We’re putting the spotlight on the hottest and most exciting new bands around with our Introducing feature, ready to highlight the artists with the biggest potential to make an impact on their scene.
Scottish rock trio North Atlas return with their stunning new single ‘South’ influenced from the wild affecting landscape and monolithic wind-farms from their upbringing in Solway Firth. The three piece combine industrial atmosphere with electro rock and roll to create an amalgamation of deadly riff and layered ambience.
We spoke with Leon D Hunter from the band about their origins and what the future holds.
FOR FANS OF:
Nine Inch Nails / Depeche Mode / Mogwai
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WHAT THE BAND SAY:
DP!: How would you describe yourselves to someone who has never heard North Atlas before?
Leon D Hunter: We’re a rock band, but our mix of influences means there are a lot of different sounds in there. Some modern, some more ancient.
Closest jumping off point I guess is a somewhat more melodic Nine Inch Nails, so if you like rock or even metal but are open to a bit of The Prodigy and heavy hip hop rock beats then hopefully you’ll love it. Also we are hairy and sometimes kinda angry Scottish guys who love soundtracks. Somewhere in the middle of all that there’s us.
DP!: How did the band form?
Leon: My brother and me began making music for something we coined as ‘project novo’ a few years ago with a producer in Glasgow called Mark Freegard. We had never worked with Freegard before but after a conversation one night about 90s electronic production we figured he might be our man. Through his involvement with Trent Reznor and Marilyn Manson (somewhat the basis of our early demos) he had a great attitude and wealth of experience which was influential as we began to piece together music that eventually became North Atlas. After a few lineup changes we found solidity in our childhood friend ‘Rusty’ Liam Russell. An already well accomplished performer, with majestic long blonde hair to boot… Totally gunning for the L’Oreal sponsor but they won’t return our calls.
DP!: What plans do you have for the future?
Leon: There are two singles out soon, the first is titled ‘South’. The second will be out later this year or early next. Really psyched about these songs! It’s the first time I’ve been in a place in my life that I’ve been able to open up about the darkness of my own mental health. I gave myself a hard choice, it was either quit music entirely or sing about what I’d been through. The future for many of us is so scary and I thought, maybe my future can be about letting anyone who wants to listen know that I’m still f*kn here after all, that I found a voice after losing it. Also, we got gigs coming.
DP!: Which new bands are you listening to right now?
Leon: So many. To name a few:
Black Futures, they’ve got crazy Prodigy vibes that we’re so into.
We’re big LaFontaines fans. They just put out an album called ‘Junior’, get them looked up if you don’t know them.
Don Broco. But they’re not so new anymore I suppose.
And lastly, Grandson. We caught him at his show at the Cathouse in Glasgow a few months back and it’s powerful stuff, nice kid.
DP!: Which bands do you aspire to and why?
Leon: I’ll get my a*se kicked for saying this but Bring Me The Horizon is one. I do love all their stuff, especially ‘Sempiternal’ but what they’ve done with 2019’s ‘amo’ is off the scales cool in my books. It’s actually musically very brave considering their origins and the lyrics are dark and honest. It’s on in my flat every day, except when I stop to watch Lewis Capaldi interviews or wash my hair with non L’Oreal based products. Enter Shikari: they’re dark, electronic, energetic as well as being heavy af. They don’t sound like any other band and neither do we. ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ and ‘The Mindsweep’ by Shikari are both records we aspire to as they’re honest and unique! For our new song ‘South’ we worked with the producer of both those records, Dan Weller. Watching Dan play guitar for his prog metal band Sikth at the Garage in Glasgow on their last tour made me aspire to learn the Metallica solo for ‘Master of Puppets’ again. We’re not really a metal band and I don’t play electric guitar in North Atlas but the man is an inspirational beast of a player.
DP!: What’s the stand out moment in your career so far?
Leon: I think playing in the South of France this summer. A specific moment would be at Château Perché Festival, it’s 2AM, we’ve just come off stage when all of a sudden a massive thunderstorm rolls in. The French were freaking out, running for shelter under trees and into various reggae tents, 2am at a music festival, most of them were high. A reggae tent is exactly where we’d want to be in a thunderstorm.