Atlas : Empire Interview
Interview with Steven Gillies (Vocals, Guitar, Bass)
1. What about music makes you love it?
SG: It's a really hard thing to define, but I think music has the potential to resonate with your "soul", if such a thing exists. For me, since I was around 12 years old, I've felt an emotional connection to music that I can't fully explain. It can be many genres, it can be instrumental or with vocals. There's just something pure about music, it's a life force.
2. When and how did the band form?
SG: The band came together in Summer 2011, when Jamie (Sturt) and I decided to both quit another project we were involved in and write original music together. Within 6 weeks of that decision, we had a bassist and live drummer, 6 songs written and played our first show in our adopted home city, Glasgow. We've never looked back.
3. Could you see yourself ever doing anything else? Or is music your biggest passion?
SG: I can't see myself ever stopping making music. It's an integral part of who I am and something I've been obsessed with for over 20 years. Probably the best thing about Atlas : Empire, and why this band has outlasted any of mine or Jamie's previous projects, is that we are free from genre limitations - Atlas : Empire grows & evolves, with each new batch of material pushing our sound in multiple directions.
4. What do you think makes a song great?
SG: I think the most important component of a great song is conveying the intended emotion behind it. This can be achieved in a multitude of ways, be it arrangement, tonal choices/sound design, lyrical content - but linking back to an earlier answer, the "humanity" of the song is what can make it great.
5. How has your experience been with Wormholedeath?
SG: Wormholedeath have been excellent to work with, thus far. We started speaking to Carlo back in 2019 and from day 1 he showed genuine passion for music, which is essential for anyone we'd work with. Over the pandemic we stayed in regular contact, updating them with album demos and the WHD team were super supportive and made us feel valued as part of their roster. Since releasing "Future Ghosts" in December, they've also worked really hard to get our music out to as many people as possible.
6. Do you have any favorites on the Wormholedeath roster?
SG: There's so many artists on WHD, dating back over the last decade or so, and a lot of the roster falls into more extreme metal sub-genres, which aren't really my thing. I like what I've heard from Arcana Collective & Junction 28, but I'm sure there's dozens more WHD artists I haven't discovered yet.
7. What are your plans for future releases?
SG: Our new album, "Everything Is Temporary", will be available worldwide on 31/03/2023. We've already released 3 singles & music videos since December, but we couldn't be more excited to finally share the full album with the world!
8. What's going through your mind after you finish a song?
SG: My perspective on that has definitely changed over the last couple of years. Historically, we'd write music individually, then bring ideas to the rehearsal room and flesh out i arrangements with a full band. Then play the songs live way before we recorded or released them.
The majority of songs on this new album were written by either Jamie or myself, then we collaborated on lyrics, vocal melodies and arrangements. We did extensive pre-production and recorded demos before we played any of the songs live - there's still a couple of tracks we haven't played live.
So I'd say until we finished recording in May 2022, none of the songs felt "finished". But the overwhelming feeling is excitement, because these songs are the best things we've written with this band.
9. Tell us about your release, "Former Lives"?
SG: "Former Lives" has gone through a couple of incarnations, dating back to 2019 actually. Anyone who saw us on tour in the UK, Canada or Ukraine between Summer '19 and March '20 will have heard version 1.
In 2021, we re-wrote a handful of the earlier songs to ensure the final tracklisting was of consistent quality - "Former Lives" v.2 was born. This song definitely pays it's respects to 90's Alt.Rock - Soundgarden, The Smashing Pumpkins, early Weezer, Pearl Jam, were all important bands to me growing up - we wanted to put our own spin on that sound. It's been a live favourite in both it's incarnations and has one of the strongest choruses we've written to date.