‘Jubilant and celebratory, it ignites a soul-centred energy within you.’
Intro to Adam Douglas
Norway based American singer-songwriter Adam Douglas’ music is hard to box into one genre, but neither is his sound one that you would want to restrict. Confidence oozes from him, and with ‘Build a Fire’ taking influence from Americana, pop and soul, it results in explosively feel-good music. Additionally, the assertiveness within his sound reflects recent soul-searching and self-reflection too. Far from being in a midlife crisis, Adam Douglas is an artist who knows himself and where he’s come from, and bringing his audience along for an exploration of what he calls ‘midlife analysis’, he reflects on his life in recently released album ‘Better Angels’. Sitting as track three on that album, ‘Build a Fire’ is a belting tune, one that’s perfect to get moving to, and while rest of the album follows in the same upbeat vein, more pensive tracks, such as ‘Change My Mind’ bring stylish diversity.
Across the past year, we have all become a little overfamiliar with confinement. Perhaps, like Adam Douglas, you’ve utilised the time for some introspection. Or, maybe you’ve started a new project or relationship. Whatever your experiences have been though, we’ve all gained a little more appreciation for what we have. And, it’s in this realisation that Adam found his inspiration for ‘Build a Fire’, focusing on taking care of what he already has, as opposed to constantly seeking out the new.
The song is jubilant, celebratory, and it’s near impossible to not find your spirits raised after listening to it. Adam opens the song with funky guitars plucking out a toe-tapping beat, before his rich, velvety vocals swoop in. For him though, ‘Build a Fire’ is about his relationship with his wife, and the importance of sustaining and nurturing it.
Speaking about the track, Adam said, ‘At first I thought the song was about trying to attract someone. But then I realised it’s more about keeping the fire going at home. It’s a big world out there, with many temptations. But still the best feeling I know is coming home to my wife and my family knowing that I’m with the people I truly care about and love, and that it’s a feeling we share.’
Quickly developing in texture, the song shows off his versatility brilliantly, with strings and saxophones building towards a truly ecstatic crescendo. Using this energy to promote his message, the audience gets a sense of the effort and care that he puts into both his music and life. Adam’s positive disposition is infectious, even sitting at a desk the listener finds themselves bobbing their head along to the groovy beat. No more is this apparent though than with the particularly catchy chorus, the combination of saxophones and powerful vocals intensifying the exuberant feeling the song instils in the listener.
Balancing vocalisation with instrumentals, Adam also incorporates showcase solos throughout. Each getting its moment in the spotlight; growling guitars to triumphant trumpets, harmonised horns to sinuous strings, they honestly are the most gorgeous additions. Likewise, with the ending seeing a blend of shredding guitars and looping saxophone hooks gradually fade to a low rumble, ‘Build a Fire’ is a song that screams out to be performed live. The crowd moving along with the beat, a raucous cheer going up at the end. For now though, we will have to make do with turning the volume up loud and dancing in our homes, while we imagine the elation of that live show.
Feature by Ella McLaren