CITIES OF ORIGIN: Livermore, Palm Springs and Walnut
KINDRED SPIRITS: The Protomen, Apollo 18, Circa Survive, Thrice (Alchemy Index era), Rush, King Crimson, The Decemberists, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Pink Floyd and Modest Mouse
FREQUENTS: Old Town Pub in Pasadena, dba256 in Pomona, Downtown Pasadena and Mr. T’s Bowl in Highland Park.
Calling this band genre-defying is a bit of an understatement. Carbon Atlas has a sound that transcends boundaries between sound, music and story-telling, and the IE music scene is all the better for it. Blending a variety of sounds with a knack for coherent and self-contained narratives, this band takes performing to another level. IE Weekly was able to catch up with the band and talk about its work and its future.
Carbon Atlas has an eclectic style, taking inspiration from a variety of genres. How did that happen?
We all bring something to the music that inspires us individually. While our individual influences rarely overlap directly, the diversity of our influences have never clashed, and they have always contributed to the uniqueness of our sound. Our lack of common ground has pushed us not to settle into or aim at a single genre, but expand and function within our own. Our writing process is collaborative; we each participate equally, tweaking each other’s written parts so that they “jive” together. There is something interesting in the assimilation of seemingly different musical styles to create something new. We motivate each other to play outside of ourselves, and we are critical of one another so that we don’t settle on an aesthetic, but rather refine and expand it. Equipment wise, the rawness and warmth of the tube amplifiers express our sound well and make the music breathe and pulsate in contrast to the sometimes sterile sound of solid state amps. The raw power, which we like to embody in our music, is accentuated by the overblown tubes.
Carbon Atlas seems more than just a band. There is a base in storytelling. How does that come across in the music?
We all studied literature in college, so we are very driven by the power of the narrative. Our storytelling is generally embodied by the singers channeling different characters, and singing as those characters. In this way, the characters are speaking for themselves instead of them being given voice through a performer. The inherent natures of the characters inform the lyrics and the music, and cause us to write so as to develop themes; we accommodate the needs of the characters, what they need to say, what needs to be expressed to accurately develop the narrative structure or character intercourse. The narrative quality of the music translates to our live performances in our physical expressions. We feel the emotions of the characters and we are influenced by the conflicts they either overcome or succumb to. By having two active singers in the band, we are allowed a certain breadth in the development of the narrative, with characters often times responding to each other.
Recorded anything yet? Have plans to?
Yes, we recorded demos for three of our older songs so that people online would have something to tide themselves over while we are recording our new material. We are currently looking for a professional studio and engineer to work with after the completion of the record we are currently working on.
How does the future look for Carbon Atlas?
The future looks promising. We are finally playing steady shows to people who are coming to experience live music instead of people who just happen to be at a bar, venue, what have you. With our new material, we feel we have really progressed our style to the point where we have achieved a well defined sound, and we can’t wait to expose our audience to it at our live shows. We are currently working on a concept record which further defines and expands the world we created in the song “The Terrible Sea,” which can be found on both our Facebook and Reverbnation sites. We are about half-way done with the record and are regularly debuting new material from it at our live gigs. In the upcoming months we aim to finish the record and go into the studio for some quality recording time. We just confirmed a residency at Old Town Pub in Pasadena with another band, Evertheory, the members of which we are good friends with, and will be playing that venue at least once a month. For anyone looking to see us live, we have three upcoming shows: A cancer benefit on April 6 in Montebello, Old Town Pub in Pasadena on April 14, and 72 North in Pasadena on May 19, and we are also awaiting a response from Saturation Art and Music Fest in Riverside.