One of the most anticipated concerts in Canada this weekend is Drake's OVO Fest. Drake's guitarist and musical director Adrian X (a.k.a. Adrian Eccleston), won't reveal any additional names of any upcoming guests for Toronto's OVO Fest, but he does promise that the tradition of surprise guests will continue at this year's event.
"Oh, man. It's gonna be OVO 4.0," Eccleston tells Exclaim! before another day of OVO Fest rehearsals. "Yet another really gully adventure of stuff. It's always something special and this year there's a whole bunch of special being formulated that Toronto hasn't seen before, which is very cool."
In addition to James Blake — whose first night double bill with singer Frank Ocean had to be scrapped due to Ocean's recent vocal chord tear in Australia — and Drake himself, Wale is the only other artist who has been confirmed for the 2013 edition of OVO Fest, which takes place Monday (August 5) at the Molson Amphitheatre.
The Toronto-based Eccleston — who has toured with the likes of Nelly Furtado and Kylie Minogue and has songwriting credits on songs by the Weeknd, as well as "Marvin's Room" and "The Ride" from Drake's Take Care — has been involved in the organization and execution of these shows up close.
Eccleston says that "there's a lot of people to fit in," just because of the sheer number of collaborations with other artists Drake has performed with in the past. Sometimes this means making changes at the very last minute, but under Eccleston's direction, the band make the necessary adjustments.
"It's basically Drake's brainchild, and everything that goes through his head we just try to like put it out close to how he's thinking," says Eccleston. "It all starts with a conversation and then we just start making music happen around the conversation."
In addition to helping to manifest Drake's musical ideas, Eccleston is also busy working on some of his own. The guitarist is set to release his debut album Soulgazer this fall. The record, says Eccleston, has "got a few different vibes. It's a little hip-hop, a little reggae, y'know, a few things, and of course a bit of rock'n'roll."
The instrumental album, which he says he is "100 percent happy" with, features inimitably moody production work from Noah "40" Shebib on "Primeval Episode" while the riff-heavy "Timebomb" is produced by Doc McKinney.
Eccleston is very familiar with those two producers from working on Drake collaborations, and all three have also been contributing to sessions for Nothing Was the Same, Drake's upcoming album, currently slated for a September 17 release.
"It's super epic music, the new stuff," says Eccleston of Drake's new music. "We're not even really into [performing] the new stuff yet. We're waiting for the fall tour to properly introduce the new songs."
Those new songs have yet to be finalized as sessions for the album are ongoing, but Eccleston says he's been involved with the process.
"I pass through the studio we do as much music as we can in a certain number of days and then 40 goes off and makes the magic," he says. "It's a little too early, but I would believe I'm playing guitar on this record."
Watch the video for Eccleston's "Soul Fingaz" as Adrian X below.
Read about Adrian X's recording studio in our Where I Play feature here.