We recently had a chance to catch up with Denver locals The Photo Atlas in advance of their upcoming CD release show this coming Friday at The Hi-Dive (see flyer below). Check out our interview with lead singer Alan Andrews Jr. below. Look for our full review of Stuck In A Honeytrap, sometime next week. We suggest coming out to support these guys on Friday night, the lineup is filled with some heavy hitters, including New Lung, In The Whale, and The Epilogues.
Ultra5280: You guys have been around since 2004, one of my first introductions to the Denver music scene was listening to you guys. I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and upon first listen I was taken back to my early days in El Paso watching At the Drive In playing house parties before they went on to become huge. You list ATDI as an influence, what would you say is the biggest influence they had on you?
PA: One of the most defining moments in my musical listening life was when I heard At The Drive In. The energy and the passion of their sound was just so amazing. It was just a kick in face to everything else. I knew it would stay with me forever and be a huge influence on my writing and musical pallet from there on out. That’s so rad that you got to see them early on. We've played El Paso twice and they were two of the craziest shows we've ever played, so much stage diving, Texas Rock n Roll all the way.
Ultra5280: One of the things I have noticed is how your sound has grown and how you guys have become ambassadors to the Denver music scene, in a way you guys are now hailed as true veterans to the scene. What advice would you give to bands starting out and wanting to succeed in this town?
PA: My advice for other bands would be completely wrong for what Denver has going on. I would say play with passion play loud and don't be lazy. I think with the recent success of Denver music its created a lot of lazy musicians and lazy sounds, no offense but its getting easier to get noticed in this town and less original musically. In 2005 there was no record deals being thrown around, the popular radio wasn't popping off local bands and spitting them out left and right. It was about getting out of Denver, now it’s about staying in Denver. We had no choice but to tour our asses off and try to get people excited about something. So my advice would be if you're going to play music or start a band please, please do something that is yours, make your own sound, be humble, try to play shows out side of Denver and rock out! There's a big world out there.
Ultra5280: The Photo Atlas is what you can consider a grassroots type of band, what are some of the challenges facing you balancing daily life and being a full time band?
PA: As much as there haS been challenges there has been fun. If not more fun than challenges. Obviously financially it has been rough to say the least. It’s not easy to keep a roof over your head and pursue some kind of art form but we've managed to do it somehow. I think we all have the attitude that the main thing we expect out of life is fun and crazy experiences. On a daily basis it’s awesome, minimal obligations, it’s the best. I'm sure the normal financially stable life is good for some but I've always seen life in a different way.
Ultra5280: What does a typical tour look like for you guys in terms of booking, traveling, the grind as many say?
PA: Setting up tours has been different over the years. We've had a few different booking agents and we've done a lot of booking on our own. We have amazing friends all over the country that help us out and support us. These upcoming tours we're doing we booked ourselves and are going to rule! Small packed clubs and dive bars. It’s going to be so much fun. But you know, it depends how you want go about it, we try to be as efficient as possible. We try not to have days off and we always try to stay on friends floors. You got to save every penny you can when you're on the road for a month and have rent and stuff to pay for back home.
Ultra5280: Speaking of touring do you guys have any fun, crazy rituals you ant to share?
PA: I don't know if we have any rituals. We always just try to remind ourselves to have as much fun as we can without going over the line and being disrespectful or ending up in jail. All these things are how to maintain as an underground band. You can't have bad judgment and pull this off. And we just always remember to take care of each other, it’s like a band of brothers at this point.
Ultra5280: You are about to release your new album “Stuck In A Honeytrap”, how long did it take to record that album and where did the inspiration come from?
PA: It actually took us longer than I would have liked to finish our new record. We started at one studio and ended up moving over to Silo Sound. Then we did a bunch of tours and had to come back and finish it. It took us about a year. We were inspired by everything really. The title was inspired by a book of mobster terms I read about a honeytrap were these girls would pretty much rob mobsters. Musically we just tried to harness all our energy and put it into music. I suppose all my inspiration comes from frustration with how life works, i'm never really content. I try to harness my anxiety haha.
Ultra5280: It looks like you guys are heading on the road again here very soon, what can fans expect from The Photo Atlas?
PA: Yeah we're doing a couple different couple week tours right after release. We're doing a Midwest run up into Omaha, Minneapolis and Chicago amongst other dates. Then we're doing a West Coast run made possible by the IM tour grant from the State of Colorado. They basically got us a good paying show in Arizona, now we can go spread this Denver dance punk sound. I think you can expect us to be excited and try to get you to move!
Ultra5280: Last but not least if you had a chance to open up for any band, who would it be?
PA: Oh man we've opened for so many amazing bands Portugal. The Man, Neon Trees, Alkaline Trio, Minus The Bear, so many. Right now my dream bands to open for would be Foals, Cursive or AFI.