Adam Geoffrey Cole has been releasing hauntingly beautiful music that explores nature, his personal life, & his relationship with the divine for over two decades now – Solo, under the ‘Trappist Afterland’ moniker, & as a member of a variety of groups.
Falling into the neo / underground folk, psychedelic, & indie genres, Adam’s music has won him devoted fans across the world, including fellow wanderers such as David Tibet of Current 93 fame.
Born in 1976 in the Australian coastal town of Kiama, Adam spent his childhood and teens adventuring in the lush landscape around him, getting into music, playing Dudgeons & Dragoons, experimenting with drugs, and taking his initial steps into spirituality. With Adam finding musical success quickly in his early 20’s, during the heady days of the late 1990s; via one of his earliest group’s, the fourpiece ‘Arrosa’. Who created glorious dream-pop shoegaze with a gloomy undercurrent. Generated buzz, quickly got signed, moved to Melbourne; and then almost just as quickly, dissolved…
After the end of ‘Arrosa’, Adam stayed in Melbourne; releasing his debut album, Like Endora in 2001. The first project of Adam’s to feature his long-term collaborator, Anthony (Tony) Cornish. With Adam then going on to form ‘The Pollen Choir’, which also featured Anthony – releasing 2 albums in 2002 & 2006, to much acclaim. With Adam continuing to collaborate with Mr Cornish to this day.
Currently, Adam is living in the suburbs of Adelaide, in Australia with his family & pets. Making music, escaping into nature when he can, & continuing to explore his Catholic faith; which is sprinkled with touches of Gnosticism.
Appropriately for a man so fond of; & open to collaboration, Adam has also begun working in the world of film, providing the soundtrack to Oshim Somers’ 2023 documentary ,’Limitlessness In the Aquasphere’. In addition, Adam & the surviving members of ‘Arrosa’ are currently working with Sound As Ever Records on a proper release of the band’s debut LP; which was originally recorded in 1998; and sadly shelved. Exciting news for fans of Adam and Arrosa!
Wanting to get to know him better, we sent Adam some questions to answer over email.
Take a dive into his spiritual, joyful, & music filled world, below…
Name + D.O.B?
Adam Geoffrey Cole
City, State and Country you currently call home?
Blackwood, Adelaide Hills, South AUSTRALIA.
City, State and Country you’re from?
Kiama, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA
Please describe some memories – such as art, music, friendships, adventures, study, romance, politics, travel, work, crime… anything really – from the stages of your life noted below:
* Your childhood?
In my younger years I was obsessed with Elvis‘ movies and music, I also loved Michael Jackson’s Thriller album.
My first real gateway into music though, was hard rock and heavy metal.
By age 12, I was obsessed with every heavy metal genre I could find, and told my parents I was moving to LA to become a rock star on the Sunset Strip 😆
Safe to say that never came into fruition.
Growing up in my hometown of Kiama I always felt as though I was a little bit of an outsider, as it was a very sports driven conservative town. While most of my classmate’s obsessed over skateboarding and surfing, I was listening to Venom, Iron Maiden, Slayer and playing Dungeons and Dragons. Haha!
I did eventually find a few fellow misfits, weirdos and outcasts to spend time with though.
Overall Kiama was a very idyllic place to grow up though, and I did make lifelong friends there, that I still see to this day.
My strongest memories will always be our constant exploring and my adventures had with my buddies that lived near me.
As long as you were home before the street lights were on, not much trouble was to be had, or at least found out about. 😉
It was a place of great freedom and beauty.
Snorkelling in water caves after school is a particular fond memory.
Drinking, smoking and taking acid in my teen years in the beautiful rain forests behind my family home was also a formative time. That really opened my mind, gave me serious anxiety, and a teenage nervous breakdown lol.
But it also was a catalyst for my ongoing obsession into songwriting and exploring spirituality, theology, and all things of an esoteric nature…
Although, I only drink now, drugs for me was a short phase.
* Your teen and 20s?
