Q&A: Adam Lambert On Trespassing, Stankface, Tracking Nile Rodgers On Twitter, And Being An Out Pop Star In 2012

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When Adam Lambert was on American Idol in 2009, he grabbed viewers' attention with his octave-leaping voice and startling reworkings of talent-show standbys—while he came in second that season, he was certainly that year's most rock-star-like contestant, and he made even more headlines when he came out of the closet on the cover of Rolling Stone shortly after the Idol season wrapped. Today he releases Trespassing (RCA), his second post-Idol album, and its confidence and catchiness should further establish him as one of today's premier male pop stars. Trespassing, which counts among its collaborators Pharrell, Sam Sparro, Chic's Nile Rogers, and Dr. Luke, struts; it brims with grooves and is led by Lambert's overwhelming charisma, and it could very well be the first No. 1 album by an out pop star, as Chris Molanphy noted last week.

SOTC caught up with Lambert yesterday before he performed a brief set at the MLB Fan Cave, located in the former Tower Records space at East 4th St. and Broadway.

I love the record. I think it's so great, so fun, so lively. I don't know if you saw the article we ran last week...

I love it. It was really flattering. Thank you.

What do you think of [the possibility of Trespassing being the first No. 1 album by an out pop star]?

I love the idea of it. I do hope people buy the record because they like the record—and I think they will. I feel this whole journey has been a guessing game, when it first started. It was like, "I hope this works, I hope this is good." When I was on Idol I knew I could get up on stage and do what I thought was great, and when I made it every week, I was like, "Wow, this is actually working? People like this?" I couldn't wrap my head around it. And even with the first album, it was like, all right. But after that sunk in and I toured and I got a bit of a fanbase and I traveled, now I'm like, "OK." And when I wrote this album I felt like, "OK, I know what I want to do." And I trust that more now than ever. This album, we wrapped it up, and I was like, "This is damn good." And I'm somebody that doubts myself a whole lot. But for me to come to that [point] is really amazing.

I think it brims with a lot of confidence. How did you approach writing the songs so that, even with your collaborators, you let your personality shine through?

A little bit into the process I said, "Look, I really want to executive produce this. I'm going to be able to make sure that it has a cohesive feeling." When I went into my various writing sessions—some of which I sought out, some of [which] the label arranged for me—I brought that in and I would sit there and talk with the producer and say this is the music that is inspiring me, this is the sound I want to give it, and I think I helped steer the ship.

I was at Burning Man, and up until the point of Burning Man we had done a handful of emotional dark stuff, some of which was really good and some that was a little kindergarten. I had written a few songs that were a little more throwback classic rock, which I've always kind of [enjoyed]. But I was looking for something. And I'm out on the playa on Burning Man in an art car with friends, and there's so much dubstep. And I appreciate dubstep from a producing, technical point of view, but there's no groove to a lot of it.

It's very nu-metal-y.

It's very hard. Very metal-y. I like a pocket—I like, like, funk or disco or stuff that you can shake your ass to. That's sexy. And this little art car comes zipping by us just blasting Daft Punk. And our art car went from rocking to dubstep to immediately smiling and getting down with each other and touching each other. It just hit me in the head and I was like, "That's the type of record I want." It's instant. It's classic. It's old, it's young. It's black, it's white. Gay, straight. I was captivated by it.

I like the way [Trespassing] grooves. It does have a poppy-atmosphere to it, which I feel is lacking a lot right now. I feel like rhythms on the radio are so 4/4 skip.

We tried to find stuff that gave it a little bit of a different feeling. Stankface is what I want to achieve with the album. And I feel like it does trigger stankface—I've watched people react to it. And that's another part of it too. I had the time to sit with the demo, fine tune it, go back and change stuff with the producers, write new parts, add new elements, and then play it for people. Play it for friends, colleagues, people I respect and trust, and see the reaction. And if I got a bunch of, "Eh," then I was like, "This isn't going to work." When you're an artist it's hard to be totally objective.

All of that combined, I love this album. Here's to stank.

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17 comments
Sandra
Sandra

This is a great article. Thank you! I really want Adam to hit #1 for release week and it sounds neck and neck with a few others. Anything we can do to put him on top. I am going to purchase a few more CD's - already have lots - and gifting them. And yes, hope Village Voice readers will help make this happen:-)

Chris, thank you for the update...

