Luke Das, Wednesday 18 April 2012
It is a bright and crisp afternoon and Adam Wedd is sitting across from me, leant over his piano.
He fumbles with his straggly blonde hair for a moment, kicks back in his chair and with a playful smile awaits my first question. Outside his wife Rachel attends to their baby daughter Maisy, who burbles and cheerfully wants to contribute. Adam was born in Kingston and he is now content to have settled in the leafy green village of Bookham.
Adam explains that his discovery of music came at a very early age, ‘When I was seven I used to really like Michael Jackson and I pretended to be like Slash. I was a little bit unsure if I wanted to learn the guitar or piano and I ended up asking my parents for piano lessons. I started to write songs when I was about twelve. For me that is what captured my attention the fact that you could not just play other people’s songs but also write your own.’
Kingston has been the platform for many unsigned acts that would later find their place in the wider alternative music scene. Local icons Hell is for Heroes and Hundred Reasons have both adorned the sound system at legendary venue The Peel. Fighting Cocks, Cricketers and The Grey Horse were the other venues Adam and his rebellious teenage friends would congregate and aspire to become superstars. As Adam Wedd and the Independents, these ambitions came into fruition as he and his band toured the UK passing through Manchester, Southampton and Oxford.
Adam’s recent project operates under the guise of Mr Boat. Saxophonist Simpson Waichulles and Adam are the main song writing force behind the band and on drums is Pete Barker with Brian Roberts on the bass. His cellist Alex Priest is currently playing with Union Sound Set who are on tour with Charlie Simpson, of Busted and Fightstar fame. Mr Boat has been fortunate to record with renowned producer Greg Jackman, who has worked with Seal and Prince. They have also had the chance to record in Frances Rossi's home studio. When asked to describe their genre Adam gives the lively response of, ‘Pensive pop!’
Barn in the Farm is an underground music festival in Cheltenham. Given its modest size it manages to refrain from corporate sponsorship and maintains the purity of contemporary independent music. Many of the acts that have played there, such as Ed Sheeran, have consequently become signed by major record labels. For Adam, playing the festival last year was one of his performing highlights. ‘In 2009 I think I played something like 150 gigs, which is quite a lot. But last year I played just four gigs. When I played at Barn in the Farm I felt a bit out of practice but I loved playing there,’ he exclaims.
Anyone who has ever met Adam will be humbled by the caring personae and selfless nature that he exudes. Faith and spirituality are important in his personal life and in his music. ‘Language is always interesting because I could say that I am a Christian but there are so many connotations that come with that. There are many people who are a part of the wide spectrum of the faith that I have. For me it is about looking at the life of Christ and how he served people. He laid his life down so that other people could live,’ he comments. ‘Community is a key element to my faith. To have an amazing community around you is the best way to live.’
Youth work is an area of Adam’s life that complements his musical endeavours. Over the years he has given his time and energy to many projects and he is now employed by Bookham Baptist Church to lead the youth work in the local community. Adam tells me that no aspects of his work are mutually exclusive, ‘I love song writing and there was a time when I tried to just concentrate on music. Then I realised that youth work and the community work I do actually infuses my writing. For me it is the people that I meet and the work that I do that inspires me to write. The most important thing with youth work is to ask questions. No matter how old you are if you ask a young person about themselves they will respond because you are showing an interest.’ Adam also describes the other aspects about working with children that he cherishes, ‘It has helped me view the world through a child’s eyes again, a time when everything is fresh and anything is possible. As we get older we all develop a bit of cynicism and I feel working with young people helps me to battle this.’
For more information about Adam’s music visit: