Hi Nick, welcome back to VENTS! How have you been?
Good! A lot busier since we last spoke!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Shadow Dancer”? Did any event in particular inspire you to write it?
Sure can! “Shadow Dancer” is actually being released alongside another single called “Don’t Stop Now”. They were written together in the height of last year’s political insanity, and together they form a conversation with contrasting views on the same topic. So writing and releasing these two songs together became my way to explore and understand each side, while presenting them with an equal voice.
How was the recording and writing process?
This was a really fun session. Jeff Citron, a friend of ours, helped track the rhythm section at The Bunker in Brooklyn, which really laid a great foundation. The rest was recorded at home. From there, working with Andy LeMaster (Bright Eyes) and Joe Lambert (Local Natives), who added their mixing and mastering touches, really took everything to the next level.
With such a polarizing election year, there was a certain mixture of curiosity, confusion, and frustration that seeped into a lot of my writing during that time. So “Shadow Dancer” was written pretty quickly, with me not even fully realizing its true meaning until a little later on.
How has Fleetwood Mac and The Police influenced your writing?
Funny you ask, as those are actually two bands that I discovered on my own, outside of my parents. Back when I was a kid playing ska, as kids did back then, a friend’s dad gave me the Police’s Synchronicty, and I was instantly hooked – each member really brought something special to the group and I loved every part of it. Finding Fleetwood Mac was a little more roundabout. So at that same time, I was also listening to the Smashing Pumpkins, and didn’t even realize their version of Landslide was a cover until the Dixie Chicks did it! I was like, “Wait…There’s no way that me and Dixie Chicks listen to any of the same bands, what’s going on here?” I dug a little deeper and realized the band that did “Go Your Own Way” had a few other good songs too.
While it wasn’t a conscious decision, there is certainly a Police-like groove happening throughout the verses of “Shadow Dancer” for sure. As for the Mac, their influence is always intentional. Any time I’m writing a vocal part, I’m immediately asking myself, “Ok – how many more voices can I add? What would Stevie do?”
Do your new singles mean we can expect a new album – how’s that coming along?
Hopefully soon, but not quite yet. Along with “Shadow Dancer / Don’t Stop Now” this summer, there’s going to be another single released in the fall. Then we gotta hit the road!
What are your plans for the road?
Well we still haven’t gotten out of NYC much, so the world is our oyster! But we’ll probably start with just the east coast oysters for now. There’s nothing set in stone yet, but follow us on your social media of choice so you can stay updated on that!
What else is happening next in Atlas Engine’s world?
A lot in August! Along with the release of these two singles, we’ll be playing in various forms throughout the month: Rockwood Stage 1 on 8/7 (solo set), the Paperbox on 8/15 (stripped down), and the Secret Loft on 8/23 (full band). Plenty of chances to see what’s going on!