Reported features - social & political issues
Hello! I’m Adam and I’m a freelance writer based in Bristol.
Much of my work has been in music and culture journalism - I’m interested in music at the experimental fringes, weird electronic sounds and variants of soundsystem culture, often viewed through a historical/political lens.
I also write on social and political issues. I'm increasingly interested in topics related to mental health and our relationship with the natural world, as well as the overlaps between migration, culture, politics and history from below.
I also work in digital communications roles. I’ve worked with the TUC (Trade Union Congress), producing video content and short documentaries. I’ve worked with Coexist CIC - who for a decade managed Hamilton House, one of the largest community and arts spaces in Bristol - as well as Full Circle @ Docklands, a youth centre based in St Paul's, Bristol.
I'm open for commissions. Feel free to get in touch.
Reported features - social & political issues
To mark the anniversary of the mass trespass of Kinder Scout, a group of hikers came together with the intent of creating a new, fully inclusive culture for rural spaces.
Stokes Croft, a cultural hub in the city centre, is under threat from developers. Now, people are fighting back by attempting to bring the area into community ownership.
Our era has been described as a ‘Psychedelic Renaissance’, with growing interest in the potential mental health benefits of hallucinogenics. But could these mind-altering experiences help people of colour navigate racism?
Music features / artist interviews
Following an explosive first festival season, Bristol-based producer and vocalist Grove sits down with the Cable to talk punk, power and vulnerability.
Coby Sey is a little sleepy. The London-based artist is dialling in from a hotel room in Puglia, but last night he was in Amsterdam, where he performed alongside friend and collaborator Tirzah at Dekmantel Festival. "It's something I always find myself doing - working during the AM hours," he says, mentioning the copious amounts of energy drinks fuelling this creative routine.
"I'm a Londoner born and bred. My dad's Jamaican and my mum's from Grenada, so Caribbean culture has been my everything right from the start," says DJ, radio presenter and curator Errol Anderson, explaining how the tendrils of sound system culture have woven their way into all that he does.
"When you've been listening to electronic music and producing electronic music for a long time, you start thinking about the roots of it. You think about Detroit." So says architect, researcher, score composer and electronic musician Mhamad Safa.
"Sometimes you want a cream of tomato soup and sometimes you want a tangy ceviche with lime juice. This is more on the lime juice spectrum", says Drew Daniel, one half of Matmos.
"I was once driving on the motorway and the car next to us was the Ghostbusters car - they're all wearing the uniform." I'm in Mica Levi's studio in south east London, perched on an office chair they found abandoned in the street, when the conversation takes a turn for the surreal.
About halfway through my conversation with Joe Powers, better known as Proc Fiskal, he starts telling me about a gruesome discovery that was made near where he lives. "Right outside my house they're building trams, so they're ripping up the floor. They found all these bodily remains and skeletons," he says.
Ahead of the release of their fourth album, Adam Quarshie caught up with Sons of Kemet to discuss the idea of music transmitting encoded information, escaping the grid and connecting with ancestral knowledge
A couple of days before I'm due to interview Lee Gamble, I stumble across a short documentary about Birmingham on Youtube, which, for some inexplicable reason, is narrated by Telly Savalas, star of the American cop series Kojak.
Following a family tragedy, Berlin-based producer Nene H combined modular synthesis with the instruments of her native Turkey to produce her debut album, a powerful sonic document of healing. Adam Quarshie discusses the confines of classical music and balancing conflicting identities with her.
Following the release of his new album Kamil Manqus, Adam Quarshie spoke to Palestinian hip hop producer and electronic musician Muqata'a about growing up under military occupation and making music as a way to preserve collective memory.
Father and son Mark Fell and Rian Treanor are both unique voices in electronic music and due to perform together at this year's Next Festival.
Ahead of her performance as part of the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s People’s Forest season, Adam Quarshie spoke to visionary US jazz musician and storyteller Matana Roberts about the role of nature in shaping her creativity.
"I don't call myself someone that has synaesthesia, but I definitely equate sounds to colours," Duval Timothy tells me over a Zoom call. He's at his parents' home in South London, where he's spent most of lockdown, having managed to catch an emergency flight back from Freetown, Sierra Leone.
