Hailing from the West Midlands, Atarka release their debut album entitled Sleeping Giant this Friday. Guitarist Alex Dutton took some time out of his schedule to tell us a bit more about the band…
Atarka hail from the West Midlands, with exception to Jamie Smith (Vocals) who now lives in Bristol.
How did you meet?
Atarka originally consisted of home demo recordings from Dan McCarthy (Guitars) and Adam Bayliss (Bass) who knew each other for some years. They also knew of Jamie Smith (Vocals) via the local metal scene through various bands. I met Dan at university, when he was reaching out to recruit members for a new project. We’d often rehearse to backing tracks until we found Phil Sheldon (Drums) via mutual music friends.
How long have you been playing as a band?
We’ve had a full line-up for a little over a year. We’ve been very busy writing and recording for our debut album ‘Sleeping Giant’, making sure we were getting everything in place before we establish ourselves on the metal circuit!
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
The name ‘Atarka’ comes from the fantasy card game ‘Magic The Gathering’. There is a card called ‘Dragonlord Atarka’, an elder dragon that wreaks havoc upon its opponent. The dragon is aggressive and merciless, just like our riffs!
What are your influences?
As individual musicians, our tastes vary quite drastically. Myself, I’m a huge fan of aggressive riffs combined with melody, with bands such as: Alter Bridge, In Flames and even Periphery. Dan (Guitars) and Adam (Bass) are influenced by bands like Mgla and Anaal Nathrakh, whereas Jamie (Vocals) and Phil (Drums) are influenced heavily by Slipknot. We feel that Atarka brings all of these influences together, sonically, creating something fresh to the metal and its sub-genres.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
I feel that Atarka can definitely appeal to fans of genres other than just Metal, if i’m honest. You can definitely hear several varied influences throughout our album ‘Sleeping Giant’, maybe Gojira, In Flames etc. But I don’t think our sound is like any certain band in particular.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
The lyrics for our album are based around themes such as: Depression, addiction and overall feelings of frustration and oppression. Atarka is not a concept band, but these themes we feel are very important and close to home for all of us.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
We’ve played 7 shows so far. Our first show was the first heat of our regions ‘Metal To The Masses’ competition, in which we actually progressed to the semi-final heat and even the final! We decided to concentrate all of our efforts on the writing and recording of our debut album and I feel the quality of it definitely reflects our efforts. We felt that it was essential to establish ourselves as a professional outfit and have everything in place before breaking onto the scene as a band.
Our live shows are explosive. We aim to give everything to every single show we play!
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
The wildest live shows have to be either Steel Panther or The Darkness. I once saw Justin Hawkins arrive on stage riding a giant penis!
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
I use PRS Guitars, SE’s mainly (a Tremonti custom for this album). I just love how robust they are and the overall build quality of the instruments for a smaller price point. In terms of amplifiers, I exclusively use the VX Kraken from Victory Amplification. It’s the perfect blend of both British and American High-Gain tones!
Dan (Guitars) Uses two ESP LTD Eclipse guitars (One a Bill Kelliher signature) and an Orange Dark Terror amplifier.
Adam (Bass) Uses a Yamaha TRBX into a Darkglass Electronics Microtubes Amplifier head.
Phil (Drums) Uses a mixture of Mapex, Zildjian, Evans and DW.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Our debut album ‘Sleeping Giant’ and the videos for the singles. Our latest release is a track titled ‘Tollund man’. It’s dark and heavy and you seriously need to check it out!
What are your plans for 2019, into 2020?
Our main focus is to promote our album and establish ourselves on the metal scene. We are currently planning a very busy year in terms of shows and releases. Keep your eyes peeled!
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!
We would love to support a band like In Flames or Gojira, We’re huge fans!
In terms of an opener, there’s a band by the name of ‘CREATURE’ Who are local to the West Midlands, bringing girthy and thrashy riffs wherever they play. They’re also a great bunch of guys. Dan Willett (Bass for Creature) produced and mixed our album ‘Sleeping Giant’! (Little easter egg for you!)
From previous Band of the Day Muscular Child: Dave Grohl, Mick Jagger, Prince – Who would you kiss, who would you marry and who would you kill?
I’d kiss Prince. The guy was incredibly talented and performed with such sass and attitude!
I’d definitely marry Dave Grohl. Imagine sitting down with that guy everyday and putting the world to rights over a beer!?
Lastly, I’d unfortunately Kill Mick Jagger. The guy is an absolute legend, but he’s had more than a good innings. He’ll probably outlive us all though!
From another BotD, Vanity: If you could go back in time and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
Don’t take life so seriously. Everything will work out, just enjoy the ride.
And from Charly&Faust: What’s your underwear colour?
White. Dangerous, I know.