North Atlas: Interview and Live Review
Words and photos: Anthony Firmin
We caught North Atlas at SoundControl last year and were very impressed by them, so before tonights show we collared singer Leon Hunter for a very quick chat…
I really enjoyed watching the new video Orange, it was shot in Iceland wasn't it, did you go out there for the shoot? There is a guy called Gunnar Freyr Steinsson who is in Iceland who shot it for us, and the song is called Orange so we wanted to have the desert feel and black sand to contrast with the orange spacesuit. We had a space theme with the last video, HAL, and Iceland has a very barren alien landscape and it had a sci-fi kind of vibe to it.
Now HAL was partly filmed in Japan… Yeah, Nagoya in Japan, and Los Angeles and the UK. I have some friends who are videographers in both Nagoya and Los Angeles and I just wanted to have this character, this alien, travelling around the world sort of lost and he is a little bit distraught, unimpressed with the world. But he takes solace in the fact that he can party with his friends and get drunk, kind of a juxtaposition.
At the end of HAL the character is just stood on a tube platform in Nagoya and there is a woman just looking at him, it is quite hilarious… In Japan they have this fascination with characters like this and it is quite a common thing to see people dressed up in this way. We tried to shoot in the street but the kids kept coming up and trying to play with them when we were trying to do some speeded up shots. But it is a light-hearted video, it is not too serious as we don't take ourselves too seriously anyway.
Do you have connections with videographers in Japan and the USA? I am a big fan of photography and videography because it is a really difficult thing to do and something I admire a lot so when you meet someone who is good at these things wherever they are in the world it's good to try and work with them.
New album? We have a new EP that is coming out towards the end of the year and we are working with producer Mark Freegard again, he has worked with Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson.
And how was this short tour going for you? It has been going really well, it's fun man, it is good to try out some of the songs that we are going to put on the EP and see how they work.
And with that the band returned backstage to ready themselves. When we saw North Atlas on the bar stage at SoundControl, it was barely big enough to swing a cat on, the stage at Night & Day must have seemed huge in comparison and they made use of every inch of it.
The band seem to be enjoying themselves more as well, playing looser and heavier. Their sound is distinct too, with electronics triggered by a drum pad and bass guitar, thereby conjoining the alt-rock and electronica genres. The show is quite visual too as the band bring their own custom lighting to enhance procedings.
Opening with Orange, they fly though the songs in their set even find time to tease us with the suggestion of a cover of Wonderwall. Like a raging river, the music flows along at a fast pace, HAL feels massive without losing focus. The 11 song set is over far too quickly and we can only await their return when the new EP is launched.
Prior to North Atlas we caught local alt-rockers Awkward Agenda who I was impressed with, they came across more purposefully and thoughtful in their songs and their playing with Miracles picking up the pace towards their set. Also on the bill were The Orchid Hunters who have an interesting rock groove to them and certainly entertained.