Interview with ATOMIC DROP


24 Nov

Welcome to the FILTHY DOGS OF METAL Webzine.
Tell us a few things about ATOMIC DROP (Members, Starting Year etc).

Atomic Drop is a primarily one man project that started in 2019. I am Luke Taylor, and I do all of the writing, performing, recording, mixing, mastering, etc...My best friend Rick Winston contributes a lot of clean vocals (more of which you will hear on the next album) and the occasional guitar solo. He is an accomplished musician and comedian, having studied at The Musician's Institute in Hollywood.The entire reason this band started is because my primary band couldn't keep a steady vocalist. So, I used Atomic Drop as a means to learn how to perform vocals and write lyrics. This segues into the professional wrestling themes, which are prevalent in all of the releases so far.Compared to a casual wrestling fan, I have an encyclopedic knowledge of the art, and it has served as a comfort zone for learning to write lyrics. After a year of writing absurd songs about wrestlers and the soap opera like stories of the pro wrestling industry, I've begun to write more serious material...While at the same time, not taking myself too seriously. There's a place for comedy and satire in heavy metal, and I hope to fill that niche in the future.

You have recently released your album ''Wicked is my Love''. What is the Feedback from your audience as well as from the Press?
So far so good! @thrash.album.reviews on Instagram gave us a kind review. Die hard black metal aficionados probably despise it!!! It's fine enough to attract new listeners every day, and I'm happy about that. Each track seems to have a good balance between being absolutely relentless, yet still musical. There's breaks sprinkled here and there so you can catch your breath. The three-act structure you see used in narrative fiction lends itself well to metal. It even works well during a guitar solo! People have told me that they like the transitions. This does require a little bit of effort. Especially when you're going from like a slower Dokken-esque rhythm directly into some skank beats at 240BPM layered with some crazy subdivided tremolo picked guitar part. I think one thing everybody can agree on is that it is a step in the right direction when compared to the first album, "Mid-Card Purgatory." Production and performance wise.

Label or DIY and why?
Definitely DIY...I haven't submitted my music to any labels, nor have any labels shown interest! Haha! Not having to answer to anybody is pretty awesome, though. I can set my own budget, own all of my work, release music whenever I want, write about stupid stuff, all on my own terms. It would be great to have the marketing machine of a label behind me, but I don't really see what I'd have to offer to them at the moment. I'm a one man band that doesn't play live shows, yet. I'm only selling merchandise on Bandcamp. Live shows are where the money is.There's a slew of great unsigned or smaller label bands that would smoke a lot of these larger label acts, but the numbers aren't really attractive enough for the label. Laid to Waste in the Czech Republic is better than anything on Century Media or Nuclear Blast, but they probably don't sell enough t-shirts to get their attention.

Do you prefer Vinyl, Tape, CD or Digital Format and why is that?
Everything analog!!! I actually own a little over 900 LPs. To listen on vinyl is to invest in the album. I've never played a 30RPM piece of wax just to hear one track. When that needle lands, it's not coming up until the end of that side.I like the convenience of digital, but it's too easy to skip over something that you may enjoy. People probably miss out on some sick songwriting because they choose not to sit through an intro or a guitar solo.Tapes have a special place in my heart. Nothing beats a nicely worn cassette tape. I listened to The Legacy by Testament front to back so many times that the tape got warped, and tuned the entire album down about a half step. It sounded even more bad ass after that!!!

Your music style is Thrash Metal. Which are your main influences (Favourite Artists / Bands etc.)
Definitely Razor, Testament, and Megadeth. Every thrash band is influenced by the Big 4 (or Big 8). Anybody that says otherwise is a lying hipster. To me, it's the influences outside of your primary genre or subgenre that matter most. Without those, you end up sounding like a poor imitation of your heroes. If you really wanted to punish yourself and dive deep into Atomic Drop, you'd probably catch a whiff of Zappa, a pinch of Prince, and a drop of DMX, followed up by a huge dose of Dokken, Skid Row, Vortex/Nick Barker era Dimmu Borgir, Iced Earth, and Nile.I really dig the staple shred stuff. Jake E Lee/Ozzy, Yngwie, Racer X, Zakk Wylde, Al di Meola. Priest and Maiden are awesome. I love Rollins Band!As far as newer stuff goes, Municipal Waste, Skull Fist, Traitor, Gama Bomb, Lahar, Power Trip, Vulture, Laid to Waste. All of those guys are incredible! I probably wouldn't have gotten back into writing music if those bands weren't around tearing it up.

