a story, my personal experiences are in there too and I think that’s important. Especially some elements of some things that I have seen or gone through over the last few years, they’ve definitely made their way onto this record.
You just released the debut record “The West Hollywood Broken Hearts Club”. What was your highlight when writing it?
I really had a wonderful time writing for this record. Once I had this concept of this actual place and what the vibe and nature of this setting would be the inspiration really arrived quite quickly. I would say the highlight of this record was that, in the sense that I really hit the mark aesthetically and thematically that I wanted to accomplish with this record. I remember when I went back and listened to the record once, I really decided it was finished I could help but feel accomplished in the sense that the vibes I wanted to hit with this record were present. One sign of a really great record is when it can take you away and bring you somewhere, whether it’s emotionally or mentally, and I think with this record it can accomplish that. Overall the writing process was a lot of hard but also enjoyable, I’m proud of everything that I put into it.
Has your vision of your music change over time?
In some ways, I would say yeah for sure. As musicians, I think we have to be aware of the importance of progression in our writing and try to keep evolving. I love writing and it can be trying sometimes but I think like any other craft it truly takes time and it’s as far as you want to work at it. Right now I’m extremely proud of this record and I believe in these songs and maybe one day I’ll look back and recognize that I’ve evolved past the sound of this record and that might be a good thing. You have to start somewhere but evolving your sound while keeping it true to your ‘musicianship’ is important.
Which other musicians inspire and influence you?
My favorite musicians of all time are The Killers so they, and maybe more specifically their lead singer Brandon Flowers, has a huge impact on me. In terms of bands, I think definitely some elements of The Strokes first record made their way into my musical style. More recently for this record specifically I can definitely see some elements of Phoenix and some early Cure. Lorde’s Melodrama was such a fantastic record, it was very inspiring to me especially content-wise. She has a really great way of keeping melodies and hooks simple while also carrying just great tunes. The latest Arctic Monkeys record also had a big influence on me, the style of that record I thought was just too cool. There’s a singer-songwriter, Alex Cameron, he’s had a huge influence on me recently. He has two records out and his third one is coming soon and I just think his songwriting style is masterful. David Bowie inspires me a lot, not just in music but in life too.
Where do you see yourself as a musician in the next 1-2 years?
Right now I have really been enjoying the promotion of this record! Since I’m just starting out and trying to gain some following I’m hoping that over the course of this year I can continue to keep growing. I’ve already begun working on my second record. It’s funny as much as I want to work hard and put new music out there, I have been reminding myself that these things take time and to not rush it. I’m loosely thinking of releasing my second record in the spring or early summer of 2020 but we will see. Beyond that, I might throw in some shows too. It’s just incredible and such a dream come true. I’m proud of my music and I know I’m excited to see where it will lead too, I just have to keep making a little more progress every day.
Listen to A.D. Wells on Spotify.
Interviewed by: Irina Gorskaia
Images: A.D. Wells Archive