Hi and thank you for sparing time to chat with us.
AB: Thanks for reaching out to us, looking forward to getting into this.
Could you first introduce the band and tell us how it came to be?
I’m Adam Bayliss and I play bass, and I’m with Dan McCarthy who plays guitar.
AB: Atarka came from a desperation to write our own music. I think that we both found that in our last band the writing process wasn’t as equal or open to everyone’s ideas. So we started writing our own music on our own for Atarka.
How would you define not only your sound but the creative character of the band?
AB: Our sound is just a culmination of all of the things that we love in music. Melody, groove, heaviness. We like to tell stories in our music, some fictional and some are allegories from life lessons we’ve learned.
You have already touched on it but how have those previous musical experiences for band members been embraced in or had an influence on what you do now?
AB: Between the 5 of us, we’ve all had previous musical experiences through education, bands and work. One thing I embraced for Atarka was the idea of “you get what you put in”. When you’re in bands at a younger age, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everything will just fall into place as long as the music is good. But that’s just not true. You need to work hard and put the effort in, you need to look at every band that surrounds you and put in 100% more effort than they are. Not in a competitive way, but more as a means of raising your own standards.
Is there a particular process to the band’s songwriting?
AB: Well I think we had quite an unconventional process to writing our first album due to line up changes. Originally it was myself and Dan writing songs in his flat, using Logic as an aural notepad for ideas. We only had one goal: to write, record and release an album. We had about 15-18 ideas and fleshed them out into full songs. We also took on some lyric writing for a couple of our early tracks until Jamie (Vocals) became more involved. He took our ideas and edited them where he saw fit. When Alex (guitar) and Phil (Drums) joined, we showed them our tracks and they added new depth to the songs that we loved. So me and Dan came up with the basis, and the other guys added their personal stamps on each song we have.
Would you tell us about your latest release?
AB: ‘Sleeping Giant’ is our debut album and it’s available from March 27th. I feel there’s something for every kind of metal fan on this album. There’s melody, catchy riffs and vocal melodies, heavy breakdowns you can move your head to, and tracks to absolutely destroy someone in the pit.
What are the major inspirations to its heart and themes?
AB: I’ve been a huge fan of melodic death metal for about 15 years now, specifically the Gothenburg scene with bands like In Flames, At The Gates, Soilwork etc. But also a major influence for myself is Mastodon, the way they structure songs and use their riffs to explore the stories they tell is something I’ve always loved since I first heard ‘Crack the Skye’.
DM: The themes of ‘Sleeping Giant’ are based around different stories from our own lives and a few allegorical tales. Mental health, addiction and even history. We have one track called ‘Tollund Man’ – based around these perfectly preserved bodies found in a peat bog in Denmark. So it’s a real mixed bag if you don’t look deep into the lyrics. But they all come from desperate situations.
I am always intrigued as to how artists choose track order on albums and EP’s and whether in hindsight they would change that. What has been the deciding factor for you or do songs or the main do that organically?
AB: I know that when it came to track order for the album, Jamie (vocals) had an idea straight off the bat. So we just put that into a playlist, went away and listened to it. I don’t think there were too many changes. It’s just about what feels and sounds right for the album. But you also need to keep the audience in mind. You need to keep them captivated.
What do you find the most enjoyable part of being in a band and similarly the most cathartic?
AB: I really enjoy the song writing process, creating new music and getting excited to hear the final product. It’s a rewarding process, from inception all the way to hearing a song you created, fully mixed and mastered.
Also, nothing quite beats playing a decent show. Feeling the music alongside the audience and your band mates, when the crowd are begging for one more song from you. I don’t think anything can match that.
For anyone contemplating checking you out live give some teasers as to what they can expect.
AB: Well, Jamie is a natural born frontman; crowd interaction just comes naturally to the guy. I mean, all the guys in the band can put on a great show. This is something I’ve not experienced before, there’s always been at least one guy that freezes up and can’t come out of his shell. We just want to put on a great show and party with the people that come out to see us.
What has been your most thrilling moment on stage to date?
AB: For me it has to be when we played KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton. It’s a great new venue and we got the chance to play the big stage. The crowd were phenomenal, the other bands on that night played amazing sets. It was just one of those perfect shows. And it was also surreal to see KK Downing in the audience.
Do you have live dates coming up?
DM: Nothing we can reveal just yet, but keep an ear to the ground.
What else can we expect in the near future?
DM: We’ve got three upcoming singles, accompanied by music videos in support of the upcoming album, and some stuff that we can’t quite reveal yet.
What are the major inspirations to you sound wise and as a musician?
AB: Well, other than the bands I mentioned earlier, I’d have to list bands such as Behemoth, Enslaved, Alcest, Alter Bridge, Baroness, and Anaal Nathrakh. If it’s heavy or melodic – it’s probably going to influence me one way or another.
And finally what song or release would you say was the spark to your passion for music?
AB: I was raised on music from the 60s and 70s. So one of the first artists that really stuck with me was T. Rex. Marc Bolan was such an enigmatic character and quite a surreal song writer at times; something just clicked with me and inspired me to want to make music.
DM: I was raised on Zeppelin, particularly LZ IV. That was the initial catalyst in getting me into music.
Many thanks once again; anything else you would like to add?
Just to say thanks again for the chat, it was a lot of fun answering these questions, and to look out for ‘Sleeping Giant’ – available for purchase and streaming on March 27th.
Check Atarka out further @…
The RingMaster Review 24/02/2020
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