Which things, do you think, a Band should sacrifice in order to succeed?
Have you ever sacrificed anything in your life for a better future of your Band?
If you decide to go for it when you're young, single, like 18 to 25 years old, you're really only sacrificing financial stability. I tried it back in the day! Worked crappy part time jobs so we could write and rehearse every night. Bought a brand new band van and a Marshall JCM 800. Built up some debt! It was worth the experience.It's so much easier to go all out nowadays. Literally anybody can get their music distributed today. You can easily expose your music to a wide audience now. So, I don't think musicians today have to sacrifice that much to get the ball rolling. Once you're on the road, that may be a different story. One which I'll likely never garner the experience to share. Luckily, I married a gorgeous 5 foot 9 inch blonde woman with a tiny waste and legs for days that could care less if I record music all night. I've sacrificed very little for this project...so far.

Describe your ideal live show as a performance Band. Have you already experienced that?
I have! Played a show with my old band in the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the winter time. They were desperate for any kind of live performing act, and we obliged. The sound guy nailed it, we could hear everything perfectly on stage, and we didn't miss any notes. The owner thought we were going to be a big deal and had the band autograph some photos for him to put on the wall. Then at the end of the show, the local hooligans (led by a guy that looked like Spicoli from Fast Times) wanted to tussle, and we obliged. A massive bar room brawl ensued. The vocalist from one of the other bands lept from the top of a pool table and did a super man punch! Another guy broke a ketchup bottle and used it as a weapon. It was very cinematic! Haven't heard of any metal shows happening over there since then.

Which attributes, do you think, that a new Thrash Metal Band should have in order to gain identity and be unique?
We can harken back to that previous question about influences for an answer. The influences outside of your genre that you choose to implement are what makes your music unique. Unless you have some kind of visual gimmick. Even then, you're probably copying something that another band has already perfected. For instance, Slipknot. This is my opinion and it might piss people off, but oh well. Take away their masks and they're a generic butt rock band that isn't going anywhere. Slap on the gimmick, and they're megastars. GWAR did it better. Now I sound like a hipster!To really answer the question...Write lyrics about something other than death, doom and gloom every song. Tune your guitars above C# or D. Play guitar solos with some vibrato. Dial back the distortion. Don't record with a Kemper amp on the 5150 setting. I'm a total hack though! I shouldn't be answering this question, much less giving anybody advice about how to make music.

Do you believe that Bandcamp and other Digital Platforms help the new Thrash Metal Bands? Which, do you think, is the ideal way for a Band to promote its work?
Absolutely! I wouldn't be doing this interview if it weren't for digital platforms. Bandcamp is very fair with their splits. Spotify rips off most bands, but it allows you to reach people you normally wouldn't. I personally haven't had much success with Spotify, but that's because of me. I spend significantly more time writing and recording music than I do on promoting it. I'd say the best way to promote your work is to quit your job, put your gear away, and hang out on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook all day bombarding people with your stuff. I'm old school and won't do that. People that want to hear Atomic Drop will stumble upon it eventually. YouTube is where it's at if you're looking for amazing metal bands. The New Wave of Old School Thrash Metal and Black Metal Artists are my go to channels for dope bands on YouTube.

Tell us a few things about the New Underground Metal Scene in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA (Bands, Fanzines, Webzines, Metal Clubs etc.)
I've been a bit detached from the scene for a number of years. Fast, technical, thrashy stuff isn't prevalent in this area. When it is here, it rules ass. There's just nobody doing it. There are some good grindcore, prog metal, punk, and hardcore bands. Nobody puts on a show like Ancient Torture Techniques does. Slaghead is pretty dope. Stuck Backwards is an excellent cross over band. Carriage rips at old school traditional metal, like Sad Wings of Destiny sounding stuff. They're also quite theatric.

Do you know anything about the Hellenic Metal Scene?
No, but a quick Google search has me intrigued. Looks like I'll have some new bands to listen to this week!!!

What are your future plans?
I'm currently mixing and mastering the next three releases. I write and record about an album's worth of material every month or two. The next two albums are really going to steam some cheeks!!! Of all the material I've written, the next two albums are my favorite. The next release is actually going to be a split with another pro wrestling influenced band called Tongan Death Grip. Their stuff is awesome, and I'm pumped about working with them.The next full length is called "Karma Always Collects" and will be available in the summer/fall of 2021 at the latest. My good friends have funded half of the cost for a run of vinyl records for that album, and all of the merch we sell is funding the rest of the release. Lots of exciting stuff on the horizon!!!Other than that, I'm working on performing these songs with the hopes of eventually building a live band. I've only been doing vocals for a year, so it's been tough learning how to sing this stuff while performing on guitar. I've got all the time in the world, though. It will happen when it happens.

Thank you very much for your time & Keep up the good work! The closure is yours.
Thank you so much for even considering Atomic Drop for an interview! Haha!!! I'm such a microscopic speck on the heavy metal landscape. I'm eternally grateful, and a Filthy Dog for life!
For anybody interested in supporting the band, visit http://atomicdrop1.bandcamp.com
Stream the music on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, or whatever DSP you use.We're also on Instagram @atomicdropmetal and on Facebook @AtomicDropMetal

By Steve the Filthy Dog.

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