A Whitley Bay-based marine insurance claims adjuster who found his musical mojo during lockdown is preparing to release his latest single.
Adam Curran – better known as independent electronic music producer Arcade Skies – has garnered praise from BBC Introducing, as well as regional radio stations and arts and culture magazines since he began channeling his creative talents into his own music during the first Covid lockdown of 2020 He has since released two critically acclaimed EPs and a string of singles, with his latest work, Sugar Sugar, set to hit the airwaves on May 2nd.
Adam, 44, specializes in ’80s synth-pop electronica under the guise of his alter ego Arcade Skies. The name was inspired by both Whitley Bay’s arcades and the spectacular sunrises and sunsets seen on lockdown walks.
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Describing the largely instrumental Sugar Sugar as “relaxed electronic synth-pop folktronica,” Adam says he enjoyed showing off his versatility as a musician able to play a range of instruments from piano to saxophone on his latest musical endeavor . He told ChronicleLive, “It was great to be able to play clarinet again on a new song, this time for the main riff. Sugar Sugar combines woodwinds with virtual instruments to produce a catchy lounge house duet with an uplifting atmosphere.”
Adam likes all genres of music, but he explains why he turned to synths and electronics, “because a lot of the artists I like are from the 1980s and that’s the kind of music I tend to listen to. I thought it would be good to produce my own.
“Over time, I’ve also moved more in an ambient, atmospheric direction. But I still like the folktronica element because it’s nice to bring real live instruments into songs.”
Adam writes all of his own material – which could hardly be any different from his job as Senior Claims Executive at leading Newcastle-based marine insurance company North P&I. A trained solicitor with a Bachelor of Laws from Northumbria University, he describes Arcade Skies as originally a “creative hobby” brought about by lockdown, a parallel interest in electronic arts shared by his wife Clare and his cousin, who has a band.
He said: “My cousin was promoting a new band and I was kind of interested in what they were doing and wanted to find out a little bit more. I started researching music myself by researching the internet and YouTube and figured out the basics of how to start and what equipment I would need and it really went from there.
“In terms of music, I’ve been involved with playing different instruments my whole life. I took piano lessons for a short time when I was very young and I always had a keyboard and somehow upgraded it every year. Then I played the clarinet at school, which is pretty strong on Sugar Sugar.
“At one point I had a drum kit and some guitars and just played around with the instruments by ear, really. I recently got myself a saxophone because I realized that if you can play the clarinet you can also play the saxophone. The thing about the clarinet is that it sounds good but looks cooler if you want to be in a band and play the saxophone.”
Arcade Skies is a solo project for Adam and he’s had success almost from day one. He said: “It started quite well when my first single was featured on BBC Introducing. Since then, I’ve been getting radio plays regularly.”
His fan base is growing through Spotify, YouTube and Bandcamp, and while he’s not ready to quit his day job just yet, Adam said, “Another way of looking at it, whether something really takes off or not, is that to me it doesn’t matter whether I do my hobby, because I will do it anyway. But everything that comes out of it is a bonus. You gradually grow and people find out about you and then it just takes a small breakthrough and it grows exponentially.”