This month’s student spotlight introduces you to ATLAST. This ICON graduate is making all the right moves as a rising bass house artist in LA and beyond.
ATLAST is most definitely an act to watch. While not even old enough to get into the club, he has already played his first shows this year at Space Yacht and Exchange, two of LA’s biggest and most coveted parties. Now signed to ‘Merk It Management,’ ATLAST also has the support of some of the best in the music industry and a catalog of fire tracks ready for 2019.
In this short interview, ATLAST talks about his music and musical influences. He also gives some insight into his brand and shares how he finishes tracks fast.
I know you grew up playing the drums. Tell me about your musical background.
Growing up, my dad always showed me new rock music. He introduced me to what he listened to and played back in the day when he was the lead guitarist and singer in a touring band. And when I turned 4, he started giving me guitar lessons. However, after a year of those lessons, I wasn’t grasping it. I also had drums laying around in the garage and wanted to try them out. And when I was in 3rd grade at my art school in northern California, my band teacher introduced me to the drum set. In the first two months of learning the drum set, I played percussion/trap drum kit for the middle school “Narnia” performance. I was only in 3rd grade, and everyone else in the band was in middle school! After that performance, I started to join bands and perform around town.
Going into middle school, I got introduced to jazz and contemporary music. Although, I wasn’t a huge fan. Then throughout high school, I started multiple bands. The last band I was with, won the San Francisco ‘Battle of the Bands.’ We got some big opportunities to open for some huge shows throughout the Bay Area! Also, in my sophomore year of high school, I started learning music production and engineering. I wanted to express myself as an artist on my own! Since then, I’ve put in countless hours and many headaches learning the ropes and developing my sound!
What does ATLAST mean and what is your brand all about?
Throughout ICON, I came up with many names for my brand but finally came to ATLAST. ATLAST means to live at last. To live without restriction, to break the barriers of our culture, to become your true self, and to pave your way in this crazy world. So many friends and family of mine are stuck in the ‘normal’ way of life. They go to work from 9-5, work for someone else, and live for the weekends. I was never able to conform to that standard. I believe heavily in getting away from that and living for each day. Each new day is a beautiful, scary mystery!
What kind of influences has helped shape the ATLAST project? I notice things going in a darker direction lately.
During my time at ICON, I developed many different sounds by trying out pretty much every electronic genre. Dubstep taught me to make weird sounds. House taught me how to add just the right amount of groove to a song. And trap showed me how to blend hip hop influences while keeping it sounding new and fresh!
Recently, Porter Robinson’s ‘Virtual Self’ has brought me down the darker direction. He was able to add so much light to his darkness throughout that project. It also inspired me to start writing a story of hope. Every story has its up and downs; I decided to tell the struggle first. I also can’t wait for the rest of this story to unfold and develop over the next couple of years!
You seem to crank out tracks fast. What’s the secret to your workflow?
Haha. Recently I have been pumping out tracks surprisingly quick! Its funny you bring that up. I remember back to Quarter 2 during ICON; It took me 2+ weeks to finish one track. And ‘NGHTMRE,’ my idol at the time, finished one of his songs in a hotel room in two days. That made me want to learn how he was finishing music super quick with excellent quality and substance. I think over time, I just figured out what worked for me and I stuck with it. It depends though; sometimes I can get a track done in a day, whereas sometimes I don’t have any inspiration at all for weeks. That time kills me. Recently, I have started to put sci-fi movies on in the background. Then I write to different scenes to involve more of a story with each track.
What advice would you give to yourself one year ago?
I would start with “be fine with breaks and not to overthink everything during that time.” My biggest strength and weakness is that when I am not working on music or anything music related, I tell myself I am wasting time. Over the past couple of months, I have tried to take those days/weeks of zero inspiration and play video games, get out of the house, go to the beach, etc. Recently, I have had a happier outlook on general life. Also, accepting the downs in inspiration and applying time to something else than music!