Musicians at Home | ADULT.
Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
By John Dugan
Over the course of the last decade, Detroit’s ADULT. (the couple of Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus) has been perhaps the most fervent proponent of a new, dark dance aesthetic that harnesses the dangerous aspects of late ‘70s analog dystopian modernism. Every song the band constructs is a strenuous excercise in claustrophobia and anxiety expressed in naked synthesizers, programmed beats and in the haunted voice of Kuperus. Since 2007, the band has taken a break from touring to focus on visual art and soundtrack work (for Jake Yuzna's film OPEN as well as their own shorts.) It has also found them the time to enjoy living in a house in Detroit that they have invested nearly as many hours as dollars.
Miller and Kuperus acquired their 1912 home in 2004. Formerly a photography studio since the ‘50s, and possibly a speakeasy during prohibition (the couple discovered crates of early ‘20s hooch buried near the basement), the space required a complete overhaul renovation—all new ceilings, refinishing every floor and double-hung window. “Every inch of the house had office carpeting, fluorescent lights, and ALL the woodwork was painted a hundred coats of white. None of the plumbing worked and there was no kitchen,” Miller says. A DIY undertaking for Miller, who fortunately is the son of a builder, it took six years to bring the home back to original condition.
The band may take a stand for an extreme sonic aesthetic, but the restored house is all about comfort and creative space. Miller uses an attached large concrete block building with 13-foot ceilings and oversized doors (as it was previously used for car photography) as his painting studio, while Kuperus uses the basement (or her “woman cave” as she calls it) for photography. The vintage furniture, they say, “either came from our grandparents or resale shops.”
The couple shows no fear for resale value (“we NEVER think about that; once you do, it screws up everything”)—embracing pink and even sea foam green for their chill qualities. “We felt we needed a soothing color to wake up to to counter all the years we looked up at an ugly ceiling,” Miller says.
And while the band may have helped usher back in the mainstream obsession with taxidermy with its Gimmie Trouble antlers album cover, Miller and Kuperus no longer collect stuffed animals. “We're not interested in a single style or theme; if there was one objective, it would be for our interiors to contain our memories. Our interiors are living and always morphing.”