Attic Choir’s sound was best described by the bass player Evan Hamilton as “aggressively sad”. In two words, he articulated not just this band’s sound, but the appealing notes of numerous bands. From there, the band’s sound fit squarely in the alternative rock genre, borrowing acoustic elements as well as harder aspects from post-hardcore.
- What are your biggest musical influences?
Andrew: I’ve mostly been influenced by very guitar-heavy music. Bands like Biffy Clyro, Frightened Rabbit and Manchester Orchestra had a massive impact on me from a young age and more recent years, and I think it was that very open and personal approach to songwriting I connected with so much. It definitely influenced the way I go about writing my own songs.
Evan: Probably Radiohead and Death Cab for Cutie for bass; also, Julien Baker and Frightened Rabbit for my own songs.
Dillion: I’ve always been a huge rock and metal fan, but also electronica, and I love a good soundtrack, i.e. movies or video games. Acts like Rammstein or Dire Straits, Biffy Clyro, The Decemberists, Nahko Bear and Medicine for the People. The list goes on. I take parts of almost anything I hear.
- Do you listen to any band or genre that would surprise your fans if they found out?
Andrew: I don’t think there’s anything particularly shocking or out there, but I’m partial to a bit of Paramore on some days, and Death Grips on others. Although, someone was actually quite surprised to hear I like ABBA.
Evan: Attic Choir fans might not know I love Sufjan Stevens and Sylvan Esso and all things like them.
Dillion: I have no guilty pleasures, so this one is a difficult one, I loved Carly Rae Jepsen’s EMOTION album. That was great. Or Tom Waits, John Butler Trio, GOTYE, stuff like that.
- What’s next for the band?
Evan: Who knows! We’ve got a lot of songs to share and no idea how that will take shape.
Andrew: We’ve still got lots more writing to do, so it’s exciting in the sense of it being quite open-ended at the moment and we can’t say for sure exactly what will come out. It’s early stages, but we’re hoping to do some more recording next year.
Dillion: Refine the current songs, work on the next songs, and prepare to jump into the next project — an album maybe. I love where we are at already. There has been a fairly steady flow so far and it’s great.
- How do you think streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have changed how bands release music? Has it made it easier or more difficult?
Andrew: I think it’s easier now more than ever to create and release music, but I think it’s quite difficult to grab people’s attention or make a living from it. Personally, I’m a bit old fashioned and prefer to buy music and have a physical copy rather than stream it.
Evan: I agree it’s easier to release music, but that takes away from the spectacle; people seem to care a lot less about new records coming out. Playlists can get more hype, sadly.
Dillion: I feel my opinion differs a little from the guys, as I’m a huge music streamer. I think having access to all the world’s songs at the touch of a screen is phenomenal; although the deals artists get suck. Personally, I’ll stream the hell out of everything, but if I enjoy something a lot I’ll go to the shows, I’ll buy the merch, and I’ll share the streaming links with everyone I see in hopes people will emulate what I have done.
- Do you have any non-musical influences that show up in your music?
Andrew: I draw inspiration from just about anything, whether it’s art, films, books, etc. All these things can affect how I approach new ideas in music.
Dillion: I’m not a super artsy guy, my biggest non-musical influences would be from TV and video game media I consume on the regular.
Evan: I like a bit of interpretive dance; they make the best music videos. The dances are inspired by the music, but they end up inspiring me to write something.
- Can you describe your sound?
Andrew: I’m very bad at it, but I suppose I would describe it as honest and deliberate. We’re not afraid to strip things back, but we won’t hesitate to blast you with noise.
Evan: Aggressively sad.
Dillion: Not really, but I’m a bit anti-genre. I think it can turn people off from the word go. I’ve definitely missed artists just because of the genre they were tagged as by other people; but when I found them naturally, I loved it.
- What are you listening to lately? Anything you would recommend?
Andrew: Without sounding too arrogant, I’ve been listening to mostly Attic Choir demos recently. Other than that, I’ve been enjoying the hell out of the new Twilight Sad record, It Won/t Be Like This All the Time. I’d definitely recommend checking that out if you haven’t already.
Evan: Julia Jacklin’s record Crushing, Big Thief’s U.F.O.F, and all of Hop Along’s music.
Dillion: Rammstein’s new album dropped last month, it’s a fantastic record. I revisited Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and found that I really enjoyed the album this time, though I wasn’t a fan at first.
- What made you decide to “get into” music and start a band?
Andrew: I think I knew I wanted to play music from the age of about five. It seems to have always been engrained in me and it’s one of the few things I’ve ever been uncompromisingly sure about.
Evan: My dad.
Dillion: This is a good story; I wasn’t part of this band from the beginning, nor did I ask to join. Andrew and I are old friends from when we were school age. He asked me to come to a rehearsal studio with him as a backup drummer — as their drummer at the time was unreliable. I learned the songs to help out a friend, really enjoyed the music Andrew and Evan were writing, and just never left. I became their de-facto drummer because they didn’t replace me as their temporary drummer.
- How does your writing process work, do you all collaborate on the lyrics or is that job reserved for just one person?
Dillion: Andrew does most of the writing; builds a frame and then we all work on it and iron it out in a rehearsal space.
Andrew: It’s a bit of a personal process at first. I’ll map out the song for the most part myself, and once I’m happy with it I’ll bring it to the guys and we tweak from there.
Evan: The songs can change quite a bit while the band is learning to play them. Our song ‘shHAarp’ has changed tons since it was first written.
- If you had to pick just one, which album would be your favorite?
Evan: Death Cab’s Transatlanticism is very dear to my heart.
Dillion: Animals by Pink Floyd. It’s good, we all know it’s good.
Andrew: I’d have to go with Infinity Land by Biffy Clyro. Simply genius.
- Are there any bands you would desperately love to tour with someday?
Evan: Slow Mass.
Dillion: I’m not sure. No idea. Sorry.
Andrew: I can imagine it being a lot of fun touring with Enter Shikari.
- What are your thoughts about bands releasing more singles, rather than following a traditional route and just releasing albums?
Evan: I hate it, when a band releases a single, I get excited for the full record. If that record never comes it’s such a letdown.
Andrew: I can understand why things have moved in this direction. Everything seems to be very fast paced currently and it almost feels like you need to be churning out hits every other week just to stay relevant. I personally still prefer buying and listening to full albums, though. Nothing wrong with a good single, but I’m always waiting for the album release.
Dillion: I have a mixed opinion on this: I think songs should work on their own, and if you strongly feel that your music should only be enjoyed sequentially then release it in a way that you can’t skip through it. That being said, though a song shouldn’t have to be listened to in conjunction with other tracks to work, an album is often a greater experience.