"If I try to keep too close an eye on what's cool and what's not, I lose sight of what it was I was trying to achieve myself."
The life of an international DJ/producer like A Skillz (aka Adam Mills) isn't always gilded. "I'd say doing accounts is the ultimate low point in the year!" Mills admits from his London base. "I think it's just because making music is so much fun and doing accounts is basically the opposite."
The Brit breaks stalwart is taking time out from the books to promote his appearance at Perth's highly anticipated Breakfest 2015. "I always like to keep the party going, throwing in uplifting classics alongside some newer flavours," Mills says. "The set will have elements of funk to hip hop to breaks to drum'n'bass — and everything in between."
"He'd just written Since U Been Gone for Kelly Clarkson. He said he had a good feeling about that record — it turned out to be the biggest-selling record in America that year!"
Mills began as a drummer but, on embracing hip hop, switched to turntablism. Emerging amid the 'proggy' nu-skool breaks era, he brought back the funk. In 2003 Mills and Krafty Kuts (Martin Reeves) conceived Tricka Technology for Finger Lickin' Records — a cult album 12 years on. Its guests included The Breaks MC Kurtis Blow — and fanboy-cum-protege Dr Luke, then the ignominious guitarist in Saturday Night Live's house band, but now a pop super-producer. "Luke is totally smashing it," Mills says proudly. "I don't see much of him these days, but we exchange the odd text every now and then. I just missed him last time I was in Los Angeles, but we plan to hook up at some point. I'm really proud of what Luke's achieved. I remember shortly after we worked together, chatting with him. He'd just written Since U Been Gone for Kelly Clarkson. He said he had a good feeling about that record — it turned out to be the biggest-selling record in America that year! After that, there was no stopping him." Meanwhile, Mills and Reeves staged their Tricka Technology sound system at Glastonbury.
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
Mills has sustained his career by defying shifts in EDM, his ethos 'anything goes'. "If I try to keep too close an eye on what's cool and what's not, I lose sight of what it was I was trying to achieve myself... I'm just doing my thing and not worrying about trends." In 2015 Mills — with fellow Breakfest headliner Stickybuds — remixed German funk band The Mighty Mocambos' It's The Music, featuring the "legend" Afrika Bambaataa, out via his own "electro soul" label Jam City. He's been playing offbeat festivals like Canada's Shambhala. And Mills holds a monthly residency at Dubai's Zero Gravity with Reeves.
Mills once made a bootleg remix of the Queen vs The Miami Project track Another One Bites The Dust that was subsequently approved. However, he's increasingly "nervous" about posting boots on SoundCloud. "So far I've been lucky enough to still have all my tracks, unofficial remixes and DJ mixes on my page but, with so many of my friends' accounts getting strikes and even [being] cancelled, I'm scared to upload anything new in case it draws unwanted attention from the SoundCloud police." Mind, he lately shared FLASH-MASH, a DJ edit of Queen's Flash Gordon theme and Gesaffelstein's Pursuit. "I was getting so many people asking me for it that I finally crumbled under the pressure." Mills will next issue the single We Got Fun. And, post-Breakfest, he'll reunite with longtime Aussie collaborator Nick Thayer in Melbourne to complete tracks they commenced in the UK. "Nick's a total wizard in the studio and he makes amazing coffee, so it's a double-win."