Photo: Ross Nicol
Inspiration has the ability to drive people. After hearing an exceptional song, seeing a favorite band in concert, or watching an NPR Tiny Desk Performance that brings on goosebumps, motivation and inspiration often manifest itself in an artist's own body of work. That's where some of the best art comes from because it's organic. They're not trying to steal someone else's ideas or create an identical copy of work but instead produce something that is the culmination of all of the parts of their artistry, a byproduct of a wealth and lifetime of inspiration.
In Adam Melchor's sophomore EP, SUMMER CAMP, he does exactly this. Between finding inspiration from a song he used to cover repeatedly at weddings to even working alongside one of his heroes on a track for the EP, Melchor has allowed for inspiration to flow through him, to arrive at a creation that solely sounds like him.
Recorded over the span of three days, Melchor has created six uninhibited tracks that sound like the encapsulation of lost, sunny days spent at summer camp. I had the pleasure of talking with Melchor about the five songs that influenced him during the recording process of SUMMER CAMP.
Idles - "Never Fight A Man With A Perm"
I found this song via NPR's Tiny Desk and was instantly hooked. The energy of the band was something I hadn't seen in a while and the lyrics were just unbelievably meaningful and clever. I remember listening to this song a bunch before going into the studio. I played the boys the demo of "I CHOOSE YOU" and they were talking about how we could get the energy up. I immediately was like, "Just put me on the mic" and pretended I was in that band. The music is so different than what I typically make, and I get a lot of my influences from people who make different music than I do.
Green Day - "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)"
So I used to play a ton of cover gigs and wedding gigs to pay for college. I can't tell you how many times I played this song over the years. It's kind of crazy because a lot of people associate it with love when it's really the opposite sentiment in the lyrics. I had "JEWEL" and thought, "How do I make this a song that way but in reverse?" It's so obviously a love song, but to make it meaningful we chose some darker aesthetics to make it interesting.
SZA - "20 Something"
This song really gets me in terms of simple production elevating the best songwriting. I would say one of my goals as an artist is to chase that and find ways to make a simple song sound complex enough to separate it from others while still being accessible. The recording of this song does that for me and was a big influence on what I wanted to achieve.
Ethan Gruska - "Rather Be"
I know it's a bit strange, but for this EP I was lucky enough to record with one of my songwriting/production heroes, Ethan Gruska. I had been a fan of his for so long and now I get to call him a friend. This song in particular has such a great acoustic sound and a gentle vocal, and I was always interested in making something that sounded like this. I figured, why not ask the man himself?
Pinegrove - "Paterson & Leo"
I really wanted to make songs that were short and felt full and complete. This song is the perfect example of making a two-minute song last a lifetime.