Fallen Atom Talks About His Musical Influences Growing Up And His Latest Single “88” Featuring Rothstein
We recently caught up with Adam Fallen (a.k.a Fallen Atom) about his latest musical project with Rothstein, what inspired him to get into music and his plans for 2022. Here is what he had to share:
Please introduce yourself to the readers and how you first got into music:
My name is Adam Fallen, I go by the name Fallen Atom and I’m a music producer and musician that is on a mission to level up the frequency of the planet through good vibes, holistic living, and good music! I was 12 years old and I had just started at Charleston County School of the Arts as a Visual Arts major. It was a cool environment of all these talented people and you had 90 minutes a day of your major. At the time, I was keyed in on growing up to be a car designer. I was in the 6th grade and it was the last year they were implementing the exploratory program which is a program where every Friday for 9 weeks, you had to participate in a different major. They started me off in guitar class and I was frustrated by it!
I had been told in elementary school that I had an amazing ear for music by my music teacher, yet I was uninterested and was more focused on visual art. Then, the first day of guitar exploratory class all of that would change. My (now) best friend had brought his bass to class and showed me how to play “Smoke On The Water” and from then on, I was hooked. I went home and told my dad I would like a guitar! I also loved to skateboard and at that time I had an older friend that took me to his friend’s house in the neighborhood where he was blasting Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” I remember feeling like such a badass skating to this loud rock music and something about that guitar sound enticed me!
Luckily my parents took the hint and for my birthday I received a guitar, an amp, and lessons with one of the best players in Charleston, SC at the time. My dad was an owner and manager of some of the most popular restaurants and had all the best jazz musicians playing at his spots, so I was blessed to have some world class musicians as my first teachers.
Who were some of your influences growing up?
I will first start off with saying just how supportive my mom and dad were of allowing me to pursue my passions. My dad went to the end of the universe to make sure I felt loved and supported on my journey and growing up my parents were always playing Earth, Wind, and Fire and The Beatles, along with classic rock and blues around the house. Once my dad realized I loved Nirvana he turned me on to Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix and that shattered my universe! Between hearing Jimmy Page on Led Zeppelin on “Good Times, Bad Times” and Jimi Hendrix on “Purple Haze” I was hooked. From there, I went into the rabbit hole of all the rock from the 60’s and 70’s which then led me to blues.
I fell in love with BB King, Eric Clapton, and Buddy Guy to the point where I lived and breathed the blues in my room for sometimes, 8 hours a day. Shortly after winning regional blues contests, I had an experience of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” played live by some of the best jazz musicians in Charleston and was instantly obsessed with jazz. This opened me to Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue” and I fell into the rabbit hole of legendary jazz musicians. All of this opened me up to guitar players like Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt, and Pat Metheny. The list is endless but those are the ones that had some of the biggest impacts on me.
What kind of training have you had, if any?
I have had extensive training from so many different types of amazing teachers and musicians. I first started out with a flamenco guitar player that taught me the basic techniques of guitar and allowed me to expand. He taught me a lot of the proper techniques to phrase and bend the notes to play the blues like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. Then as I grew into being known as a “blues prodigy” at 15 years old in Charleston (after winning some blues contests against 30 and 40 year old guitar players). Luckily before my ego grew too big, I was humbled by an incredible teacher named Lee Barbour that taught me what was originally supposed to be jazz guitar and expanded to a philosophy of how to teach myself.
He was a little tough on me and I remember how nervous I was to show up unprepared. It taught me a lot about discipline and how to practice and prepare for anything. With Lee’s help I made it into Jazz Big Band at School of the Arts. It gave me a great platform to practice reading music, grooving with the rhythm section and getting a lot of downtime to jam with other musicians. Then around age 17 or 18 I got a scholarship to be in the jazz performance program at College of Charleston which went onto extensive training and mastering the instrument as well as mentorship with teachers that toured the world playing for major artists.
Many of my teachers took me under their wing, had me sit in at gigs and gave me a lot of real world advice on how to be prepared and present on a gig. I attended CofC for 3 years until I moved to NYC in a national exchange program at Queens College. While living in NYC I had my butt handed to me by masters such as Antonio Hart , Gilad Hekselman, Michael Mossman, and Stephane Wrembel. Throughout it all, I was also playing in Gospel Churches on Sundays which is where I learned more about music and the human connection than almost all of my academic schooling.
