On the opening track of his sophomore album Harp, LA-native Chris Adams, who makes music under the moniker PENDANT, sings of confronting his own death. He meets the idea with ambivalence rather than fear before the song collapses into a frantic, house-leaning beat drop. Much of the album reflects a similar structure; Adams shares veiled reflections on mortality, grief, and loss masked by hard-hitting electronic pop, fuzzy shoegaze, and gloomy post-punk-inspired beats.
At times kinetic and twisted, the eclectic album is the result of nearly a decade of painful emotional reflections and healing triggered by the death of his father. But much like how grief is experienced, the feeling isn’t immediately apparent in Adam’s music. Instead, it floats beneath the surface, present but never the immediate focus of the 13-track release.
Celebrating the release of his album Harp, out now via Saddle Creek, Adams reflects on tour memories, shares some inspiring advice, and flexes his plumbing skills on the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Mentally ill dance music.
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?
Well in 2050 I’ll be around 60 years old. I’ll probably still be making music in one way or another. I hope people can still extract something emotional from my music then. But I’ll probably be more focused on whatever I’m making at the time. If someone were to listen to my music and think “man that guy can write a chorus,” I’d say that’s about as much as a could ask for in terms of a legacy or something.
What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?
I performed a few shows in Tokyo many years ago in a different band. It was part of this Japanese tour we were doing — those were some of the most special live experiences I’ve ever had. I was sick for most of the trip but it was all still so stunning and exciting. The entire trip felt electric.
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
First thing that comes to mind is Jason Dill. He said something in an interview that’s become really valuable to me. Not a direct quote but it was something like… making something great requires two things: soaring narcissism and crushing self-doubt.
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
Peter Luger Steak House in New York.
What album do you know every word to?
Definitely Maybe by Oasis.
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
I saw Prince in 2013 in San Francisco at a tiny club (for Prince to play at) called DNA Lounge. Only a handful of years before he died. The entire stage was lined with pedals. He’d run across the stage and hit a delay pedal. Then run to the other side and stomp on a distortion pedal. Every second of that show was so incredible.
What is the best outfit for performing and why?
My live fit of choice right now is a beat-up pair of Carhartts, a skin-tight cycling jersey, and a pair of black Air Forces. Comfortable and chaotic.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
Correll B on Twitter is a national treasure. He’s been doing his thing for so long and has never (to my knowledge) parlayed his following into some brand deal or cash grab. He’s so pure. He just loves music and dancing with such a lovely passion.
What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?
I haven’t been on tour in many years but for a while, it was “I Love You” by Lil B. It was a great way to defuse interpersonal issues and some of the stresses of being on tour. It instantly put us in a good mood. It’s so wholesome. The video is great too. Lil B is crying in a snake shop.
What’s the last thing you Googled?
What album makes for the perfect gift?
All Things Must Pass by George Harrison. I don’t think anyone can not enjoy at least half of the songs on this record.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?
This middle-aged guy invited us to stay at his Mom’s house once. She wasn’t there and when we showed up he was passed out drunk on the couch. We let ourselves in and went through a bunch of his old stuff — baby pictures of him and all these artifacts from his childhood. We ended up leaving before he woke up. We knew all these intimate details about his life and he never even knew we were there.
What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?
I have the logo from the album Harp tattooed on my arm. It’s been my favorite since I got it. My friend who designed the logo ended up tattooing it on me. He’s such a special artist and I felt so lucky having him involved in creating the album. Shout out, Peace On The Sun.
What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?
I don’t listen to the radio often but the first time I listened to KROQ in Los Angeles (my mom wouldn’t let me listen because they played songs with curse words), I was 8 years old and took my Mom’s car keys and snuck into her car to turn on the radio. I wanted to hear Linkin Park or Blink-182 or something but I ended up hearing “Intergalactic” by the Beastie Boys. I think that experience totally rewired my brain. I felt like a different person after that.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
My best friend/manager Nik is one of a kind. He believes in me in a way I can’t totally comprehend. He’s a big reason why I’m doing what I’m doing now. I owe so much to him.
What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?
You deserve kindness and love. Don’t try to convince yourself otherwise.
What’s the last show you went to?
I saw DIIV play at The Lodge Room In LA. I love that band.
What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
Speed with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. They’re both so hot in that movie. And the plot is just so dumb but so entertaining. Dennis Hopper is the villain. It’s just an undeniable ’90s action movie.
What’s one of your hidden talents?
I don’t know if this is necessarily a talent. I feel like in another life I would have been a plumber. I get a deep satisfaction from unclogging drains. I’ve fashioned a wire hanger into a hook to pull out all the blockage from a sink/tub. I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
Harp is out now via Saddle Creek. Get it here.