As an addendum to a longer interview published recently for The Quietus, Adam Quarshie speaks to electronic musician Rian Treanor about making computer music with the residents of a care home in Paris. Rian Treanor is best known for his innovative, hyperactive and fearless approach to electronic music production, which relies heavily on algorithmic and [...]
World Zero live photograph by George Lane The Seer, IMPATV and UKAEA present World Zero at Supersonic Festival on Sunday 21 July In Greek mythology, Cassandra was bestowed with the gift of prophecy by Apollo. But after rejecting his advances, Apollo retaliated by ensuring that no one would ever believe her.
In the run up to Squarepusher's fifteenth studio release and performance at the 2020 CTM Festival in Berlin, Adam Quarshie caught up with him to discuss the tragic events that preceded the album, his early years in Chelmsford and his relationship to technology
Acclaimed Malian musician Fatoumata Diawara talks Adam Quarshie through her favourite records, explaining the influence of powerful female vocalists from both the United States and from Mali's Wassoulou region.
When Charlotte Adigéry's first few tracks started appearing under the Wwwater moniker, it was immediately clear that a slightly devious imagination was at work. In the video for the track 'Screen' - a satire about the narcissism and pathology underlying our smartphone and social media use - she sits in a bathtub, drooling, while she scrolls endlessly on her phone.
"In Portugal, in the places where I grew up, there was always this connotation of Macumba as something beyond reason", explains Jonathan Uliel Saldanha when I ask him about the name of his band, the frenetic, boundary-dissolving ensemble HHY & The Macumbas. "Macumba was anything that you couldn't explain", he says.
A couple of days before my interview with Ghostpoet, I'd started reading a book I'd picked up at my local library (yes, I still go to libraries) called The End Of Absence. Written by Canadian journalist Michael Harris, the book describes how the generation born before 1985 (which includes Ghostpoet and myself) will be the last to remember a world without the internet.
About an hour into my conversation with Gaika, we're getting deep into a discussion of the Maroons. "I liked the idea of the Maroons escaping to the mountains", he says, "whether it was in Jamaica or Brazil or wherever, and they would build these fortresses in the bush and no one could get them".
Essays & opinion pieces
On reconnecting to the natural world through the practice of field recording
In response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, mutual aid groups have sprung up across Britain to help those most vulnerable. Adam Quarshie looks at the actions of these solidarity networks, and asks what we can learn from the history of mutual aid.
Reviews - albums, books, live events & festivals
700 Bliss Nothing to Declare Hyperdub Halfway through Nothing to Declare, the voices of Moor Mother and DJ Haram appear in a skit, in which the pair trade spoof critiques of their own work. DJ Haram, her voice an exaggerated Valley Girl snarl, is berating the album for its darkness.
The Harmattan is the name given to a season that occurs across west Africa, where dust from the Sahara is blown in from the north, subsuming the otherwise harsh light of the sun and creating an otherworldly haze, almost like fog.
From dangerous road trips to desert terrains and harrowing examinations of FBI surveillance. In 2021, these composers brought the drama through the art of film scoring. Here are our top 10 soundtracks of the year, unranked Dir.
Though I spend several hours a day listening to music, it's rare that I come across a track that forces me to pause whatever else I'm doing and just listen. 'Fall Into Water', the second track on Szun Waves' New Hymn To Freedom, does just that.
Getting on the tube at rush hour a couple of days ago I'm reminded of the constant stress of the capital. These amped-up cortisol levels, exasperation and angst of London are all energies that have informed much of the work of Kevin Martin, in his guises as both The Bug and King Midas Sound.
During a second listen to the title track on An Angel Fell, the latest release from Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids, I suddenly recall the climactic scene in Blade Runner where Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty delivers his famous, William Blake-inspired speech: "Fiery the angels fell / deep thunder rolled around their shores / burning with the fires of Orc."
I've never been to a gig on the rooftop of a Swedish rowing club before - or any other kind of rowing club for that matter - but that's where I found myself on the opening night of Malmö's Intonal festival, with the last rays of evening sunlight glinting off the surface of the canal below.
About a third of the way through his new autobiography, Tricky tells us that "my music is weird because I don't know what I'm doing". For someone who by his own admission can't play an instrument, sing or dance, Tricky has had a remarkable impact on British music.
