LOMM: Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up?
A//TAR: A//TAR is Tim, Colin, Juan, Casey, and myself (Nate). Tim plays guitar and is also in Hound The Wolves. Colin plays guitar. Juan plays Moog and sings and is also in Hound The Wolves and Tigers On Opium. Casey plays bass and is also in She And Him. I play drums and am also in Hound The Wolves and Tigers On Opium.
A//TAR started playing in the fall of 2015 after Tim and Colin met up with shared interests in music. I was originally playing bass but switched to drums after the first drummer left. Juan joined soon after and we went through a couple years of writing and performing with a few different bassists until Casey came in to make the picture whole.
We met up as most musicians do. Seeing each other’s bands, hanging out in the local music venues, and Craigslist.
LOMM: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you guys have been holding up?
A//TAR: Like most creative people do in hard times, we’ve been figuring out how to navigate through it. Lots of recording from isolated places and file sharing. Lots of leg work that isn’t rehearsing together, playing shows, or touring. I think all artists are learning new ways to create and connect with each other and our respective audiences. It’s really kind of exciting to see the envelope being pushed in the face of these tragic times.
Being an artist has always meant being financially vulnerable for us and everyone else we know. Not much has changed there. It is hard, but focusing on that isn’t going to help us progress at all.
LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
A//TAR: Yeah, staying busy. Not getting bogged down in the dark of it all.
LOMM: Modern sounds are my thing J How about you? What does your genre means to you, why did you choose this genre?
A//TAR: The weight of it. The sound. The heaviness. The way it makes us feel. That’s what it means to us. The genre chose us.
LOMM: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
A//TAR: Collaboration with open minds. A shared interest in mood and movement. Playing less notes and playing more dynamics. Space. Patience.
LOMM: Are you happy with your product? I mean, what aspects of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?
A//TAR: I am happy with the product. We’ve spent a lot of time playing together and I think we all agree that it shows on the Ceremony of Sludge recording. The show was backlined, so it was a bit weird playing other people’s equipment, especially since we’re a buncha gear nerds, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
Improving is a never ending journey and the path we have chosen as artists. Nailing it only happens when we’ve had to much to drink and smoke and can’t remember what actually happened.
LOMM: How has the overall reception been?
A//TAR: No haters yet, at least none that I know of. So pretty good.
LOMM: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?
A//TAR: We have toured. It is rough not being able to perform. Performing in front of audiences is something most artists thrive on so it feels a bit lonely not being able to do so.
LOMM: What do you see for your future? How is it looking?
A//TAR: it’s looking good. We’re figuring it out. We’ve got a bunch of new ideas flowing. It’s a bit difficult to foresee the future in such unprecedented times, but we’re doing what we can to forge ahead.
LOMM: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? Who is writing the lyrics?
A//TAR: Juan writes the lyrics. They come into focus based off of the mood of the music. Themes of civilization. Past, present, and future and all that comes with it. Influenced by the history of war, both societal and individual. The mystery of time. The emotions of being a conscious being.
LOMM: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
A//TAR: Tough question. Really tough. They both bring unseen adventures and obstacles. Both bring us together.
LOMM: Who is composing the songs?
A//TAR: It’s very collaborative. There is no single composer. We all take part. Except the lyrics, Juan does that.
LOMM: What bands do you draw your inspiration from?
A//TAR: So many. Neurosis is huge for us. Amenra is huge for us. We all have very different tastes and respect music as a whole, collectively. Lots of hip-hop, lots of country. I’m a jazz head so I’m always drawing from that. The local scene in Portland is so vast and influential in and of itself. We most likely draw huge inspiration from bands here that we have played with and love. Hippie Death Cult, Skulldozer, From The Ages, Young Hunter, Danava, Red Fang, Ils, Holy Grove, it’s endless, I’m forgetting a shit ton, and we’re very fortunate and grateful to be part of such a wealth of great artists and bands.
LOMM: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
A//TAR: Music always. We can’t control what anyone else likes or dislikes.
LOMM: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
A//TAR: Getting Tim to scale down his pedal board someday.
LOMM: Anything else you think your fans should know?
A//TAR: We appreciate the fuck out of you and love you. We miss you. We’re anticipating getting to see you again, soon.