All photo used with permission of Ahee
Chris Adams, or better known as Ahee, is a bass producer who is catapulting his way into the stratosphere with his multi-faceted and energetic approach to electronic music. Known for his ability to bring his unique energy to any genre, Ahee has been busy touring and playing festivals across the US, including Bass Canyon and Lost Lands 2022. His shows are always an absolute blast and tons of fun. Chris performs with such passion and fervor. Just by watching you can tell he truly loves producing and performing – he is constantly bouncing and dancing and truly never stands still on stage. He’s going on tour with TVBOO and I can’t recommend seeing him enough. Check out his upcoming tour schedule here and his socials here.
Chris and I sat down backstage at Same Same But Different Festival (SSBD). Off stage Chris is incredibly kind, gracious and fascinating to talk to– our conversation flowed effortlessly. I was sad as I came to the last question as I felt I could have talked with him for far longer.
I previously met Chris at a local show where we chatted briefly. Before our interview at SSBD began, Chris told me he remembered that my favorite song of his is his funky/bassy remix of “Burning Love” by Big Gigantic. He then told me he specifically put that song in his SSBD set for me since he knew I’d be here. I was blown away and touched by the kindness of this powerful gesture – not only did he remember our fleeting conversation but he knew hearing that song would make me ecstatic (and it did)! Between hearing that and interviewing him, I was on Cloud 9. Not only is Chris a fantastic performer and producer, he is a ridiculously wonderful human.
Festival Squad: Thank you for sitting down with me and Chris, I truly appreciate it. This is your first time at Same Same But Different Festival – what do you think so far?
Ahee: Well, we’ve just gotten here to the Artists Lounge and I feel like I’m in an antique boutique. There’s some velvety chairs and silver platters and then there’s this epic stage right behind us. I love all these nice lights and friendly people, and I can tell tonight’s gonna be a vibe.
Festival Squad: We’re super excited for you to play. What kind of set do you have planned for us and why did you choose to go in this direction? What do you want people to take to feel or take away from this set?
Ahee: I think the emotion and the human feeling that I love the most is excitement, you know? And so I try to bring a lot of excitement to my sets. I am also bringing a funkier sound for tonight. I made some special remixes for SSBD that I’ve never played before— I literally made the songs for this festival. Do you remember the song, “Fly Like an Eagle” [by the Steve Miller Band]? I made a remix just for tonight’s set. I’m sort of playing off the funkier inspirations of Big Gigantic, Griz, The Funk Hunters and I’m playing my new collab with Big Gigantic. I will also be playing my remixes of The Funk Hunters and Big Gigantic.
Festival Squad: That’s amazing. This festival is so funk oriented and I really love that you tailored your set for this festival– that speaks volumes about you as a producer. It’s just so special that you are going the extra mile– I’m so excited!
Ahee: Yeah. I try to tailor every mix that I do to the festival and crowd. I do quite a bit of research [of the festival] beforehand of what people are into because I make every style of music and so I have a lot of different styles of music and I try to cater towards that, but always do it in the way that expresses me through that style.
Festival Squad: Again, I’m so excited!
Ahee: “Excitement” is the right feeling– good!
Festival Squad: Who inspires you to create your unique blend of music?
Ahee: I get inspiration in so many different ways and perspectives. Sometimes it’s a song, sometimes it’s a feeling, sometimes it’s a vibe. Like I said for tonight, you know, I was trying to cater towards the vibe that I saw that people loved here and who I’ve seen play here before. I always tried to bring my own character and express myself through whatever flavor I’m trying to curate for the night.
Festival Squad: If you could collab with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Ahee: Ooh, hardly anyone’s gonna know this, but I think Aphex Twin.
Festival Squad: I know him– that would be really fun and interesting.
Ahee: Nice! I actually brought my Aphex Twin umbrella. I heard it was gonna rain at some point, although it’s not right now. I don’t know if Aphex Twin would ever collab, but I’d really love to work with him. I’m doing one now with Big Gigantic – I’ve always wanted to work with them. I’ve always wanted to work with Griz, Zed’s Dead and so many other artists. It’s literally my dream to be the artist that everyone wants to work with because they can just tell that I’m inspired by everything and can do it well.
Festival Squad: I think you’re 100% headed in that direction. You have this really amazing upward trajectory and it’s very exciting to watch.
Ahee: It is very exciting for me too. It’s been my dream.
Festival Squad: Please tell me about your creative process. What does a day in the life look like for you?
Ahee: For me it’s always different. I guess my creative process is that I tend to work really fast. I work on so much music and a lot of it is not very good.
Festival Squad: Why do you say that?
Ahee: Just from the perspective of being a curator, so I know what’s good and what’s bad. I make a lot of bad music and because I make so much of it, the good ones pop up every now and then, and then I really focus on those and let them age over time, like wine; then that’s when I actually share them with people and whatnot. Some songs will come through in just like a day or two and the whole song will just be done. Those are often my best ones. But if I struggle over a long period of time I’ll let them age and then do little tweaks over time.
