Notably, the early days of trance indeed gave us some of the big names in electronic music like: Markus Schultz, Tiesto, Armin va Buuren, Above & Beyond and Cosmic Gate to name a few. All by which have left their influence and inspired many other electronic artists, for example, like Polish producer Division One.
Meet Adam Weiss aka: Division One. Adam was born in Krakow, Poland, and started producing electronica in 2011. He’s always had a passion for electronic music and grew up listening to trance, techno and good old progressive. His fascination of deep dark underground sounds remain steadfast and shared that “Simple melodies are the best melodies”.
Both as a friend and avid listener, I’ve admired Adam’s work. But most of all, respect his love for true underground sounds that can be heard in his mixes. So when FRISKY asked me to seek out a guest mix and interview with Adam – no doubt I became thrilled and excited. Moreover, I’m honored to bring his journey to life.
Melodies of euphoria and rhythms filled with emotion, trance unifies aficionados – the devout genre seekers – bringing together a deep level of oneness. (I should know because I’ve been a part of the scene since its earliest beginnings in the ‘90s). When Adam broke the news that one of mixes with Ukrainian progressive trance producer, Addictive Glance ‘The Darkest Times’ was being featured by the German electronic duo Cosmic Gate on their Wake Your Mind Radio – yes, it was super ‘cosmic’ exciting. However, not a surprise given Adam’s unsurpassed musical passion and talent. There’s no doubt Cosmic Gate chose Division One’s remix due to his exhilarating ability to connect the soul to the music – solidifying the deep level of being one as trance does. The track does just that and is amazing, if I may add.
Indeed, it may seem that most persons nowadays identify trance with that of the more popular commercialized EDM fusion sounds of mainstream artists. Nevertheless, trance still lives on in the underground as it did nearly 3 decades ago with producer/artists such as Division One. In other words, there are electronic artists – both pioneers of and new alike that avoid the trendy mainstream “pop” sounds. Adam and I agree that trance or any other music genre is produced and created simply out of pure love and not about jumping on the “what’s trending today” train.
Strikingly, before Adam started producing electronic music, he was actually a bass guitarist in a couple of bands during the ‘90s. Adam jokingly confesses, “I [he] was a self-proclaimed metal-head”. And adds while reminiscing, “It was an awesome era”. So when I asked him “why trance”; he replied with a smile, “Why not”? Adam continues further explaining, “I love good old trance and trying my best to produce progressive trance, progressive house and techno. For me genre doesn’t matter until it’s good music”.
I asked Adam if he felt as if there’s a spiritual element in his music. Not surprisingly he replied, “Yes, there is”. And continued by sharing with me and FRISKY News, “but it’s up to you to find what it really is. I can’t tell you because that would take away fun from it. If you find [the] proper key then you’ll know. Only thing I can tell is that you should correlate title with sound and chronology does matter this time”.
Being the lifelong electronic music addict I am, without a doubt I can say that you will be taken on a journey through pure trance, progressive vibes and all the emotional sounds right here on FRISKY as you listen to Division One’s guest mix [tune in live November 29th @ 9AM EST & on-demand anytime after]. As Adam shared with me in our conversation, he wants “to give people the best experience among others in terms of music, of course”. For that reason, be prepared for an exciting musical trip.
This is how our interview went:
First, I’d like to thank you Adam for taking time to do this interview. Your music is amazing and I’m excited about your upcoming mix. So what were your thoughts when you received the news about a doing a guest mix and interview for FRISKY?
Well, I’ve got very excited. It’s the new area I can show my music to the people.
Let’s go back to in time a bit. Describe growing up in Poland.
As a kid I was none other than just an ordinary boy – playing with toys (at that time first series of G.I Joe figures shown up and really got maniac about them like everyone else haha), riding my bike and playing first video games . What many people don’t realize at that time in ’92/’93, the Comodore was a very popular computer in Poland and every kid wanted to own one. I was no different. I was blown away by its complexity and started to play hard with it. It was the first time when I met music software (some sort of tracker) and realized that computers can make music.
Everything changed when my brother got sick in 8th grade and he wanted a guitar to start learn to play. Obviously the one who got really into it was me and I quickly started to play. Then the electric guitar shown itself in the house and things started to really roll on. By that time most guys in Poland were into Rock and Metal music. I met a few guys and right [out] of the bag we were forming a band. We had 3 guitarists and a drummer (which was my brother who was replaced by my mate’s friend from school) and no bass player, so I decided to pick up the role. And that is how it started for me – smooth transition from listener to player. hahaha.
Also at that time German techno started to have very big influence in music, and TV stations like VIVA and MTV started to flood us with electronic music. It was very different from what I was used to listen every day and it started to grow in me. All of a sudden I started to listen – many bands that was colliding metal music with electronic/techno instrumentation – like Pitchshifter , Ramstein , Ministry , Rob Zombie etc.
