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  • Ben Province

A Brief History of Neil and Adam

Though Neil and Adam's first single wasn't released until 2015, the duo's origin goes way back. Back to Kirkwood High School in 1994, to be exact.

"We met each other in German class," Neil McCloskey, singer and guitarist said. "When you're stuck in a relatively boring class, you just look for a reason to talk to the next person."

"And I heard Adam taking about a flanger pedal. He was sitting behind me. And I just turned around and I was like, 'Do you play guitar?'"

"We started talking," Adam Hilligardt, keyboardist and guitarist, said. "He started coming over and we just started writing."

At the time, McCloskey had just learned how to play guitar, but already had a passion for songwriting.

"It was all this recording equipment down there," McCloskey recalled. "The whole basement reeked of songwriting."

The gear belonged to Adam's father, Fred Hilligardt, who worked for Motown Records.

"I kind of knew I was in the right place," said McCloskey, whose godfather also had a place in the music industry. The late Tony Saputo served as a drummer for Reba McEntire.

The two started making rough recordings, but it wasn't until the two musicians procured an internet presence in 2015 when things really started to move forward.

Neil and Adam's first song released to the masses, "Everything Is Alright," got the attention of Mike 'Tweekin' Rogers. The recording engineer, mixer, producer and songwriter is perhaps best known for recording and mixing the 1990 Deee-Lite hit, "Groove Is In the Heart."

"He contacted us and said, 'This song's pretty rad. I want to do something with it,'" McCloskey said. "He just made ["Everything Is Alright"] sound fantastic and radio-ready."

And apparently TV-ready, as well. The single, helped by the duo's affiliation with JD Music Promotion, got a song placement on ITV's "This Morning," a British morning show.

The band's third single, "Walk Away" (which followed "Leave This Town (Acoustic)"), like "Everything Is Alright," has gotten airplay on US, UK and Canadian radio stations.

"Our ultimate goal," said Hilligardt, "is making an EP together real soon. We're in the studio right now, down at Sawhorse [Studios]."

In addition to the those previously released tracks, the still-unfinished, "Oil Fire," will be the next song recorded by the band.

While the duo appreciates constructive feedback, and attempts to make songs relevant to the current music climate, they still have the final say.

“You can’t write for anybody else. You have to please you, and hope that people are going to dig it,” Hilligardt said.

“We’re not going to compromise our style just to get airplay,” McCloskey agreed. “Because then that takes our element out of it. That takes our heart out of it."

Ultimately, as far as Adam Hilligardt is concerned, the songs Neil and Adam write have to pass one test.

“You know it’s a good song if after you get done doing it, you’re not for sure if you wrote it or not.”


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