Why the decision to come tour Canada? What did you like most about this country?
Canada was always a country we respected and drew influence from, musically. Bands like Wintersleep, Moneen & Attack in Black had been in our record collection for years.
I met Rob (Hasebe, Bass) in Toronto during CMW 2016 – He moved to Glasgow in 2017 and joined the band, at that point, touring Canada became a more realistic goal.
We love so many things about your amazing country, it’s tough to pick one! Putting me on the spot, it’d have to be how open-minded Canadians are to discovering new music. Or poutine.
The name Atlas : Empire is a name that stands out. Where did it come from or who thought of it?
And what we’re some other names that were runner up?
The band’s name originates from a song in a previous project. It represents a lack of boundaries & the desire to explore new territories.
The name came to me pretty quickly, once Jamie (Sturt, Vocals/Guitar/Electronics) started writing together – we knew early on that this band would incorporate a lot of styles and be truly “Progressive”, so wanted a name that supported that. There were no runner ups.
I’m a sucker for knowing the story of how it all began. When did you guys get together? Are you small town boys?
The band formed mid 2011, in Glasgow. Jamie and I had met around 2 years earlier and had played in friends projects, all pretty casually. What was very apparent through that period was the depth of Jamie’s artisty – his original material was so diverse that I knew us collaborating together would be something special.
We’re both originally from opposite coasts of Scotland though, with Jamie being born in Dundee & myself in a West coast town called Gourock. We both moved to Glasgow in the late 2000s, to pursue music in a bigger city.
Talk about the one of the hardest moments you’ve had as a band.
I’d say the most challenging experience we’ve had thus far was back in 2015, both during and after a UK & EU with an Australian band called Closure in Moscow.
We’d had over 6 months lead time for this tour, so everyone had arranged time off from their day jobs, saved up a bit of cash…or so we thought! Our drummer hadn’t cleared the time off work with his boss – he only let us know this 5 weeks before the tour started. We managed to find a guy to fill in, crammed rehearsals over the weeks to come, got the replacement drummer up to speed – then on day 2 of the tour, our actual drummer quit the band!
Throughout that 3 week tour, the headline band had their van broken into & lost passports, laptops and personals, we had a promoter in Switzerland cancel a show AFTER we’d arrived at the venue and we played in Paris the night of the Bataclan incident, so were literally 10 minutes drive away from a terrorist attack! That tour definitely took its toll on us, but it also made us realise that we can overcome major adversity as a band!
Worst show memory?
It might sound crazy but it’s probably when we supported one of my favourite bands, O’Brother, back in 2012.
We got billed as “main support” because our pre-sales were great, but the promoters didn’t give us a sound check. So O’Brother went on and killed it for 30 minutes – they’d just played festivals in Belgium, Germany and England and were on top form. We decided to play a few newer songs that weren’t 100% gig-ready, as we wanted to impress. 4 bars into the opening song, I snapped a string – which NEVER happens to me. Our set was pretty shambolic, partly due to the songs not being watertight, but also as we had no time to sound check, our levels were all over the place!
We definitely learned a valuable lesson from that show!
Is there something about touring that people should know ?
Touring is 70% sitting in a van, 25% eating & drinking in service stations, 5% playing music.
What does the future look like for the band going forward?
We’re mid-way through the writing cycle for album number 2 at the moment and we’re really excited about the new material. It’s definitely an evolution in sound from TSBOF, possibly in a different direction to what people may expect. We’ve got 5 songs instrumentally complete, Jamie and I are writing lyrics & vocals just now. We’re aiming for 10 songs on this album, but at the rate we’re writing, we’ll have a surplus of material!
We’re also working on our next few tours – later this month we’ll be flying out to Ukraine to play a handful of festivals and a run of club shows! We’ll probably be back in Canada later this year too…
Your ideal vintage instrument of choice.. which guitar do you choose?
I’d probably pick an original Fender Jazzmaster, one that’d been beaten up and gigged the hell out of for 60 years.
Dream situation: You’re about to collaborate with
One musician of influence.. who do you pick ? Dead or Alive.
I’d love to co-write & duet on a song with Bjork.
Tell the listeners and followers about Atlas Empire and where to get your music.
You can pick up our full back catalogue, including debut album, “The Stratosphere Beneath Our Feet”, from our bandcamp page – atlasempire.bandcamp.com
Our website is www.atlasempire.co.uk. We’re also all over social media – https://facebook.com/atlasempire
Thanks a lot for your time & interest.
StevenAtlas : Empire
UK : (+44) 7473182944
CAN/whatsApp : (+1) 437 370 5324