So this is when and how you first became involved in music?
As I said before I started to play in band in the 90’s. We were covering Metallica and Megadeth day by day in my friend’s basement. It was crazy time, haha. We’ve meet every day after school and shredded those instruments till bare wood. Hahaha.
What was the name of the band you were in?
There were two I really was into first one: “Gabryel” and last one: “Another Born” (which is still active haha). First one was like “I’m in a band” and last one was like “Let’s make some decent music and play on big fest”. To be honest [the] last one made even some income, so we were able to pay for merchandise and transportation to other cities to play a gig. It was very well crafted machine driven by four guys in any direction they wanted.
Is there a special meaning to your stage name Division One?
Yes. It’s a representation of quality – First League. I want to give people the best experience among others in terms of music of course. And it’s a small reminder about what I have to do. Hahaha – just a little booster for myself from myself.
You already have your show Analog Conspiracy. Amazing if I may say. What is distinctive about it? Does Analog Conspiracy have a backstory (meaning behind the name)?
There is a simple story to that of course. Many may know that I and Craig Townsend formed a duo called Dark Architects and we both had [a] show called Blueprints.
Some time ago we’ve decided to split and that’s how I was able to form Analog Conspiracy. That’s one side of the story. Second is that since I started to produce music, I always wanted to have a show or label that will distinguish itself from others on a scene. And [the] name was no brainer to me – I come from analog background. Vinyl, tapes and cassette was my everyday source of music I wanted to listen.
What producers, songwriters and/or other artists do you see as your primary inspirations?
I love cinematic and game music so three names came right of the bat: Hans Zimmer, Mitch Gordon and Jed Palmer. In electronic music Sasha and John Digweed are my all-time favorite[s]. I love many kinds of electronic music so it varies: from old records of Tiesto to Deadma5 and so on. I always look for content not for production technique, and that said, I can give you Ditronne (Mateusz Nowak) as my latest inspiration as well.
I look for hidden meaning inside the content – not many these days can deliver that, but those who can are making huge impact on the whole scene.
Throughout your career, do you have a favorite musical project that you’ve worked on?
Division One is the one. It’s my kid which is growing up really well and healthy, lol.
What drove you to pursue your own path into writing tracks and producing?
The thing that I want to give people is quality music which is based on life itself.
We are surrounded by mainstream music more than ever , so our responsibility as DJ’s is to give people their own perspective, make them taste better quality music (but sadly not everyone in the scene realize that). Also lady of my life is very good motivator. She pushes me to go beyond my boundaries each time I start any project. She is my backup pair of ears when I’m extremely tired after day in work or when overly stressed.
How important is it for you to have listeners grasp the context within which your music is created?
Every record have a message. We – musicians are story tellers. People of underground music are like professors finding rare artifact – they need time to translate it so wider masses can understand what is it for. So, context is very crucial to me. It defines following steps in process without which tracks would be soulless noise and bunch of random blips and crackles.
Tell me about the creative approach you adopt when making music? And what drives you to keep pushing the creative envelope?
Simplicity is my thing.
Every record in music history was breaking walls using simple approach. I like to think about instruments like they would be played by a human being on live venue. How will drums sound, how drummer is going to articulate , does bass player using distortion, overdrive or is he playing clean tone right of the wood? I’d like to think that I’m the musician in a band playing its role in the whole thing. Once I’m a guitarist, once I’m playing keyboards and so on. [And] Being one man on each role is for me, the best way to envision what’s on my mind. That is of course based on my experiences of being a band member. But it’s a very healthy process for me.
If you would please, provide some insight into your path towards becoming a professional musician.
I always was self-taught. In Poland in ’90, we had strong a education system so even basics of music were covered. We’ve learned notes, correlations, harmonics and etc.
And when you’re grabbing an instrument – having that base – it is easy to learn to play very quickly.
As I mentioned, I took the bass guitar from very stupid reason. But I thought to myself, “hey those bass players that you look at are Legends – make it your sword” – and I did just that. Learned some techniques using books, videos and playing by ear with favorite bands at the time. Going to school and back home just to start playing all day long and few times in week jamming with friends. It was like that even when I started to work.
What has enabled you to keep evolving across your career? And what would you say is your primary motivator in your life?
I love to dig sounds. Even if I would try to recreate my own work I would do things in other ways than before. And that going into [the] unknown is like exploring totally new reality. It keeps me eager to invent new ways or explore old things from a different side. And I love to explore. About motivation – hmm – love for music is the thing. When you do something with passion, your whole life starts to come around that thing you love to do.
How influenced are you by the world of progressive underground sounds?