Church taught me feeling and trusting my ears connection to the heart amongst many other things. In addition, I started working with a Female Shaman from Peru playing for healing ceremonies and then I learned even deeper lessons about music from the perspective of healing and it being a universal language. Throughout all of my career and playing another huge part of my training has been my life’s experiences playing with major artists in the pop and R&B music world.
Tell us about your new music/album:
This new song “88” is just a preview of all the music I have been so diligently working on for the last 2–3 years. As a musician with a long string of touring and playing for other people, I have made a lot of music in the past that is very much for the ears of a musician. With “88” I wanted to still make it musical yet fun for the popular music crowd too. I had the idea to create something that was sexy, relatable, and dance-worthy with a sub tone of healing vibes. I started the beat in early 2021 and had been perfecting it when I realized that I really wanted to put some good lyrics and singing on it. Funny enough one of my favorite artists and songwriters, Rothstein, had received the beat for “88” in a pack of beats and samples and had mentioned really liking it.
I told him that I would love to have him write to it and mold the song around him. Roth moves quickly and in about a week I got an email with all the recorded vocals and lyrics. I was quite impressed as he is a songwriter that is able to describe deep and subtle emotions and experiences in very few words that are still catchy. When listening to the lyrics I felt like he channeled my own life and dealing with the longing of love and intimacy with someone you just meet and are all of the sudden dreaming of the taste of their lips again lol.
I immediately got to work in shaping the song around his vocals and making it like we were in the same room as best I could. One of my favorite parts about working with Rothstein is being in the same room with him because it’s one part a 2-way therapy session and one part translating those emotions and feelings into music. Nurturing the process of this song and really treating it like a child to be born, taught me a lot about the artistic process. I have learned to not rush any part of it and to honor the music because it is something much bigger than ourselves.
To bring the song to life I had my homie Jose Santana do the mix and master. It is rare to find mixing engineers that really listen and take the time to bring your dreams into a reality as far as sound. Jose is one of those guys, and he took a lot of time with the small details and accentuating what I was hearing, to an even better degree so that it was breathing by the time he finished.
What has been one of the biggest highlights/achievements of your career?
It is hard to name just one. I have been blessed to play for artists such as Queen Latifah at the Super Bowl to playing on Good Morning America with J. Balvin. Yet, one of my favorite experiences that changed my life forever was spending about 2 years working and touring with Skylar Grey. I ended up programming the live shows on Ableton and playing bass and guitar for all her shows during those 2 years. She was so inspiring to me because she was the first songwriter and musician that I spent time with, who had created a career out of doing what she loves and monetizing it in a way that created a huge impact in the pop music industry.
Spending time at her property, she shared all sorts of wisdom with me from her mentors, Eminem and Dr. Dre, about producing and writing. She took the time to hear the music I was working on and developing at the time and gave me feedback that inspired me to keep going. It was the validation and excitement I needed at that time to take more steps towards songwriting and producing, rather than just playing live for artists.
If you had a chance to work alongside anybody who would that be?
One of my absolute favorite artists that I feel destined to work with is H.E.R. I feel like the way she sings, is the way I like to play my guitar.
What other projects do you have coming up?
I have an upcoming EP that I made with Rothstein coming out in 2022 that I am very excited for, as it is some of my favorite music I have made over the last 3 years. I myself, am dropping a number of different singles for the next Fallen Atom record and in addition there is a lot of music I produced or co-produced with artists like Brasstracks and Gabe Gill that will also be dropping this year. Lastly I have been making these extended songwriting/guitar sample libraries that I will be releasing this year as well.
What is your best piece of advice for aspiring artists?
We as humans and artists are an antenna that transmits and receives frequencies. When the antenna is kinked or broken we can no longer express ourselves to the ultimate degree. That is why living a balanced lifestyle that is full of love, play, nourishment, and following your dream is important. Stay true to your unique essence that is you. There is only one of you, so don’t waste time trying to fit in with the mainstream. We are simply messengers of music and it’s not ours to own in the first place. Live freely and share freely. Abundance.
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