by Ryan Meehan
Aterra Tale is a four-piece rock band based out of the southwestern Chicagoland suburbs. Their songs are meant to tell stories, some real and some fiction, and to paint pictures within the minds of their audience to bring those stories to life. Vocalist Scottie James was cool enough to be our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: How and when did the band form and which musical influences were most common amongst all of the members?
SJ: Eric was the founding member of the band so he pretty much got everything rolling. Jason was soon to follow, him and Eric have been jamming together in various bands for years so when Eric asked him to come aboard Jason was all for it. Ryan was the next member to be added. He had also known Eric from a previous band and when he heard there was a new project in the works he sent over some scratch guitar tracks that he wrote and soon after was a part of the band. The band then began to record the foundation for the first album and after all of the instrument tracks were completed it was time to find a singer. I was taking a break from another band in the area so they asked me if wanted to tryout. They sent over a couple tracks for me to write lyrics and a melody over and after hearing what I sent back they decided I was the final piece.
I would say our most common influences are The Used, Coheed and Cambria, Story of the Year, and Evan’s Blue.
RM: You’ve mentioned on your Soundcloud account that this project started as nothing more than an outlet for a creative fix. How did it come to be more than that? At what moment did you each know that this was something that you were willing to focus a lot more energy on?
SJ: Our first show was our CD release party. We had an amazing turnout and everyone who came really got into the music and supported what we were doing. After seeing so many good reactions to our music we decided to push forward and see what we could accomplish. As we played more gigs and got more comfortable with each other and our style we began to notice that we have a great chemistry and work well together and have a lot of fun. We are all working towards a common goal and focusing more energy on the band just came naturally as we progressed.
RM: A lot of heavier bands (or bands that claim to be heavy) seem to favor a more gristly sound and in turn sacrifice a certain element of melody, but bands like you guys and Three Years Hollow don’t seem to do that. In your opinion, why IS it that bands do that? And do you think that having an outlook like that would limit other artists from writing the best music they’re capable of writing? Or as an artist, do you just have to block those things out and only worry about what you’re creating?
SJ: I think a lot of bands shy away from melody because they fear they are going to be labeled as “poppy” or “mainstream” so they focus more on technicality and try to stay as far away from radio rock as possible. I do think it limits their writing because anytime you stray away from something creatively you are backing yourself into a corner and what you end up doing is creating similar music to everyone else who backed into that same corner. I also think a lot of it has to do with everyone in the band wanting to be the star. If everyone is trying to show up everyone else on stage you are just going to get a jumbled mess of notes flurrying around incoherently. The band needs to work together and flow together and let the music be the star of the show rather than the performers.
RM: I was your 666th fan on Facebook…Do I win something that leaks goat blood?
SJ: Yes. We sent Ryan to the Netherlands to seek out the finest mountain goat to sacrifice for our 666th fan. He came back from his adventure with a three-legged squirrel and a box of Frosted Mini-Wheats so we had to send you a keychain instead. Sorry.
RM: Damn. I guess I just gotta roll with it like Steve Winwood. Anyway, when it comes to bands that have put out records since the turn of the century, who do you find to be most influenced by when it comes to the songwriting process? Why do you think that you gravitate towards that particular style of creation?
SJ: While we each have our own bands that influence our musical style and how we write I think most of our influence comes from our lives and how we are feeling when we sit down to write. It is easy to gravitate towards this style of creation because all of us use music as an outlet for our lives. These notes and words that we bring together while we write are simply our thoughts and feelings constructed into a song or melody.
RM: How can fans get a hold of the new record “Of Fact and Fiction”, and what’s the meaning of that title? Is it something that is supposed to be all-encompassing when it comes to the writing process or am I way off the mark there?
SJ: “Of Fact and Fiction” is available on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play as well as www.aterratale.com and our live shows. The title is in reference to the songs of the album. I tend to write my lyrics in the form of short stories, some of which are actual events in life while others are works of fiction with its own fictional characters. It was a simple way to describe where the songs were coming from.
RM: What’s up next for Aterra Tale in the remainder of 2013 and the beginning of 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
SJ: We are going to finish up our last bunch of shows for this year and then we are heading back into the studio to finish our second album. We have already made a lot of progress on it and have all of the material written we just have to get into the studio and hammer them out and get to work on the production side. We are also hoping to do a mini-tour in 2014 and get some exposure outside of our home turf.
Aterra Tale on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Aterra.Tale
Aterra Tale on Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/aterratale
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