I’m all into it. This is what I breathe every day, can’t live without it. When I hear new track with deep but strong bassline surrounded by nice, almost hidden arpeggio I’m getting goosebumps right away. I want to play it to the people. It is very much the force pushing me forward with my music.
This is fascinating – You shared with me that you were part of a band and pretty much a self-proclaimed “metal-head”. Describe that experience.
It was a great time. We were couple of young guys spending most of our free time together, playing classics like Metallica, Motorhead and so on and composing our first tunes. The last one band was pretty much bunch of four trained musicians.
We played whatever we wanted in any tempo we liked. We went out for few gigs in the city and things started to roll on right away. The response was very good and we became locally known. We’ve had same feel to music and we played in the same sub-genre of metal music. It gave me great base as a musician and I had an opportunity to work with nice and well educated people. I learned pretty much 75 % knowledge during that times.
So then, what evolution as being a bass guitarist have you encountered as you gravitated to electronica?
In last band we tried to include elements like synths into our compositions. At that time I was already into electronic music like techno and trance. It was around 1999 and it pretty much was something different to music we hear today. As I mentioned. I had some experience with trackers and was very interested in studio techniques. That combination of analog plus digital became my fascination ever since. And then in 2006 I had an accident in work and cut out a piece of finger and broke few others in left hand. At first I thought “game over” but my second thought was “now you will have to make that computer do the work for you”. I think I did good, right? Hahaha
When I listen to your tracks, I often hear the bass undertones and rifts. What methods are you using, based on your skills as a guitarist, to record your bass sounds?
Sometimes I catch myself doing bass lines like I would play guitar. I like that collaboration between analog sound and digital. And it works all the time i.e. Stereo Underground feat. Sealine – Flashes (Original Mix) have that very nice analog delay on vocals with nice saturation and it’s driven by dubby bassline. Same approach was used in my remix of Ewan Rill feat. Amber Long – Between.
We have this saying in the trance community “Trance Family Always”. What does trance mean to you? And how would you describe your “trance family”.
That’s big statement, which is misunderstood these days. In ’00 till ‘08’s trance was evolving into great community of people different age but with same love to music.
Tunes were top class. You could listen to 20+ DJ mixes each week and everyone could find place for themselves. Now some of them left for more commercial stuff like big room or EDM and some moved on into Progressive House or even back to techno like Gai Barone or Taucher.
As your friend, I became excited when you shared the news that your remix for Addictive Glance ‘The Darkest Times’ was being featured on Cosmic Gate’s Wake Your Mind Radio (episode 236). How did that actually come into play? And how did you feel after hearing your track being played by Cosmic Gate?
Very excited. I couldn’t believe it at first but then Dimitry confirmed it and that was like wow moment for me. Hahaha. I’ve seen feedback they’ve left on the promo, but most of the times people leave feedback and play it on live events. I love their Exploration of Space and one of my favorite albums [of theirs] is Earth Mover.
Speaking of Addictive Glance, Dimitry Bondarenko is an amazing Ukrainian based progressive trance producer. I listen to his music a lot too. Tell me how the remix project for ‘The Darkest Times’ came to be? Describe your experience working with Dimitry.
I agree that Dimitry is great guy. Since he started Addictive Sounds label he was always looking after releasing some of my work. Before “The Darkest Times” I’ve been asked to remix some of label releases which I did of course. Few of them have been received very well by community and gave label proper attention. I had very good terms while working with him – I got pack of upcoming releases to choose from and proper deadlines which isn’t common these days.
So as you can imagine it was like a usual request from him for remixing his stuff this time. Yet still I got same terms for making it which is very comfortable so I couldn’t deny. For me this is the way every label should be driven. He has very high level of professionalism in what he does. It is a great pleasure to work with him any time, on any project.
What will we be hearing in your guest mix? Any new original tracks and or upcoming remixes not yet released?
You’ll be taken on a musical journey. I don’t like to make mix with lot of self-made stuff.
I dropped few remixes here and there to create a nice, smooth mix that will please your ears.
What’s next for you? Anything that you are currently working that you can share with us?
I’m working on few originals and remixes right now. Hope they will be out soon.
So watch social media and you’ll feed your hunger very soon. Hahaha.
Fun Question Time with Division One
When not making music, what do you like doing the most?
Cooking! And watching football (Soccer)
If you had a super-power, what would yours be?
I speak Polish – it is already a super-power… Hahaha.
Love Sci-Fi and Fantasy so I’ll only mention last seen – ‘Upgrade’.
In Conclusion: Thank you, Adam, for taking time with me and FRISKY in sharing your thoughts to these questions. It’s been a pleasure. Therefore, before we conclude our interview, do you have any final thoughts?
Thank you for having me it’s a pleasure!