When last we spoke of adoptahighway, the experimental electronic project of classically trained musician Barry Paul Clark was announcing the release date and debuting the first single for A Fault, his first album in two years and longest release since 2010’s I Can’t Remember. It’s been more than a month since adoptahighway’s latest became officially available. However, Friday’s long-awaited return of the MELT series marks the first time Clark’s pet project will play in support of the new record. Before he takes the stage, we spoke to the adoptahighway mastermind about the hyper-personal release, the staggering self-doubt that sometimes accompanies the artistic process, and the Wes Tank-directed music videos he’s releasing in conjunction with A Fault (one of which we debut below).
Milwaukee Record: So the album has already been out for more than a month, but this kind of marks your unofficial release show, right?
Barry Paul Clark: Yeah, only because I didn’t have the time or ability to put together a release show when I initially wanted it to come out. I didn’t really have the resources in place for a real release show with the timeline of how and when the record finally came out. Then, about a week before the record came out, Demix asked about me playing a MELT resurgence show at Cactus Club. So I did all the promotion and ran all around the state with the record and now I get to perform it.
MR: You’ve previously stressed that you were behind every part of the record. It seems like that’s an important element of the record—that you did every facet.
BC: Yeah, absolutely. It was important that I do everything because it’s a hyper-personal record. It had a lot to do with how I attempt to express myself and how I try to find inspiration, cultivate, and see myself as a creative individual. All these existential things that I think a lot of other artists go through. But this is my own specific experience with that, so that’s why doing it on my own was important. It would be tough to get someone else into my zone. it wouldn’t feel 100 percent genuine.
MR: And if I’m not wrong, even down to the name itself—A Fault—the album confronts a few of your doubts about yourself, some of the lows that accompany the artistic process. With this a means of working through it or were you just acknowledging it and putting it to wax?
BC: I did it because it was something I wanted to express. Part of it, I equate to exorcising a demon; you’re trying to get rid of it, but there’s always the experience of having it. I don’t think I necessarily got through it. I wanted to at least adequately and honestly express it. That aspect of the creative process, the having doubts and issues and what it really means to have creative expression will always be an issue. Not just with adoptahighway, but other musical circles, and what I’m sure other musicians are dealing with.This is just my expression.
BC: When I was getting ready to release the record, I sent Wes an advanced digital copy. I saw the video work he was doing for Hellfyre Club and his own stuff, and I’ve been a pretty big admirer of what he’s done. We’ve collaborated together before, so I thought he would be the guy to go to. He ended up sharing it with Adam Carr, and we all got together. Adam runs the Milwaukier Than Thou blog. Adam really know locations in the city very well. He’s really good at finding places you can almost hear. We did a big long day of shooting without any sort of narrative in mind, but we shot a bunch of stuff and now we’re in the editing process of putting together a narrative that will kind of arc the entire shoot. Each track will technically have its own video, but you can either watch the entire album of watch each individually.
adoptahighway will play as part of MELT’s return Friday, March 27 at Cactus Club with ZeroBeat, The Demix, Night Hunter (aka Stagediver), and Stratus. The show begins at 9 p.m. and costs $6 at the door.