By the time I reached 14 or 15 I went from listening exclusively to metal to all sorts of 80s and 90’s alternative/Indy rock music and art rock music.
Around that time I started experimenting with recreational drugs, started drinking and essentially becoming a complete brat.
By the time I was 17 I’d started my first bands Mushroom in a Keyhole (terrible name haha) and Arrosa.
Arrosa was signed to Infectious Records/Mushroom records in 1997 so we as a band moved to Melbourne, recorded an album and put out 2 eps in 1998. The band shone very brightly for a very short time but had broken up within 18 months.
The album was never released.
By my early 20s I’d formed the bands Kali & The Pollen Choir.
* Your 30s & 40s?
It was, around my 30s that I became obsessed with acid folk, psych folk, psychedelic rock, prog rock, garage rock and all types of avant garde music from all genres, and formed Trappist Afterland.
Trappist still exists to this day and we are about to put out a new album in 2024. This will be our first new album since 2020’s Seaside Ghost Tales.
I also put out 3 solo albums under my own name ‘Adam Geoffrey Cole’ between 2021- 2023.
I recently decided to get Trappist back together though for this forthcoming album ‘The Sea Stretched Across The Pines.’
The label Sound As Ever is also set to release the Arrosa album from 1998 that was never released due to the band breaking up.
It’ll be out in early 2024 with a pre-order dropping very soon.
By the time I hit my 40s I still listened to all of the above, as well as, a new found obsession with trad folk and roots music.
“Be patient, be kind.”
What role did toys play in your childhood?
As a child I was interested in Star Wars, anything fantasy based, and war figurines. I spent hours reading choose your own adventure books that dealt mainly with goblins and elves, between Dungeons and Dragon games with my misfit buddies.
I’ve always been more obsessed with more surrealistic things, rather than cars, boats and sports etc that the other kids seemed to like.
When and why did you first become interested in music and everything creative?
… and any pivotal creative moments / influences?
I became obsessed with music at age 12… this obsession has continued all through my life until the present.
I was also quite interested in painting and films as well in my teen years and early 20s.
These days though, it’s mainly music and theology that takes my attention.
If you had to explain your creative endeavors to some recently crash-landed aliens…
What would you tell them?
I would say that the music I’m interested in making and listening to, is very niche, and pretty far away from the usual mainstream music heard on the radio these days; I try to not follow trends and write music that I would like to listen to, and find interesting myself.
It’s not for everyone, but I’d like to hope it always comes from a true and authentic place.
I love timeless music, and hope my work reflects this.
What is your usual process for creating your music?
Basically, I write all my songs on the guitar, the oud; or the mandolin and cittern.
All the lyrics are mostly inspired by personal experiences, Christian and Eastern mysticism and landscapes.
I get a lot of inspiration whilst bushwalking with my dogs and I play music daily.
I’m a massive record collector.
Who are some of your favourite musicians, artists, writers, & filmmakers?
…and what is it about their works that so inspire and move you?
I’m quite obsessed with Tom Rapp and his acidic psych folk band ‘Pearls Before Swine.‘ His lyrics and the songwriting is 2nd to none.
A lot of stuff similar to that as well as a heap of British folk revival stuff, private press albums and lots of loner outsider folkies from the US and Europe.
I also have a lot of 70’s hard rock and doom albums, as well as black and thrash metal from the 80’s and 90’s.
I also collect a lot of free Jazz, blues, punk and post punk albums as well as classic rock and prog from the 60s and 70’s.
Oh and I have a bunch of Coil and Current 93 albums that I collect obsessively.
Collecting Current 93 has become a little easier in the last few years since befriending the bands’ frontman David Tibet.
How did you and David Tibet from Current 93 come to connect?
… we ask as we know you have performed with him and speak of him as a friend.
It was around march 2017, I’d just got back home from a music tour of Europe followed by a holiday in Italy with my wife and daughter.
Sadly, when I arrived home my beloved dog Syd, was quite unwell and passed a few days later.
