January 5, 2017

AOTM: January – Atlas Mason

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January 2017’s Artist of the Month is Atlas Mason from Austin, TX. I had a chance to watch these young men open for Belle Noire while I was on tour with them back in September of 2016. This is a very exciting band that’s breathing new air into the alternative rock scene in Austin. Check out our interview below.

Brian K – (Guitar/Vocals)
Joel S – (Guitar)

Casual Punk Fan: I read about the recording of your debut LP, Treasure Island. You guys did two weeks in the middle of nowhere with nothing except your thoughts, instruments, and each other. You said it was very important for how the record came out the way it did. Do you think this will be a new tradition you’ll use for future recordings?

Brian: I think for the writing process, yes. For the recording, no. *laughs* It was a fun time and I would write the record that way, but I would not want to record it that way again.

Joel: Just hauling that recording equipment out there was a lot of work.

Brian: That was the rough part. When we got our instrumental room set up it was great. We could jam whenever we wanted because there was no neighbors for miles. It didn’t matter if it was 3am or 3pm. We would just get in that room and jam. We had a couple late night sessions where we just jammed out and wrote some instrumentals. We would play all throughout the night and go to sleep at like 11:00am. That was an absolute blast. But, when it actually came to tracking songs in the same environment as writing our songs, it was a little too much at times.

It sounds like it’s a great place to get your creativity for writing going, but stick to a more formal process for recording.

Joel: That’s exactly right.

Treasure Island has a handful of tracks with a lot of those “jam out” moments in them. Are there any particular artists you drew inspiration from when writing those parts?

Brian: Of course. There’s mutual artists that we all love. Joel (guitar), Ethan (drums), and myself have been jamming together since we were 13. Back then we were playing Blink-182 and Sum 41 covers. We were are a straight early-2000’s pop-punk cover band. That’s what really got the pot stirring. Now that we’re grown and we’re doing things on a more professional level we tend to do things a little differently. Even though those bands don’t directly inspire us like they used to we definitively wouldn’t have gotten where we were without them. As far as contemporary bands we all share in common, there’s: The Dangerous Summer and The Wonder Years. Outside of those, we all have varying tastes we draw inspiration from.

Joel: When people ask us what genre we are I don’t really know how to respond. I feel like we are a bit of everything we love.

It’s good to have a wide variety though. You never know who’s inspiration will match with someone elses and it can create something great.

Brian: Right. You could ask Ethan the same question and he would tell you completely different answers than us. But when we get in a room we come together with a common goal of making whatever music that sounds good to all of us.

Joel: And then there’s David…

Brian: David is our hardcore kid who listens to a ton of that. He’s been trying to get us to do screaming in our music forever. *laughs*

I know some of your haven’t lived in Texas your whole lives, but whenever I listen to your music I get a little bit of that homegrown country-sensibility. You sound like you’re a band from Texas. Do you find yourselves showcasing the pride of your home state in your music?

Brian: I love Texas. Out of all of us, I’d say Ethan definitely loves Texas the most. He’s the most pure-blooded Texan out of all of us. He has the state flag in his room and a big truck with the Texas star on it and everything. It’s funny because if you meet him you wouldn’t think he’s really like that. I think all of us love it in different ways. I think what you’re trying to say is the “good ole-country gentleman/southern love kind of thing” where we’re very friendly and open to everyone.

Joel: Even in our music it kind of has a somewhat country-style vibe.

Brian: I think in my vocals it definitely gives off that sound. Some of the guys I loved growing up were super southern rockers.

Joel: Matchbox Twenty!

Brian: Absolutely. Rob Thomas, Brad Arnold (3 Doors Down), and Brent Smith (Shinedown) were a very big influence on my vocals when I was in high school. Musically speaking, that southern vibe definitely bleeds into it.

Austin is a homing beacon for artists everywhere. Did growing up in the city inspire you to want to play music?

Joel: The first live show I went to growing up in Austin was with Brian at a Wolves At The Gate concert at the Red 7 when we were like 13.

Brian: This was right after they were signed to Solid State Records and just starting to pick up steam in the metal-core community. This was about 7 years ago. When we finally decided we wanted to start making music, we realized that our location was very convenient.

Joel: Growing up here we spent every weekend going to Austin for a live show. We’d do one or two shows a weekend. We’ve always drawn inspiration from being downtown and being in that environment.

Brian: As much as Austin is a great musical city, it definitely has its drawbacks. The only way you get more shows or to get more notoriety is if you’re really really good. Everyone and their brother is in a band here and they’re trying to make it too. It’s not the same scene as in other places. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Minnesota and I keep thinking that if we were based out of there we would have a much stronger fan base.

It’s much less competitive.

Brian: Yup. I think that goes the same for any place that has a smaller population or less musically immersed. It’s great because it’s inspiring, but it’s also a curse because it makes it hard to book shows and grow our fan base because we constantly have to be the best around.

Looks like you’re still getting your feet established. What’s one huge goal you’ve reached since you started the band aside from Treasure Island?

Joel: We took on David, our bassist as a full-time member. For a while it was just Brian, Ethan, and I. We didn’t have a good solid lineup.

Brian: We were constantly having to call friends up and ask if they could learn our music in 4 days for a show and play bass for us. It would be fine, but we didn’t have a consistent bass player.

Joel: We didn’t have that until David. Now that he’s here it really helps solidify our band. We’re much more confident when we play live shows because we’re operating as a unit rather than having a fill-in.

It’s good to have that chemistry in the band.

Brian: A bonus for having David is that he’s a friend of ours we’ve known since we were kids. He’s been a part of our friend group since we were 12-13.

Joel: I was actually in another band with David when we were around that age. I was playing bass and he was the drummer. I’ve been playing music with him since I was very young.

Brian: It’s been great having a guy in the band who we already have great chemistry with.

What’s in store for Atlas Mason for 2017?

Brian: We just want to get our name out there. Whether it’s playing more shows or growing our social media presence, it’s what we need to do for the upcoming year.


Check out Atlas Mason on Facebook and grab a copy of their debut album, Treasure Island, on Bandcamp.

Written by: Patrick Marion

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