Adrian Mitchell received his first guitar in third grade. It sounds cliché, but for Mitchell it rings true: the rest was history.
He spent the remainder of his childhood and his young adult life pursuing music in diverse settings and groups. Thus far, he has only produced with his other band, Afterglow, but Mitchell debuted his solo act on July 24 — his 25th birthday — with his first EP titled the Id of Adrian.
Originating from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mitchell’s love for music stems for his parents who “took me to see my first concert when I was in third grade. They took me to see the White Stripes in the Sonic Temple in Detroit.”
He then moved to California at age 21 after receiving an invite from his bandmate’s uncle, who also happened to be the lead singer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There, he met some of his idols but he found himself “wrapped up in being a musician and becoming famous.”
So after a few years, he decided he wanted the exact opposite of Los Angeles’ musical scene and Montana seemed like the most obvious choice.
Mitchell now lives in the Bozeman area, but his lyrics and style are influenced by the different places he’s spent his life. In fact, the first song on his EP, “Trestle Bridge,” “revolves around a particular trestle bridge in my hometown in Michigan,” Mitchell said.
“That’s where me and a lot of my high school friends used to go and do a lot of our bad kid stuff … that’s where I smoked my first cigarette,” he said. “I did that stuff with a lot of people who are no longer with us. What inspired the song is that I was listening to the autobiography of Flea from the Chili Peppers, and he talks about taking a vacation out there as a teenager with all of the OG Chili Peppers in Michigan, going to that exact same trestle bridge.”
His other title, “Gabby,” is inspired by his “first and only love” and “In My Room” by The Beach Boys. Yet the songs were not paired together randomly.
“They’re very stripped back, just vocals and acoustics, so pretty mellow. They’re definitely nighttime songs. They’re dark, they’re very dark,” Mitchell said.
He is not producing for the sake of profit. In fact, all of the proceeds will go toward a documentary his friend John Decker is creating: They Are Gone. The documentary details the child abduction endemic in Native American communities, profiling survivors and family members.
“If there’s one cause that I feel passionately toward, it’s that,” Mitchell said.
And while he cedes that most people do not want to buy music these days, “they do want to support a cause.” As a consequence, he is both selling his EP to raise funds on Bandcamp and streaming it free of charge on multiple platforms.
Today, Mitchell treats music as only a piece of his identity. But it is still essential to his self-understanding and that of those around him.
“I feel like my personality doesn’t make sense to anyone else without having some kind of creative output,” he said.
Mitchell plans on releasing a single within a month or two, and he said “it’s going to sound like Elliot Smith produced by a Swedish hitmaking factory.”