Festival Squad: To finish a song in a day or two –that’s really impressive. I mean, I have no idea how much work goes into producing a track, but that seems very intense.
Ahee: Yeah, in those two or three days, I’m basically working on it nonstop, you know, and it feels like they’re like I’m not even real during that time.
Festival Squad: Can you expand on that please?
Ahee: It’s like I’m not even there– I’m a witness to what’s happening and [the music] is just flowing through me. And because I spend so long in the studio, I just know the movements of what I need to do to achieve the end result that the song desires; I’m just a facilitator to make the song that wants to exist.
Festival Squad: That’s such a fascinating way to look at that. Would you say you’re kind of this instrument, so to speak?
Ahee: Oh yeah, that’s exactly it.
Festival Squad: What is something that you feel is not getting talked about enough about your music or the music industry in general?
Ahee: You know, I, I feel like it’s easy for people to perceive me as a “Burning Man wook,” cause I look like a burning man wook, and I would agree with them– I’m a Burning Man wook, but also I have a really deep interest in science and physics. I have a particular interest in waves and how the science of waves can be expanded into not just light and sound, but with gravity.
Festival Squad: Do you mean soundwaves?
Ahee: To give you an example, I recently got upgraded on a flight that was canceled on my tour and I talked to a fiber optic specialist. I was talking about the properties of sound and he was talking about the properties of light. And then we started talking about “what if we applied those same things to gravity,” because humanity just discovered that gravity has wave-like properties as well. And so we wondered, “if, if gravity is a wave, what are all the other aspects of waves that we can now apply to gravity?” We had an amazing conversation and I sort of personally relate this to how UFOs may work.
Festival Squad: Could you expand on that please? I’m really curious to know…
Ahee: UFOs have sort of been this mythological thing in humanity: are they real? Are they alien? Are they the government or whatever? That’s all interesting, but I think about how they work and the phenomenon, so I wonder, “why is it existing? Is it just all in people’s heads or is there science behind it?” I like to explore ideas like, “what if they are scientific? And what would that look like?”
Nicola Tesla said everything is frequency and waves. And so I was like, “well, let’s listen to Nicola Tesla.” Maybe they’re using gravity waves to create a bubble of phase canceled gravity wave, so it’s like a bubble where they can interact with gravity inside that bubble separate from the gravity outside of it, and basically use gravity to fall in any direction, as proposed to rocket propulsion that we use.
Festival Squad: That’s a really interesting concept and perspective.
Ahee: A lot of people sort of judge me on my wookish-look without getting to really know me; they don’t know I like to think about the deeper aspects of reality through a scientific lens.
Festival Squad: Thank you for sharing that with us; that was really, really informative and intriguing. I hope you get to publish your work on that someday.
Ahee: I’m currently being connected with a couple of engineers and physicists right now thanks to the random guy I met in first class. He is in his seventies and he was like, “oh my God, this is so interesting. I gotta connect you with my mentors.” I’m hoping that I get to explore that side of myself as well.
Festival Squad: I am excited to read about it. This actually dovetails perfectly into my next question– your music and live performances make frequent references to aliens and extraterrestrial life forms. Have you had experiences with them?
Ahee: Well, I think that’s why I’m interested in them because I have had personal experiences, both sober and under the influence. And also I think that the alien aspect isn’t necessarily limited to UFOs, but I think there’s a multidimensional aspect to it that has to do with consciousness. My personal experiences were so profound that it’s influenced my very core of my being to the point where I need to express through my art. My art is sort of a medium or a vessel for me to express these other experiences I’ve had in my life that are truly phenomenal. I talked about them in depth on the TVBOO podcast I recently did, but it takes a little while to tell the full story, but I hope I get to more often.
Festival Squad: I do hope I get to hear about them more in depth at some point. You post a lot of production tutorials on social media. What prompted you to start making these?
Ahee: I believe in karma and I always thought that as I got better as a producer, it was important for me to help others. I always thought that by helping others, it would help me, which ties into my psychedelic experiences because I always felt as though there’s an intrinsic oneness between all things. So by helping others, I’m helping myself. It also comes down to just wanting to hear better music in the world. I knew that if I was able to explain and teach these things, then people would get better at expressing themselves and that’s just gonna create more joy in the world; I think the world desperately needs just that.
Festival Squad: I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s really beautiful that you choose to share your tips and tricks to help others. We, as fans, are so fascinated by the production and the process. It’s really wonderful that you are teaching people how to make art.
Ahee: It makes me very happy when I meet people and they’re like, “you’ve allowed me to make my music sound better” and it just makes me so happy to see people be able to express themselves. And I see the joy it brings them and that brings me joy.
Festival Squad: That must be such an amazing feeling. Do you get a lot of feedback from fans who have used your tutorials to enhance their music?
