Nothing has defined the career of A.Skillz so much as his complete disregard for traditional musical boundaries. When A.Skillz and Krafty Kuts released their game-changing collaboration Trickatechnology in 2003, they set the stage for the genre-bending, big-bass sound that has become so prevalent in Western Canadian music culture.
Ten years later, and with a new EP nearly completed, Adam Mills still appreciates the value of doing something different. “There’s always boundaries, where people that are into one genre don’t like another genre, I just think people are less worried about that now. Everyone’s making music at different tempos and [are] less worried about what genre [their music] fits into. I think that’s really the way forward now – to blur the lines.”
The sheer number and variety of recognizable hooks in a typical A.Skillz set bears out this commitment to variety, with influences as diverse as Otis Redding and Journey making appearances in his own consistently versatile musical voice.
With a music career spanning over a decade, Mills has witnessed monumental changes in music – the death of labels and the drop in traditional record sales. As musical technology and the Internet have flourished, amateurs have become more and more widespread in the music industry, which to him is a double-edged sword. “You know, part of me wishes it was still like it was, because back then music had to be of a certain quality in order to be released. Now, you’re seeing this music that isn’t quite finished but it’s still out there doing the rounds. On the other hand it is really great that someone can upload something to Soundcloud and say to the world ‘What do you think of this?’ and really be heard, so it goes both ways.” By constantly posting mixes and giving away bootlegs for free, Mills has found his own reliable recipe for online success: more material, which made him more accessible.
As an artist who found initial success in a more traditional music market Millas has managed to adapt and evolve in the digital era. With his ability to keep sets fresh by continually creating bootlegs and remixes of the classic tracks that influence his sound. Paradoxically, Mills has produced very little in the way of original material as a result of his worldwide success as a DJ. “It’s been really weird, because it’s been the DJ performances that have fuelled my career more than actually putting out music, which for me feels the wrong way around. I didn’t get into it because I thought I was a great DJ or anything, I just wanted to make music.” His forthcoming original material is his first proper release since Trickatechnology, a funny trick of success for someone who has become something of a household name in underground dance music circles.
By James NasonBC, British Columbia