A promising progressive metal project, and the musical moniker of talented solo artist Adam Driskell, Circles of Namibia first caught our attention earlier this year with the release of ‘Where It All Began’, a colossal debut album that has become one of Spotify’s great hidden treasures. Filled with intricate sounds that expand and flow with eclectic energies, the album stood out as a unique piece of modern metal, winning praise from fans and critics alike.
Earlier this week, we were lucky enough to sit down with and talk about the album, his inspirations, and what’s next for his innovative project.
Thanks for making time to speak with us today, Adam. It must be an exciting time with the album building some heavy momentum online. Where did it all begin?
I started writing music when I was very young, at the age of about fifteen in 2006. I started writing progressive metal at that time being basically just a ‘how close can I make my music sound like a Dream Theater clone’. After about four to five years of song writing I finally landed on a sound most similar to where I am now. I have been song writing for about fifteen years now.
Online there’s quite a buzz surrounding the new album, and especially that unique, progressive sound you’ve developed. Metal Head Community have been very vocal in attempting to describe it, but how would you break it down?
My sound is what happens when you take old early/mid 2000's Dream Theater guitar riffing, the progressive nature of Between the Buried and Me, the keys of melodic/symphonic Symphony X, the chord choices of Opeth mixed with the soundscapes and melodies of modern progressive metal like Plini.
That’s quite a mix! How does that all come together? Do you have a set process, or is it more organic?
I have themes or stories for all of my music, even though it is all instrumental. The titles of all of my tracks are either the theme of that in particular track or help to tell an ongoing story. For instance, with my single, ‘Mountain’, it is about the experiences and emotions one might have from the beginning of the climb/hike to the summit of the Mountain. That is why the song has no choruses. That is why the song is heavy and sometimes very dark sounding. Because climbing Mountains is a hard thing to do, and a lot of the time people regret climbing a very hard hike halfway through. But the song has a very melodic a happy change towards the middle. That is when they reach the summit. It changes to triumphant because you conquered it. The ending with the piano is meant to be a representation of your hard work. The song ends on a major chord because you just did something difficult, and you should feel proud of that accomplishment. This is how I write all of my music.
It’s fitting you should mention ‘Mountain’, it’s become a bit of leading anthem for the album, capturing all the twists and turns of the record. Can you tell us a bit more about the album as a whole?
My latest release is my debut album, ‘Where It All Began’. [The album] references me going through about five or six different style changes I have had going through my fifteen years of being a progressive metal writer. I experimented with many different styles and sounds throughout with time but was never really happy or settled with anything.
I eventually went back to my very first way of song writing, which was telling stories or complex emotions through instrumental music. That was how I started songwriting in the first place. After I wrote the song, ‘Circles’, using this formula I loved it. It reminded me of learning how to write and also reminded me of what was important in the composition and songwriting experience. I also wrote this album write after graduating university for Audio Production, namely for mix engineering. So, once I graduated, I was ready to go full steam ahead and this was the result of all of my university training to be a professional audio engineer plus fifteen years of composition and guitar playing/practice.
The reason why this album is called, ‘Where It All Began’ was because I went back to my basic song writing roots and found the inspiration that helped me the most, back where my guitar playing, songwriting and audio engineering experiences all began.
Releasing an album is a massive achievement, but have there been any other great moments that stood out in your career so far?
My debut release is my greatest moment so far. Through various reviews of the album, I have been compared to John Petrucci on multiple occasions, even so far as to be called "Petrucci Jr." in one of them. He is my greatest inspiration as a guitarist. I have idolized him for years ongoing. So, being referenced to him is one of the greatest honours I could ask for.
The obvious question now then, is what’s next for Circles of Namibia?
Growing my brand on Instagram and social media in general while writing my second album.
That definitely gives us something to look forward to. Before we let you go, is there anything you would like to say to our followers?
I want to clarify the roles I have and the roles that other musicians had in my instrumental progressive metal project, Circles of Namibia.
I am the primary songwriter, writing 100% of the guitars and keys while also doing all of the production, arrangement and mix engineering. I wrote about 90% of the bass work. The bassist is incredible and added his own takes to some of the parts. The drums were all written by the drummer, and he did an amazing job with it. The bass, keys and drums were all performed by Fiverr musicians. I would like to mention them here if anybody else wants to use their services.
That’s awesome! Thanks very much for your time, and best of luck with your second album!
Circle of Namibia’s debut album is available now on most major streaming services, including on Spotify album. For more from the Adam and his project, make sure you follow the band on Facebook and Instagram below.
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