Kindness, aka Adam Bainbridge, is an artist fascinated with exploring sonic fantasies and meandering soundscapes. From left-field disco to thrilling 80s references, his slick 2012 album World, You Need A Change Of Mind was a critically acclaimed offering that joined the dots between Ariel Pink, Nile Rodgers and Toro Y Moi. Recently recruited as a collaborator on Cupid Deluxe, Kindness put aside work on his own forthcoming album to help create songs and structures with Dev Hynes, and the result is exquisite. Enlisted for his ear that simultaneously appreciates both futuristic and vintage musical reference points, we speak to the UK native about his obsession with straddling traditional and modern forms, from analogue sounds to the miasma of internet culture...
Dazed Digital: How was the experience being part of Dev Hynes’ album?
Kindness: Well, I went to NY in January this year with the intention of working on my next record. I told Dev I’d be in town and I wanted him to be part of it and that it would be great if we could get some work done, or even finished. On the first night I went over to his apartment and played him all this stuff and he was like, “This sounds great, let's do it” and yet somehow for the next two weeks we did more work on his record. That’s quite a Dev move to pull – he just Trojan-horsed me into getting his record out before mine!
DD: Was there a crossover of musical tastes from you both?
Kindness: We send YouTube links of things we like back and forth to each other, and we’d talked about the current Blood Orange project and how it was going to sound. I knew that there was an even more vested interest in house and disco. We work from a similar kind of palette, so it doesn’t surprise me, the music he’s making – it seems like the right kind of thing for this moment in time.
DD: Your last album referenced the 80s and a lot was written about your obsession with more traditional forms rather than digital, do you have a retro nostalgia?
Kindness: It’s not necessarily about nostalgia, I just do things that work best – it could be a synth sound from k-pop or a digital film technology - if digital looked better than film then I’d use it. On the last record people would say that it sounds like the 1980s, when in fact it just sounds like a recording studio. That’s what a recording studio sounds like! It’s a luxury and its probably not even a luxury I’ll have this time when making the record, but it’s an amazing thing to do once in your life, especially at a a point when it’s becoming more and more unlikely that you could do that. I mean, at some point it’s gonna stop, and there’ll be no more music being made in recording studios.
I find the internet maddening and disruptive and full of negativity
DD: As a result of that do you think analogue sounds becoming increasingly fetishised?
Kindness: I’d agree with that. You have to be able to appreciate all things that happen in music, which includes the most contemporary sounds or futuristic methods of music making. That’s why I've always felt encouraged by the friends I have around me, because on one hand I have people like Dev who might have a creative process similar to what I do, but equally I can sit down with people like Bok Bok from Nightslugs and work on music with him and it reassures me that I'm not potentially living in the past.
DD: Does internet culture affect your musical process in terms of what inspired you?
Kindness: Well, I find the internet maddening and disruptive and full of negativity but I also use it as a medium for discovery and research, so, you know, there’s always a conflict. As artists we don’t work in complete isolation, especially now. There’s people making completely great, fresh, futuristic music and I still have a dialogue with them. There’s an online community who I trust and the foundation of our musical friendship has been things like youtube.
DD: Do you feel like you need to opt out of the internet from time to time?
Kindness: I talk about this with friends who are just releasing music for the first time and I say, “You can be successful by playing the game and by being really good at the internet, or you can make really really good music and not give a fuck”. Sometimes it feels like it’s hard to do both. I've seen the internet from when it was just a bunch of webpages about the X-Files to where it is now. It’s crazy and overwhelming at points. People say things to me like, “When I google ‘Kindness’ you’re not the first thing that comes up,” and I just say, "Yeah that’s the fucking point! On some level, I'm picking up my ball and going inside…I’m not really playing with the internet team.”
Kindness' top five current jams:
"The best thing I heard this year."
"This tempo, these vocal inflections, all day, every day."
"Showed this to Dev in the studio, I know he's a fan. Wish there were more Rick Wrecks in the world."