Adrian Stretch, BA Electronic Music Production Course Leader

Adrian Stretch


BA (Hons) Electronic Music Production Course Leader

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Adrian Stretch, BA Electronic Music Production Course Leader
Electronic music expert and stalwart of the UK rave and jungle scene, Adrian is a keen experimenter and frequent performer around the country’s festival circuit.

What did you do before joining dBs?

"I started out as a programmer and engineer for Chad Jackson, who had been World Hip Hop mixing champion. I worked with him and several other studios in London over the years, and it was Chad who gave me my first taste of teaching after inviting me to do a masterclass.

"After developing quite severe tinnitus I knew that working in the studio full-time wasn’t sustainable. I then made the transition to teaching and worked for ACM for 17 years, where I taught across their DJ skills higher diploma and electronic music degree."

Why did you first get into electronic music production?

"I came from a classical background and was singing in choirs and learning piano at five years old. As I got older I got more into soul music and artists like Mantronix and that shaped my early love of electronic music.

"My dad worked for IBM so there were computers everywhere growing up and I was dabbling from 11 or 12 years old. Around the time I was 16 my school got an early Atari computer with a tube that was connected to a keyboard and I was fascinated by it. I would skip lessons and disappear into a loft somewhere with it and that really got me into programming." 

Any special areas of interest?

"I love musical arrangement; combining sounds and putting them together to create bigger textures. I remember how excited I was when computer-based music first became available and the idea of having all those sounds at your disposal."

What do you love most about what you do?

"Seeing people’s imagination spark. That moment where their mindset changes and they go, “Yeah, I can do that; I can go further.” I really like opening the doors for people to do that."

Tell us about your proudest career moment.

"Can I mention two? The first was co-writing and producing ‘Dub War’ for Dance Conspiracy, which was released on XL in 1992. Before that track got signed, we sold 3,500 copies in two weeks just through selling directly to record stores. After XL picked it up, it became one of the top ten rave/jungle releases of all time!

"The second was going to India and working with the Bombay Philharmonic, which was the most mind-blowing experience. In 1997, I signed an album deal with Island Records as The Underwolves which was a project with a record collector / producer. The premise of the project was to show the amalgamation of styles that go into drum and bass, but also where the roots are, and make an album that showcased the journey through that process.

"One of the biggest draws for both of us was finding musicians that could play really well on drum and bass. People that would find it natural to play; orchestral musicians that could play on drum and bass and really feel it. India was the most obvious choice and I loved the way that their instruments play melody.

"Working with the arrangers and the singers out there was truly special."

What do you get up to outside of teaching?

"When I'm not in term time and have time to recover I will work at festivals around the UK, generally DJing, but I’ll sometimes be helping to run an area. I've done that at the Rabbit Hole at Glastonbury for many years. I’ve also worked at Secret Garden Party for many, many years, and will hopefully be involved in an area there. I do a talk on the power of electronic music and perform at Noisily Festival, and have also worked with Wilderness Festival, too."

Tell us something our students may not know about you.

"I was an active participant in Djing, performing a PA of Dub War and playing live keyboards for Spiral Tribe at Castlemorton Common Festival, which was the largest ever illegal free party in the UK. I had mixed Spiral Tribes’ first record and was invited to go and play keyboards over their DJs, which I’d never done before. That was a lot of fun.

"They [Spiral Tribe] were instrumental in Castlemorton, and I got involved and helped them on their little journey which culminated with seven sound systems turning up at the common and 35,000 people just appearing out of nowhere.

"It did instigate the Criminal Justice Act 1994, but it’s something of a legend in the rave and electronic dance scene, so to be a part of that has a certain rep."

I love seeing people’s imagination spark. That moment where their mindset changes and they go, “Yeah, I can do that; I can go further.” I really like opening the doors for people to do that.

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