I was a bit of an emotional wreck after my dogs’ passing, when I received a message on Facebook from David stating he’d just discovered Trappist Afterland and loved the music.
I was like, “Hello, you are my biggest musical influence!”
Safe to say I was very chuffed and excited.
From there David and I started an email correspondence, and I stayed with him and his lovely partner Polka a few times when I visited England.
He has been an amazing support to me and TA since meeting him.
He is a very kind and generous human.
I have been very blessed to have got to know him and work with him.
He’ll be doing a small spoken word part on the new Trappist Afterland album, and supporting current 93 in London was most definitely a lifetime highlight for me.
What impact has David and his many creative ventures had on your life, music & spirituality?
When I first hung out with David I was greatly obsessed in Gnosticism and the Nag Hammadi texts, Eastern mysticism etc etc
I was struggling in my Catholic faith, and was going through a period of great uncertainty.
David these days has a more orthodox approach to his faith, and was paramount in helping me find my centre and clarity again. I think he’d been through similar things to me so he had an understanding of it, which helped me immensely.
These days although I’m still very interested in Gnosticism, I’ve gone back to my childhood faith as a Roman Catholic, and I’m all the more focussed and happy because of it.
I attend mass weekly and pray daily.
Gnosticism taught me a lot, but I think it also hindered me, I was becoming way too engaged in my ego and became obsessed with knowledge Gnosis etc, over complicating and over thinking everything, rather than focussing on the simple and profound truths of Christ and his teachings.
I felt I lost my relationship with God and Jesus for a time.
I still am greatly interested in Gnostic theology, Christian mysticism, Eastern mysticism, but try to keep a more level head when exploring such things.
The message of Christ is for everyone.
I think I lost that for a while during my stint in gnostic practice.
David’s influence musically was profound, when hearing Current 93, 20 years, ago as a 25-year-old, my mind was blown. I’d never heard anything quite like it.
How something could sound so spooky yet so beautiful all at once astounded me.
Lyrically I’d never heard anything that quite so perfectly aligned with my beliefs.
I was instantly a diehard fan and continue to be to this day.
I even have the current 93 crucifix tattoo on my forearm.
If people wanted to check out your stuff, work with you or buy some of your wares – Where should they visit and how should they get in touch?
You can always email me at email@example.com
Odds & Ends
If you could live in any place, during any historical era – Where and when would that be?
…and why would you choose that time and place?
I’d have to ay England in the 60’s and 70’s to see all the amazing music coming out of there then.
What does God mean to you?
I’m a practising Catholic and closet Gnostic enthusiast.
I’m obsessed with all religions from all over the world, especially Eastern mysticism.
God to me means everything, but it as a concept, is impossible to even minutely understand in its totality.
I believe it is relational though, and we are connected through it, within it, but it still dwells outside us as much as it dwells inside us all.
That’s a big question 😉
What are the top 3 items you own?
My Maton guitar.
My oud, and my entire record collection.
Can I include my pets?
Sandy Floyd & Peanut 🙂
Of everything you have done so far, what would you most like to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered as being a hard working and prolific songwriter, who was authentic in their work.
And hopefully a good friend, husband, father, son, brother and human.
- Adam Geoffrey Cole – Facebook (Personal)
- Adam Geoffrey Cole – Discogs Entry
- Adam Geoffrey Cole – 2014 Interview with Klemen Breznikar via It’s Psychedelic Baby
- Adam Geoffrey Cole – 2020 Interview via African Paper
- Trappist Afterland – Bandcamp
- Trappist Afterland – Facebook
- Trappist Afterland – Instagram
- Trappist Afterland – Discogs Entry
- Arrosa – Discogs Entry
- Arrosa – Facebook
- Arrosa – Listen to Their 2 x 7inch’s ‘Stickgirl’ & ‘Womb’ via YouTube
- The Pollen Choir – Discogs Entry
All images supplied by Adam or sourced online.