Music and athletics. One, an expression of sound. The other, an expression of movement. Many people see these two pursuits as opposite ends of the spectrum, but to Adrian Rodriguez, better known in dance music as, Arodes, they are two loves born in the same vein of passionate pursuit.
Arodes is currently one of the fastest-growing artists in dance music. In two short years, he’s gone from completely unknown to an internationally touring performer. His deeply powerful, organic melodies move and unite listeners across continents. From Tulum to London, Miami to Ibiza, the Arodes rhythm flows. This notable rise is the fruit of a tireless commitment to self, indomitable work ethic, and unwavering passion for the pursuits that set the heart ablaze. However, these traits were learned long before the birth of “Arodes” and far from any club or music venue. Instead, Adrian’s path to the man he is today started on the soccer pitch as an exciting up-and-comer in his home country of Spain.
“Soccer was my dream and my passion for my childhood until I was 19 or 20 years old. The only thing I was putting all my energy and focus into was soccer. I really thought I was going to be a professional soccer player, that was my dream.”
The soccer field may have been the singular focus of Rodriguez’s adolescence, but music was always present in the background.
“I really liked music back then, but mostly just to enjoy it and listen to it, but not that much as to be dedicated to it as a profession, just as a listener,” he clarifies.
Records constantly rang out in his childhood home, and his music-teaching mother did her best to put her then resistant son in piano lessons. The impact of this home environment may have seemed insignificant at the time, but it planted the seeds of music appreciation that would later give Adrian’s life a new direction.
“I was a ‘promising star’ when I was very young and I always thought I was going to make it,” Rodriguez shares.
“Then I had a bad year… and I didn’t do it. It happens every day, there are so many soccer players that look like they’re going to be bigger stars and then for [some] reason it doesn’t happen later.”
Adrian found himself in a unique position now separate from competitive soccer. What does an individual who spent over a decade fiercely pursuing a career in the world’s most popular sport do when that sport steps down as your life path? As if the universe was telling Rodriguez to reconnect to his roots, the seeds of music planted so long ago slowly began to sprout.
Adrian recounts rekindling his relationship with music, saying, “I was about 19 or 20 when I started going to Ibiza with my friends. Going to the big clubs like Pacha and Space. Then I started going to my first festivals and around that time is when I really fell in love with the music. It was this period of time when I started understanding more, digging a little bit deeper into it, and I started falling in love with electronic music.”
It only takes a single moment to change your life completely. For Adrian, that moment came in the crowd of Solomun’s 2017 Coachella set.
“I remember the first time I listened to the remix of ‘Clap Your Hands’ by Solomun, it was in Coachella actually, I couldn’t get that track out of my head for months,” he laughs.
“I would listen to it again and again. That was a very particular moment where I felt like, ‘Wow. I want to be able to do this with music.’ Because back then I wasn’t playing actually, but I felt something like ‘How powerful is this,’ you know? And I imagined how cool and how amazing it would be to do this.”
Having spent many formative years pursuing his passion for soccer, Adrian recognized the unmistakable spark of passion that now grew for music. That spark quickly overrode any trepidation towards starting a musical journey later than others, and he soon purchased production and mixing equipment giving his budding fire the ability to grow. Adrian committed everything he had to become a musician with a zeal his soul long missed.
“When I started dedicating my life to the music and everything related to it, for me it recovered this passion, real passion. Doing something that you really love, that makes my heart beat go, I have this adrenaline before I have a show. These kinds of feelings I had before when I was a little kid and had to play a game the next day. It makes me feel alive. I don’t do it as something for the money or financial interest. I love doing it. For me, the energy I put into it is similar to what I put into soccer.”
The pre-show adrenaline. The laser-focused preparation and practice. The endless potential for improvement. The space for creative adaptation and improvisation. Observing sports and music through the lens of these traits suddenly makes these two seemingly opposite pursuits remarkably interconnected. And in Adrian’s case, these parallels have been essential. Years spent learning to love the grind and developing his resolve toward one goal has led to fast notoriety in another.
Arodes only began touring in 2020 and releasing music in 2021. Despite already performing all over the globe and releasing on labels like RADIANT, Sudam Records, and MoBlack Records. And despite his quick rise, he maintains a perspective of driven humility. Again, his previous experience as a goal-setter and dream-chaser proves invaluable as he reflects on the acknowledgment by industry peers and fans and his current position.
“I don’t even want to think it about it that much [when people say] ‘We haven’t seen someone grow as fast as you,’ or whatever, because for me I don’t want to feel that way. For me my mentality and my mindset is to think I’m at point zero, the starting point. Because the moment you start thinking, ‘[Oh I made it],’ even if you don’t want to, you kind of relax a little bit… My goals, ambitions, and objectives are super high, and for me I prefer to think that we haven’t done anything yet.”
This mentality stems not only from a finely-tuned work ethic but from an appreciation for the artists that paved the way for rising talents like Adrian.
“I really think we haven’t done anything yet. There’s a lot of huge artists who gave a lot to the industry and to the music. So while I’m thankful for everything that is happening to me, at the same time humble from the inside and knowing that ‘Hey, we didn’t do nothing yet. So we’re going to work even harder every single day if we want to be in this very difficult industry.’” If there’s one thing that becomes clear when observing the journey of Arodes, it is the power of passion. It is not uncommon for someone to go through life without identifying what truly exhilarates their soul. Many people recognize the select dreams that make their heart race to simply imagine, but few feed the fire to brave uncertainty and attempt to make those dreams a reality.
Adrian Rodriguez has lived life with passion as his guiding light. His path embodies the phrase, “The reward is in the journey,” the lessons learned from one passion have laid an unshakeable foundation for success in music and life.
Words by: Austin Miller
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