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New album led Adult. welcome some "Detroit House Guests"
It's been 20 years since Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller played their first show together, as Artificial Material, in Germany. They subsequently settled in Detroit and became Plasma Co. before switching to Adult., the name the world has known the electronic music duo and married couple under since 1998.
During that time Kuperus and Miller have released ?? albums along with plenty of standalone tracks, and they've remixed songs for nearly two dozen acts including Pet Shop Boys and Death in Vegas. Their latest project, "Detroit House Guests," comes out March 17; The duo first conceived the all-star collaboration in 2000 and finally made it a reality via a $40,000 Knight Foundation grant in 2014.
The realization of that dream will keep Adult. fueled throughout 2017, along with a number of high-profile appearances -- including this weekend's home town appearance as part of the Barely Human Fest, which Adult. headlines on Saturday, Feb. 11...
Miller says that circumstances, notably moving to a new home in Detroit, have helped Adult. feel the passage of time it's been together. "Getting a new life set up and running, it can be extremely hilarious going through 20 years of music," he says by phone. "Some of the (computer) files won't open; We have to convert them and go through all sorts of machinations. And there's a mountain of papers; We have notes that you don't know what the hell they mean. Eighteen years ago a 'C-sharp, F' in the corner of a piece of paper made sense, but now..."
Nevertheless, the couple is grateful for its longevity. "I think we still feel very humble that we could still be a band after 20 years," Miller notes. "It's not an easy thing to do." Kuperus adds that, "It's not for us to judge, but it seems like our fans find that we're continually continuing to be interesting and challenging and relevant -- that's the big challenge."
The "Detroit House Guests" was conceived as an aural equivalent to a visual artist residency, in which guests -- including Michael Gira of Swans and Angels of Light, Nitzer Ebb co-founder Douglas J. McCarthy and Light Asylum's Shannon Funchess -- came to Adult.'s home for three weeks each to make music together. "We kind of morphed the visual art residency model into the idea of, 'Well, what would that look like with musicians?'" Kuperus explains. "It's not really a common mode of music-making. For an artist it's a great way to learn and experience something. And it let them spend some significant time on one city, which you don't really ever get to do as a touring artist."
Bringing someone into your home, even friends, for that length of time can be a risky proposition, but Miller says that "the one thread everybody had was professionalism. Everybody was so unique and different. There was no requirement to write any songs; The (grant) was for collaboration, not a record. But everybody was like, 'This is in our blood. This is how we communicate with others,' so (recording) was inevitable."
Kuperus says most of their "Detroit House Guests" "didn't know anything about Detroit," and she and Miller made sure they were well informed during their stays with Adult. "We did a plethora of things," Kuperus reports, "anything from going to the Motown Museum to the Dequindre Cut or going and having dinner at Craft Work." Miller notes that "it turned out to be a gift for us as well. We got to do a lot of things we had not had time to go and do yet; Living here 20 years, somehow you never make it to this or that. It was like we were always planning some sort of field trip."
The Barely Human Fest featuring Adult., ESG, Black Marble and more
8 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Feb. 10-12.
El Club 4114 W. Vernor Highway, Detroit.
Tickets are $20 per night $50 for a three-day pass.
Visit elclubdetroit.com for full lineup and details.
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