Spare Dog Records, a UK label, says is interested in having Adrian Kwelepeta touring in Europe, something that is quite high up the label’s agenda.
The label revealed in an interview that first step for Adrian is to get greater recognition and a following in Malawi.
“…but we also believe that his talent and his music is so diverse and universal, that he has a very good chance at making a name for himself internationally,” said Mattias Stålnack, who is producer at Spare Dog Records.
The label is finalising Adrian’s new album which will be titled Live or Die Story, which is an apt name since its songs’ subject matter digs deeper into the artist’s inner life – it’s reflective and has more philosophical undertones than his previous work.
Musically, and sound wise, the album is believed to be a force to reckon with as Adrian said it will push the boundaries of what people think of as popular music from Malawi.
He said: “This is something wholly new, even by international standards. In essence, it is a blend of, on the one hand the Western R and B and rock music. On the other hand, is a deeper African tradition of folk music, chants and rhythms,” he said.
Although Spare Dog Records have been working with a mostly modern sound and feel in mind, the record is almost exclusively analog in the sense that they did not want to use any digital or sampled sounds, or any programmed tracks on Adrian’s album.
“We wanted it real. The central sound theme of the album is Adrian’s voice, and he is truly brilliant: Not only does sing and harmonise, he uses his voice to produce all kinds of sounds—he beat-boxes, chants, breaths heavily, shouts and whispers, he’s a choir, a bass guitar and otherworldly noises. He can do almost everything,” said Stålnacke.
The unique aspect about Adrian’s album is that he has recorded everything by himself, and this is what makes his album special. It is only by working together on equal footing—the artist and the producer—and letting themselves be free when exploring ideas, were able to take full advantage of both their talents to create this new fantastical sound-scape.
Another prominent feature in the recordings of Adrian’s album is his guitar playing skills, which are inspiring and energetic. Sometimes intricate and sometimes rhythmical, but always driving the beat of the songs forward. Adrian might still be a young musician, but he is already an accomplished artist.
The album’s title track Live or Die Story, is the song that most of all encapsulates the sound and feel of the record. It starts with an angel’s choir over a lone guitar that is soon, and quite abruptly, joined by tribal chants and drums
“What follows, on the way to the songs final epic crescendo, is a roller-coaster of music and sounds—from the very quiet to the very loud, from pop music to African traditional, from whispers to shouts—most everything that the listener will encounter in the album.
The album is now in its final mixing and mastering stage, and will be ready for release in Malawi in about two months time, although no date has been set yet.
“We are of course also planning for an international release, which will happen at a slightly later date, probably early September,” said Stålnacke.