Band of the Day: Attic Choir

Andrew from Attic Choir sat in our hard wooden chair with a desk lamp glaring in his face to answer our BotD questions…

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

Thanks for easing me in! We’re all scattered across the Central Belt of Scotland. I’m from Livingston, Evan’s from Penicuik and Dillion’s from Whitburn.

How did you meet?

I first met Dillion through mutual friends, years before the idea of starting this band had even been conceived. I met Evan at college. We were on the same music course and just seemed to gel quite early on. The rest was history.

How long have you been playing as a band?

Evan and I started the band maybe a few months after finishing college, around May 2015. I can’t remember when exactly, but definitely by November we were well underway. Dillion didn’t actually join the band until about a year later. It was just the two of us for some time while were working on our earliest songs. We did have another drummer previously, but it didn’t work out. After that, I approached Dillion and he agreed to come to a few rehearsals and play with us on a temporary basis. And the rest was history.

Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?

Evan and I were quite fixated on the idea having ‘Choir’ in the name somewhere. I think to us it represented then, and still does, the notion of our ideas and ambitions, musically, being much bigger than us. It took a while for the ‘Attic’ part to come in and glue it all together. That came about after I stayed at Evan’s parents’ house while we were working on some demos together. I happened to be sleeping in the makeshift guest room in his attic, and it was a bit of a lightbulb moment. It seemed to further the feeling of the music coming from a small, introverted place, but striving for more. And the rest was history.

What are your influences?

Evan and I bonded early on in college over a love of Biffy Clyro — particularly their earlier records — and during our breaks we’d get in a practice room and jam out a bunch of their songs. Over time, we realised we had very similar tastes and began introducing each other to different bands who I think have ended up influencing us in some way, like Manchester Orchestra, Foxing, Slow Mass… the list goes on. We’re never short of recommendations, and it’s absolute bliss. Other than that, Evan and I are huge fans of Frightened Rabbit, and I know they’ve influenced both of us when it comes to songwriting. I’m also a big fan of bands like Nirvana and Bring Me the Horizon, who’ve certainly contributed to an extent as well. Dillion brings a whole other element to the table. The two of us, in our teen years, had a foot in the metal world, and that was his introduction to playing drums, and I think it comes across in our music to an extent, with the sheer aggression that often features in our music. Tastes can chop and change, but I don’t think any of us have strayed far from our roots, and we seem to complement each other and offer slightly different ideas and perspectives.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

For some reason I find it very difficult to describe our music, but I would have to say it’s simply very honest. We embrace the spectrum and don’t necessarily feel tied down to anything in particular. We can be pretty loud and in your face — there’s nothing quite like the rawness and energy of big, distorted guitars and crashing drums. At the same time, though, we like to strip things back and relish more delicate and pretty moments. We want to get you hyped up, but we also want to move you.

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

All the lyrics are told from my perspective. It’s maybe a bit of a selfish approach, but the only thing I feel qualified to talk about is myself and my point of view. I find the lyric writing process very therapeutic, and I’ve found in a lot of the lyrics so far I’ve written in the third person, as though I’m talking to myself or giving myself advice, which might sound strange. Thematically, mental health can play a big part in the lyrical content, and just how various experiences have affected me. I try not to spell things out too much, though, and I like the idea that someone could think a song is about something else entirely, or just put their own spin on it and apply it to themselves rather than dwelling too much on the meaning.

What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?

I think we’ve only played about 20 to 25 shows so far, but from what I’ve been told we’re very loud and very energetic. Things can get very sweaty very fast, and it’s not really a job well done, in my opinion, unless we’re exhausted by the end. Our shows also often feature some appalling banter, if you can call it that. It’s just one of the many ways the nervous energy seems to creep out.

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?

I don’t think there’s been anything too shocking so far. Occasionally I like to get in amongst the crowd, and at our most recent show I was climbing on top of one of the amps. I’m very clumsy, though, and at one point I jumped off the amp and dove straight into Evan. The wildest thing I’ve witnessed was at an Idkid show — fantastic band, check them out! Mid-song they moved the drum kit from the stage into the middle of the crowd and played the outro with the drummer surrounded by the audience. It was pretty impressive, but also alarming, because the drummer is quite a heavy hitter and there were splintered pieces of drumstick flying everywhere.

What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?

I’m a simple man; I love a Strat. It’s just such an emotive sound and the one I’ve connected to above all others. Amps-wise, I’m using a Marshall DSL and Fender Bassbreaker. Two great sounding amps which compliment each other well in my opinion. I hit the two amps with a bunch of pedals, some of which go to both amps and some which only go to one or the other specifically: a couple of Boss distortions and overdrives, a bit of delay, an EQ and a TC Electronic compressor. And don’t forget the tuner.

What are your plans for 2019?

We’re currently writing and demoing a bunch of songs, gearing up for our next project, which will hopefully see us back in the recording studio very soon. Other than that, we’ll just be playing as many shows as possible and making a racket wherever we can.

If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!

I’d love to support the aforementioned Idkid. Great songs and they’re pretty wild. I’d also love to support my friend’s band Quiche. They’re a kind of psychedelic rock band and they’re just an all-round good time. The vibe is infectious. To open for us, there’s no one I’d rather have than our good friends MoonRunners, whom we’ve played with previously. They’re a joy to watch, just so energetic and fun. They definitely ease the nerves of going on stage for me and get me all hyped up.

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