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Interview: Atomic Rocket Seeders
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Thierry: What got me into music were the early hard rock and heavy metal bands. The first time I stood in front of a cranked pair of speakers blasting AC/DC and Metallica riffs in my face, I felt a joy and energy unlike anything I ever experienced before. At that point I grew really fond of the music but showed no interest in picking up an instrument. If it wasn’t for the greatest christmas present of all times – a Squier Strat and a little practise amp – I would have never drifted into the wonderfully strange and boozy adventure that is playing in a band.
If I would have never gotten into music, I guess I would have pursued my interest in architecture. I could not see myself doing a job that does not require any creative aspect whatsoever.
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Thierry: Besides music there are really only two things I spent my time on. Doing sports and hanging out in bars with friends. Doing sports as in playing basketball or paddleboarding help me to get a distance from everyday life by focusing on this one simple task and not having five thoughts of my to do list lingering in my head at the same time. It is a welcome time out and mentally very refreshing, helping my creativity by simply keeping me sane. I feel like the many evenings spent in bars with friends serve as a welcome time out as well but with a different effect on my creativity. The relaxed setting, the lowered inhibition threshold and the conversations with other artist friends of different music styles and artforms are the perfect mixture to get new ideas that often start out as jokes but then I’ll gett into that “Wait a minute!...” mindset and music is being written!
How long has your band been around?
Thierry: If I am not mistaking, Atomic Rocket Seeders has been around since 7 years. I am saying this because I am a member since 3 years only. The band saw about 22 member changes until we began performing as a band and as a trio. This might seem like a lot. As I have been told most of them left for personal reasons or were not up for the commitment it takes to rehearse regularly and give concerts the priority over personal occasions. Since we started gigging with the recent formation though things have been steady and we’re all equally commited and passionate about the project.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Thierry: We are based in Esch, Luxembourg. Luxembourgs metal scene was always one of the countrie’s most represented subculture. Maybe that strengthened our passion for the style and encouraged all of us to start bands on their own. However I would not go as far as to say we have a sonic identity over here as some people refer i.e. to the british or the american sound. What is specific to our location though is the proximity to other, bigger markets such as the German, Belgian, Dutch and French music scene. Major cities of these countries are only a stonethrow away and artists from Luxembourg begin to enjoy a good reputation so you see more and more of us, in any genre, being added to foreign concert and festival bills. The possibilities this gives us and the experience and fans we gain through this geographic advantage is the biggest asset our location offers.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
Thierry: One of our former bass players “Jellox” came up with that name. It fits the quite explosive songwriting and mainly sociocritical lyrics. So we decided to keep it.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Thierry: The best show definitely has to be the time we played Wacken. Wacken? For such a young unknown act you may wonder? Well we did not make it there all by ourselves. We won a competition called the Metal Battle, organised by the Wacken team, where the finale takes place, and the qualifyings happen in your respective countries. We were chosen by a jury to represent our country in this competition and we could not have been prouder to have been given the honor. The experience was nothing short of surreal and we had an absolute blast. On top we were rewarded with a great many useful contacts and awesome video footage we were later allowed to use.
Even though the second part of the question should be far more entertaining, we in our young career have not experienced any disastrous nights, hence I have nothing to tell you here, sorry! I should rather give a shoutout to all our bookers and promoters at this point.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
Thierry: My favorite venue is this great place in Luxebourg, called the KulturFabrik (CultureFactory). These guys honour subcultre in the best possible way and just have it all figured out. The stage is the perfect size for lesser to medium known bands and yet it feels big enough to impress. The technicians absolutely know what they’re doing and are as hospital and hard working as you could ever want a tech to be, unless you’re giving them some attitude ;) They really manage to make you feel welcome and respected while having great light shows and sound. And all of this right in our hometwon! Big up KuFa!
There are of course legendary venues whose stages I would like to take! I won’t rest until I played at the Underworld in Camden, the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, La Machine du Moulin Rouge in Paris, the Backstage in Munich and the Rainbow Bar in L.A. (Rest in power Lemmy!)
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Thierry: There are so many great lineups of different genres I could come up with but right now I feel kinda stoner rocky so today’s dream lineup would consist of: us – ARS - opening for Sasquatch, Clutch and High On Fire.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Thierry: Try hard or leave it. If you don’t commit, are not able to critisize your own work and aim for success instead of following your instinct you’re in the wrong business. Rock and Metal is 80% attitude and 20% talent, so make people know why you’re up there on stage and give it 110% at all times. All your work means nothing if you cannot fire it off on stage. If you do this, the rest will follow autimatically. And believe in yourself, even though so called critics and bookers say you’re whack, if you put all your heart in it and are honest with yourself, good things will come out of it. Have confidence and be patient.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Thierry: Practice over gear. Always.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Thierry: Eternal Ashes means the most to me as for it is the song I enjoy playing the most and the stoner part in the second half of the song makes me fel great every single time we play it together. Also I can identify a lot with its message of modern society’s impact on nature and the human spirit.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Thierry: The song I enjoy playing the most would be Eternal Ashes, the one that gets requested the most and we get the most feedback on is New Age Role Models.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
TAP: Every time there’s a riff going through my head, I grab my phone and start humming the melody to record the idea. Otherwise I would totally forget about it after three minutes. When working on new stuff, I’ll pick one of those ideas or just start searching for a new one, before writing parts for the other instruments. Regarding lyrics, I’m trying to get into a song’s mood to find a fitting topic.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
TAP: Lyrically I do mainly touch on sociocritical topics that affect our world in general. On the other hand, some of the songs do also deal with lighter subjects like drug tripping and... hardcore sex.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
TAP: The way we’re working, it’s really hard to get into any kind of bigger disagreement. When Thierry and Bryan joined the band, most of the songs where already done. They knew if they would like what we do right from the start, so there was no surprise or artistic differences. When moving forward, any creative input is welcome and will be used or worked on. It may sound simple and stupid but that’s how it is: If it sounds great, we use it :)
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
TAP: We’ll be releasing a few more music videos to promote our first album, we’re constantly writing on new material for the next album, live studio video releases are also planned and hopefully we’ll be able to start touring asap... We’re really missing the shows and can’t wait to get our music out there!