Ahee: Yeah, I have, especially as I tour more and meet more people and see their reaction in person – that’s just so cool. I honestly had no idea how much I am affecting people, at least that’s what I’m hearing from fans. You never know what a good deed will lead to.
Festival Squad: Are there special projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?
Ahee: Yes, I have so many projects going on right now. There’s a collab with Big Gigantic. I’m also going on tour with TVBOO. I’m also joining Level Up for a couple of her shows and Manic Focus on a couple of his shows. Next year I’m gonna be touring with Subtronics! This is gonna be an awesome couple of years.
Festival Squad: I’m so excited for your growth and your journey. I think you’re just going to catapult into the stratosphere.
Ahee: I’ve always dreamed of this, since I was six years old. I’ve always known what I wanted to do and who I wanted to become since I was six. It’s been a journey getting there – it’s not just all happiness– there’s been a lot of personal struggles, which are all part of the journey. I don’t know where my journey will lead, but I trust the process.
Festival Squad: I don’t think a lot of people can say with confidence at such a young age that they’re going to do this thing and then follow through decades later.
Ahee: Thank you. It came to me in a vision. I was in my childhood bathroom and I was looking at the corner, which means nothing to anybody but me, but to me it I saw my whole life flash before my eyes. I didn’t understand it cause I was six years old, you know? It was conceptualized by the mind of a child and I’m still just learning what that truly means.
Festival Squad: It’s so powerful that you manifested this vision into your career. I saw your Instagram story from Bass Canyon when you heard your music being played at two different vendors – [Ahee laughs] – you seemed to be in awe. Are you still surprised when you hear your music “in the wild”?
Ahee: Every. Single. Time. Every single time! I don’t think I’ll ever be not surprised really because, who am I? I’m just another human, you know? And just to hear people loving my music, I’ll never get bored of that. It’s so cool to me. And I’ll never not be surprised.
Festival Squad: Your reaction was so pure– it warmed my heart.
Ahee: It warmed my heart too, I was like, “what??” It was especially cool because it was people I knew from California from me going to festivals and being a wook for a decade, you know?
Festival Squad: How was your experience playing at Bass Canyon this year?
Ahee: Oh, it was amazing! I think I gained a lot of new fans there. I think it was a lot of people’s first time seeing me in my full element. I’m really appreciative of the Excision team for bringing me on to that – I’m excited to do more.
Festival Squad: You’ve mentioned that you make a lot of different types of music besides bass music. Can you tell me about that?
Ahee: I released my 69th album in 2018, the Ghost Angel album, to give you an idea of how much music I’ve made, and that’s not including unreleased stuff. I’ve sort of lost track since then. I mostly wrote IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) like Aphex Twin — I wrote 49 albums in 4 years when I was in college– it was insane (here’s a link to his early work: http://www.zotrecords.com/index23.html ).
Festival Squad: That’s an obscene amount of music to create.
Ahee: It was; not all of it’s great. I started with IDM and was more experimental, And then slowly got into more bass and electronic music. I just don’t want to ever limit myself because I want to be doing music the rest of my life. I wanna always explore new things because I’m inspired by new things.
Festival Squad: I had no idea that one person could produce that much music. Is there a specific genre that you haven’t worked in that you would like to work in?
Ahee: I have a whole hyper-pop album that I made and I just didn’t show anybody. It might be fun to release that, but it’s, I don’t know if I could release it as Ahee.
Festival Squad: Can you tell me what hyper-pop is? I haven’t heard that one before.
Ahee: Hyper-pop is a new experimental form of pop music but I made it all with AI or robot-like vocalists. And so it’s like AI-pop with me playing guitar. I try to throw out every production rule out of the book and just experiment and explore. I have a collab with a jump up drum-and-bass artist that I can’t say right now, but they’re based out of the UK and I’m very excited to try that out.
Festival Squad: Can’t wait to hear it. I do like some drum bass. You have a drum bass mix, don’t you?
Ahee: Yes, I have a couple songs. I just released a remix for Reaper called, “Move Together.” I think that song worked out really well. It was really cool seeing Big Gigantic playing it on their Brighter Future Two tour. I’ve made a drum-and- bass song in the past made out of a didgeridoo– I love combining things you wouldn’t expect, but doing it in a way that feels right.
Festival Squad: That sounds incredible.
Ahee: I might play it tonight. We’ll see.
Festival Squad: So when you’re not making music, what are some of your hobbies or interests?
Ahee: I really like learning about science, history and philosophy and I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks. I live in the Redwoods so I like being out in nature. I always like trying to figure out where I could grow my perspectives. I love listening to things that are outside of my box to maybe learn something from a new perspective and then to test it against what I believe and what I see. I’m always wondering how I’m wrong, cause I know I’m wrong about something. And I like to experiment with how to grow as a human.
Festival Squad: Thank you so much, Chris. I really appreciate you taking the time to sit down with me. I cannot wait to see you later tonight.
Ahee: It was so great to talk with you –thank you. Tonight is gonna be so much fun. Thank you.