Chris Molanphy
Chris Molanphy

UPDATE: One-day sales numbers for this week's crop of albums/next week's album chart are out. HITS says: "...a three-way battle is shaping up for #1 between Adele and Carrie Underwood, both of which will have substantial post-Mother's Day drops, and Adam Lambert, who appears to be trending to the high end of expectations."

It's within your grasp, Lambert fans! Y'all can help him make history! #shamelessadvocacy

Kathy Morgan
Kathy Morgan

My question is why do writers always get this wrong...Adam did not come out of the closet post Idol...He was an openly gay man since 18 years old...He decided in the Rolling Stone Interview when asked about his sexuality to be open...on Idol he was not allowed interviews outside of the usual...and he was not asked...and it should not matter...I mean do we ask straight people if they are straight...and details of their sex life?  Really...why is it so hard for America to embrace a rare talent such as Adam.  His cd is fantastic...his vocals are sick good...he is the best performer and singer out there...no lip synching or dubbing needed.

@mariabintexas
@mariabintexas

wow. great interview. I read everything that's written about Adam and I think this is one of the most fair and objective Q&As thanks for that. 

Eriskaycavan
Eriskaycavan

Great review!!  Love Adam Lambert, and Trespassing is gonna be big!  I keep saying this, but there's not anotherartist today who can match his talent!!

RedRoseQueen1
RedRoseQueen1

 You keep saying it because it keeps being TRUE! He IS sensational...Simply the BEST! ;D

Lauriellen
Lauriellen

Awesome Q&A.  I love the story about his epiphany at Burning Man.  I never heard a story that started out, "We were driving around in a little art car."  LOL

mredfixer
mredfixer

Great article!I love Shady and Nile's guitar work made it even better.  I had my CD on pre-order. I ordered another one today as a gift for someone and struck a blow for gay rights! Hope the barrier gets broken and Adam certainly deserves it.   

adamluv1000
adamluv1000

He's amazing. It's time people appreciate him for his outstanding talent.

jadziadragonrider
jadziadragonrider

Great interview. Thank you for sharing. I think Adam's perception of his renown is very skewed. Sure there are some folks who don't take him seriously but most of the time when I tell people I'm a fan they think for a moment then go "Oh that Idol guy?"OR they sing "Whattaya Want From Me" They don't have a bad feeling or jokey feeling about him. They just don't KNOW him beyond WWFM. His new management company should change that though. Oh Adam. lol

Cbility1
Cbility1

Loved this Q&A had a real NYC feel to it, how I miss it. Adam Lambert is on the cutting edge of all things new and progressive. His talent validates his membership and his vision solidifies his place in our cultural evolution. Well done!

Melissa Pauls
Melissa Pauls

I just love this dude. Cranking his new album on my Bose right now, so much singalong goodness, altho lol my voice is ridic next to his crazy awesome vocals. *apartment dance party*

kelsiegirl032
kelsiegirl032

Excellent review - new and good questions. You seem to be passionate about Adam's music and him in general. His new album Trespassing is by far the best most enjoyable album I've heard in decades. I actually stopped buying music for 10 yrs because it was cheezy and only listened to Classic Rock stations to get away from the current pop music played on radio. But in 2009 when I watched Adam on AI my interest was rekindled and have grown so fond of his new music. I sincerely hope this album goes to #1 on BB if it doesn't it will be a crying shame. Unfortuanately some of the albums that hit #1 aren't really that good but the younger set seems to like it. Today (last12 hrs) has been at #1 in US, Hungary, Finland, #2 Canada #3 Brazil but the album hasn't been released in most countries yet so we'll see. 

Sonoma234
Sonoma234

Great review! Love the excitement and passion. We MUST make this album #1. Adam deserves it and this would be an in your face achivement for the LGBT community. I've bought a 100 copies so far and had them shipped to 1n10 and Youth First Texas....Both of which provide support and services to lgbt youth, Go Adam!!!! Runnin...Runnin....Runnin...

kelsiegirl032
kelsiegirl032

I agree it should be #1 I also have bought close to 70 copies donating almost all to YouthForTexas, 1n10, and MusicCanCure. I also bought the Box Set with the vinyl version included. My friend got her's today and said the vinyl set is 33 1/3. Just bought from itunes. Going to two shows in US then to London to see Adam and Queen in July

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