I enter the Church of St Thomas the Martyr to find a much more sombre atmosphere than I encountered yesterday at the Loco Klub. Elusive techno/industrial producer Rrose is dressed head-to-toe in black, sitting onstage cross-legged in meditation pose, with her back to the audience.
Video content for TUC (Trades Union Congress), 2019-2020
On 7 June 1968, 187 women at the Dagenham Ford factory took a stand against unequal pay. This is their story.
The Grunwick Strike was the first major strike led by South Asian women in the UK.
On 14 August 1889, London’s dockworkers went on strike and brought the greatest port in the world to a standstill.
Black Icons series (Future Publishing)
An introduction to the Black Panther Party for Future's 'Black Icon's bookazine
The life of Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba
Detailing Bob Marley's exile in England, 1977-78. Future Publishing Bob Marley Bookazine.
Detailing the social and political changes happening in Jamaica from 1974-76 and how they impacted Bob Marley & The Wailers.
The closing act at the legendary 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, Jimi Hendrix’s performance was one of the iconic moments of the 1960s
From the Hamilton House blog, (Coexist CIC), Bristol, 2016/2017
Most people who have spent any time in the area will be familiar with the People's Republic of Stokes Croft. From their base on Hillgrove Street, a stone's throw from Hamilton House, they oversee Jamaica Street Studios and Stokes Croft China, and are also active in the Bearpit.
If you know where to the find it, The Cube is one of the gems of Stokes Croft. Tucked away behind King's Square, it's a volunteer-run cinema, showing arthouse and independent films, weird cult movies and hosting events like the Bristol Radical Film Festival as well as regular live gigs.
Over the past few months, so much energy and headspace in the Coexist office has been taken up by the campaign to try and buy the building - which is still happening behind the scenes- that it feels like we've lost sight of the original purpose of this blog, which is to tell the stories of some of the amazing humans who've found their to Bristol and made Hamilton House their creative home.
Meeting the Bristol Bike Project It's around 10 in the morning and the workshop at the Bristol Bike Project is being jolted into life. Cups of tea are being prepared, tools are being laid out and a team of volunteers have assembled, ready to help out for the day.
Reading the news at the moment is a pretty bleak experience. Fear and political instability dominate the headlines, and it's hard not feel despondent. But Bristol is a city filled with people seeking to create positive changes that resonate both locally and globally.
Tucked into a curve on Mexico's southern coastline, the state of Oaxaca is known for its rugged mountainous landscapes, the Spanish colonial architecture of its capital city and its vibrant art scene. Along with neighbouring Chiapas, a high proportion of its inhabitants are of indigenous origin.
From my music & travel blogs, 2014-2018
Hiding out in the Mountains I've been feeling increasingly drawn towards mountains. Over the past few years, I've been lucky enough to go on several journeys and each time I've gone somewhere with mountainous landscapes close by: the Anti-Atlas in southern Morocco; Granada in Andalucia, with its views of the Sierra Nevada shimmering in the distance;...
Thoughts on Saul Williams, Martyr Loser King, hacking & scavenger culture] Saul Williams appears in a black bird's mask and black jacket, crouching down on stage in a kind of bow, before stepping up to the mic. He's alone on stage, without a backing band or DJ, musical support coming via the sound booth...
It's hard to wrap your head around a new megacity that you've just landed in at the best of times, let alone when your body is still adjusting to the altitude, your head is rattling with crime warnings and you've already had a run-in with the local police.
Connecting the dots between Jungle, time travel, sampling, alchemy & Alan Moore] Two things have got me thinking recently about the role of electronic musicians in an increasingly digital and media-saturated culture. The first was seeing The Last Angel of History, a film made in 1996 by John Akomfrah.
I am in a minivan headed to the Lao capital, Vientiane. The driver is going extremely fast. While he is no doubt adept at avoiding the adults, children, chickens, pigs, cows, dogs, cars, trucks, and motorbikes that make use of Lao roads, he is arguably driving a little bit too fast.
I clamber out of the minivan, contorted like a gargoyle after sharing three seats with four people for seven hours. The van is instantly surrounded by a dozen tuk-tuk drivers and touts advertising local guesthouses but I am still too sleepy to even know where I am.