If you haven't been able to come visit our pop-up, here's a taste of what the store sounds like. This is our custom MIMMO playlist by Adam AKA A Wayward Studio. It's an eclectic mix of soulful and mostly modern grooves.
We asked our good friend Lydia Tsiouva to speak to Adam about all things Wayward.
Tell us about how AWS came out? I understand it's a brand as well as an alias...
A Wayward Studio is the name I’ve worked under for about a decade. It's the domain for my work in audio, visual, product and events. Formally, I had been working primarily in applied graphics and illustration for merchandise but in late 2019 I rebranded to focus my attention on custom record bags, something which hadn't been done the way I wanted before. Club culture has always been at the heart of my passions, that’s taken me into a very specific interests in niche music scenes and aesthetics. I'm really interested in the method of discovering music through physical records and it's that which led me onto creating record bags.
I've noticed you've got an accent, where are you from?
I'm from the North-West of England, from a coastal town just above Liverpool but I've lived in London my adult life.
So you studied visual communication, was that a creative course that inspired your natural progression onto AWS?
Yeah, I suppose so. Growing up, I wanted to be a painter but I’m pragmatic and couldn’t reconcile with the difficult prospects of ‘making it’ as a painter after studying. I put my attention to something visual that had obvious commercial applications - graphic design, illustration etc.
AWS record bags definitely show contemporary fashion influence. Was your intention to merge the gap between functionality and style or was this a coincidence?
Aside from needing a made-to-measure bag myself for carrying records when playing out, I just noticed a lot of dudes like me; not professional international DJs, just local heads who don't need a technical or overly padded purpose-built bag or god forbid wheely suitcase mess. Just something that's going to have enough space for 2/3 hours of playing down at the local bar, radio or the afters. I'd seen too many guys carrying 'bags for life' full of records for local gigs, it’s embarrassing.
Amazing that you’ve managed to stock these in Goodhood, Sound Advice and Parlour Store - was this a result of persistence or were you discovered?
Persistence. It's failing forward, failing quickly and failing a lot - repeating the process. Knock on doors, I always think 5% ratio. So you know, if I'm getting in touch with 100 people I should expect some return. You still need to fill that out with passion and appreciate someone for what they do and not what they can do for you. That's how a good connection is formed. At some point in your business' growth, it will make sense to work together once that respect has been given and earned.
Have you achieved your goal of brand recognition or is there a dream stockist you’re yet to win over?
I've not even started yet, there's a lot of people I would like to serve. There's a lot of potential for the product and everything else I'm developing as well. There's a big scope for it, definitely in Asia and America as well. London first though!
What were you up to during lockdown and how did covid your life in general as well as work/ DJing?
I don't allow myself to sit around and worry about it too much. Perhaps anecdotal but my office doesn't have a window, which obviously isn't great. However in 2020 when I started working on AWS full-time, not having a physical 'window to the world' and the general daily news cycle noise of covid made me very tunnel focused on the brand and on growing it. In general, it was small vital movements, lots to do with building an audience.
I’ve been tipped off about Lazy Sunday Sessions; sun, beers & buttery tunes. How did this come about and what inspired you to initiate such a selfless treat for the public?
I was broadcasting out into a little known park on the edge of London with a host of my favourite local DJs throughout the summer. Sundays suit the kind of music I wanted to air. Perfect for people hanging out, having a coffee.
I'm sure this would've been great for the public considering certain clubs/music venues weren't open again to full capacity...
That was one of the main catalysts for it. You couldn't play out in clubs and bars, so being able to play out in the park was the best alternative. A lot of the time the audience was small but there were a lot of people who would just come out to walk their dog and ended up spending their whole day there.
Who are you most proud of collaborating with so far?
Recently I worked with Pangaia. They sell clothing but they're primarily a material science company. A lot of what they do is very innovative, making clothing from unique natural materials. They're definitely in their own lane. I worked with them on one of their campaigns in the summer- they did a throwback to 80’s aerobics videos, very clever and tongue-in-cheek. I consulted on and put together the playlist for the campaign, a mix of Italo Disco and Hi-NRG
What’s your signature sound when DJing?
The root of my sound is somewhere from the mid 70s to the early 80s and everything that is sort of derivative of the club genres that came to be during this era. So whether that's a particular soul, funk, disco, jazz-funk, fusion, post-disco, boogie record, to me it’s all in the melting pot. I love a lot of the new musicians and producers who create within those styles too.
Who are your main influences? Do you go through phases at all?
There's so many. Im an advocate of the Balearic approach if that is such a thing, it's about feeling and isn't dependent on a particular beat or genre, It's a down-tempo kinda sound. As well as Danielle Baldelli who's the originator of the cosmic sound, a DJ from the 70s / 80s who's still going today. This is a sort of psychedelic, chugging and percussive style of disco that was very popular in Italy.
What's the best event or festival you've been to since coming out of lockdown?
I’ve recently been to see the comeback of neo soul icon Eddie Chacon. In the summer, I went to see Errol from Touching Bass. He was playing a midday set on this very small stage at a festival called Naked City. He was playing a lot of stuff which was a bit nostalgic for me. A lot of stuff from 2009-2011, you don't really hear people playing that anymore, so that was the stand out set for me.
Desert Island Discs; I’m sure you’re aware of the podcast... What are your top 5 tracks you’d take on a Desert Island with you and why?
Too difficult. But right now here’s five I have on repeat -
Bobby Womack - How could you break my heart
Angela Bofill - The only thing I could wish for
Sam Evian - Time to melt
Andrew Ashong & Kaidi Tatham - Washed in you
The Midnight Hour FT. CeeLo Green - Questions
What’s at the top of your bucket list? (for AWS or in general)
For AWS, top of my bucket list is launching the new collection, building recognition and getting it into the hands of people who will find it most useful. Serving my people!
Who’s your biggest role model?
I will actually say, my eldest sister this year. Simply because she’s made a very successful business and has always supported what I've done. Whether that is changing my mindset, introducing me to the right people or making me see things differently or perhaps helping me with the things that I struggle with. I've learnt a lot from her. Get close to someone who is good at the things you're not.
What dish are you best at cooking?
Anything. As long as it’s big flavours in one pot in under an hour, that's how the best dishes are made and shared.
Where have you lived and where do you hope to live in the future?
I've lived in Hamburg and Manchester for very short periods, London for a large chunk which is where I am currently. There's plans to move to Amsterdam at some point in the next couple of years but who knows, Edinburgh is also beautiful.