MC: When you were starting out, what challenges did you face that aspiring producers now do not?
AdK: When I started, it was harder to get your music out. Now there are so many platforms; people have so much more access to music. If the Beatles were around today, but they were terrible at social media, who’s to say anyone would pay attention? Before, it was hard to get [your music] out. But if you did, you had a fair shot. Now it’s easier to get out. But once you do, how do you differentiate yourself? And that’s only going to increase as we get more platforms. It’ll be easier to make music; you’ll have more people going into it because you don’t need a million-dollar budget to make an album. You can do it pretty easily for a thousand dollars now. And it can be great––just as good as the million-dollar one, if not better.
MC: What are the three most important things you’ve learned as a producer?
AdK: Try not to compromise on your initial goal. You can go around in circles in the studio as a creative person. Two, try not to be influenced by all of the outside forces. There are a lot of people inside the studio and out who will have an opinion. Three, being able to speak everybody’s [technical] language gets things done quicker and easier. Learn as much about your craft as you can. There are a lot of people who are passionate about this, and if you’re not you should let them do it
MC: In what ways has writing and/or production gotten easier for you? In what ways has it gotten harder?
AdK: I used to spend a week and I’d have one or two decent songs, if I was lucky. That was every day for 18 hours. What used to take me a week I can do in a day now. I have access to more, and people are open to my ideas. But I can make a track in a day. It used to take a week. That may be due to pressure, though. I used to make them just to make them. Now someone wants a song by tomorrow. I work well under pressure.
On the down side, I have less time to study the new songwriters and new sounds. That’s good and bad because it makes me stay in my own world and I’m less influenced by other things.
MC: How do you decide to accept a project?
AdK: I do one or two big ones a year outside of my label. Those are [chosen] based on whether I like the person and if I understand where they’re going, creatively. I have a lot of conversations with different artists and sometimes I don’t agree with the direction in which they want to go. There’s no point in trying to convince them not to. I don’t have that kind of time or energy. Ninety-nine percent of my career is based on a feeling.
MC: Did you work with Imagine Dragons on their new stuff? What was that like?
AdK: Yes. That was very different. The first album was me and the lead singer Dan [Reynolds] working together a lot. We wrote a number of songs. Making music with a band is so different from making music with a rapper. There are multiple people with multiple opinions. You have to be so much more political with a band as a result. Working on this album is different than the first one because now the band is doing world tours. It’s a different scenario. There’s always great chemistry with Imagine Dragons. That’s why I signed them.
MC: What projects are in your future?
AdK: Everything on my label: Imagine Dragons’ second album, X Ambassadors’ and Jamie N Commons’ first albums. I just did Nicki Minaj’s new single with Skylar Grey. Skylar’s album will also come next year. I’m thinking about doing a lot more in 2015, in terms of going back to work with other people. I also have several business ideas. Like everybody, I want to figure out what the next model is.