EMQ’s with ATLAS : EMPIRE
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Glasgow, Scotland based Progressive/Alt Rock band Atlas : Empire. Huge thanks to vocalist/guitarist Steven Gillies for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Hi, my name’s Steven – I sing & play guitar in Atlas : Empire. The band formed in 2011 and has gone through a few evolutions/line-up changes since then. We’ve toured extensively throughout the UK, EU & Canada, played with loads of awesome bands and released three EP’s and one album thus far.
How did you come up with your band name?
The name originated from a song title in a previous band. To us, it signifies a lack of boundaries and the desire to keep exploring new territory, both sonically and geographically.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
The band is based in Glasgow, Scotland. Two of us are Scottish, both from opposite coasts, but met in Glasgow about 12 years ago, Rob, our bassist, is from Toronto, Canada. I met Rob in 2016 at a music festival in Toronto, he moved to Glasgow in 2017 and joined the band immediately.
The Rock/Metal scene in Glasgow has always been pretty strong. There’s still a dedicated Hardcore fanbase and a handful of Math/Progressive bands doing some cool things.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our most recent musical release was the re-issue of “The Stratosphere Beneath Our Feet”, our debut full length. In the last few weeks, we’ve put out a couple of live videos from our set at Snov Summer Fest in Ukraine, filmed during our tour there last August. You can watch them on our Facebook or Instagram pages, or our label’s YouTube channel.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Everyone in the band comes from very different musical backgrounds – speaking personally, my biggest musical influences include Oceansize, At The Drive-In, Soundgarden, Thrice, Bjork & Circa Survive.
What first got you into music?
I was exposed to music from an early age, artists like The Police, The Clash, U2 & Michael Jackson were on constant rotation on my Mum’s stereo. At age 11, I heard Metallica, Pearl Jam, Nirvana & Soundgarden for the first time and I never looked back.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
I’d love to collaborate with Bjork. She’s constantly evolved throughout her career and it’d be amazing to be involved in her creative process.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
That’s a tough one, there’s so many amazing festivals! Either Lollapalooza in the USA or Primavera Sound in Barcelona. They’re both massive and always have interesting & pretty diverse line-ups.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
We got to plant a tree in the town square of Smila, Ukraine. That was an awesome experience! Not a weird one, but the coolest gift we’ve ever received has to be a trio of custom-made leather guitar straps. A friend of ours in Hamilton, Canada runs a custom amp company – New Way Amps – and in 2018 he surprised us at a show with them! Thanks Rodrigo!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Right now – wash your hands!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
I’d have to pick Jeff Buckley. Although Chris Cornell is my favourite singer of all time, Jeff was taken too soon.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I love playing live, more than anything. I hate when the gig/tour is over and I have to go back to my day job.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Trap just wouldn’t exist. That’d be excellent.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“Relationship Of Command” by At The Drive-In. It fuses together so many different styles & moods, it’s a truly unique record.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
I’ve got really into vinyl over the last few years. Although, downloads have totally changed the music industry and services like Spotify & Bandcamp are undoubtedly a great way to discover new artists.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
It’s a tie between our April 2019 Toronto show at The Bovine Sex Club and our headline set at Snov Summer Fest in Ukraine.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Feeling a massive emptiness in my life because I’m NOT a musician! I studied martial arts for over 10 years, so I’d probably be competing/teaching Karate.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
I’d get Sean Evans to host an episode of Hot Ones in my kitchen. Guests would be my girlfriend, Joe Rogan, Justin Timberlake & Eddie Murphy.
What’s next for the band?
We’re currently writing our 2nd album, which is going really well. We have 16 songs written at the moment and are working on lyrics & vocals just now. It’d be awesome to tour again before the end of 2020, but who knows when that’ll be possible.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
We’re on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube & Twitter. We also have a website…
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
A snack that defies convention. Technically, it is a cake. It gets hard when it goes stale – biscuits soften, cakes harden.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thanks for your interest and stay safe.
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