Adriatique is the brainchild of Swiss artists Adrian Shala and Adrian Schweizer. Over the past seven years, the pair have traced a remarkable trajectory through the underground, making a name for themselves among house and techno’s most globally recognized acts.
Much of the duo’s success has revolved around their sophisticated studio output: an varied body of work that includes multiple EPs on Solomun’s powerhouse Diynamic label as well as forward-thinking releases on their own imprint, Siamese.
More recently, they’ve become a fixture on Afterlife: Tale of Us’s global techno collective which plays host to many of the scene’s most innovative producers of the moment — which includes artists such as Recondite, Patrice Baumel, and Stephan Bodzin.
It is here, on Afterlife, where Adriatique have released their new album Nude: an enthralling 13-track LP that combines the pair’s signature cinematic synth-work with darker, organic soundscapes.
It marks the beginning of a new chapter for the duo. Not only does it serve as their debut album, but it also breaks new sonic territory. While their penchant for house and techno is still largely on display, the body of work expertly forays into a myriad of genres, from electronica and ambient to downtempo.
As it happens, Nude is actually the pair’s third attempt at writing an album. Perfectionists to the core, Adriatique’s first two iterations failed to meet their standards and ultimately never saw the light of day.
“We had a rough album idea a few years ago,” Shala tells Billboard via Skype from Ibiza. “We did 15 to 18 tracks which we thought were quite good at the time. After a couple months, we were quite bored.” So they shelved it. All 18 tracks, discarded.
Part of the pair’s frustration with these early attempts was a self-imposed loyalty to their fan base. Having made their name writing house and techno tracks, they felt obligated to uphold that reputation and not stray too far from the form.
“We were still a little stuck in the responsibility to the dance floor, or to our fans and what they would expect in terms of our previous stuff,” Shala says. At a certain point, however, the pair had to let go off that obligation and accept the idea of presenting their full, honest vision (hence the title, Nude). “With Nude, it came together that we really felt ready to do something which absolutely has no compromises in it,” Shala says.
That much is immediately evident when listening to the album. There’s something unquantifiable on the tracks: a kind of complex, emotional nuance that inspires further listening. With conspicuous influence from classical, hip-hop and ambient, it’s a far more diverse sound than the pair have offered in the past.
Much of this stems from the creative process behind the project. Seeking to push their abilities further than ever before, they made a conscious effort to incorporate more live instruments and musicians, even bringing a quartet into their Berlin studio. “All the strings you hear on the album are live,” Shala says. “We re-recorded a lot of the stuff with live instruments like drums, guitars, marimbas. The idea was to bring our stuff to another level.” The result is Adriatique’s most mature work to date.
As for what’s next, Adriatique are currently in the midst of a world tour, showcasing the album on the road with an arsenal of reworked album tracks that have been remixed by the duo to work in the club environment. Check out Adriatique’s full dates here and listen to Nude below.