ATOMA is a new Swedish Experimental Metal Rock project that will launch its first album under the Austrian label Napalm Records and is due at the end of March. Their first live show will be in Brasov on the 31st of March at KRUNA Marta alongside DIRTY GRANNY TALES and SLUMBER. Let's find out how Ehsan, the brains behind the new project who fascinated fans of Doom Death Metal with his project SLUMBER, sees things.
Hello, how are things with you? You probably had a very interesting year, considering you had to reorganize your creative energies and form a new entity – ATOMA? Please tell me a little more about that? Why did you decide to call it quits with SLUMBER? Why did you feel it was necessary to change the name of the new project, especially since the new band is made up from the same members?
"Hi Doru. In many ways it's wrong to say that SLUMBER -changed- name to ATOMA. They are very different experiences and their own worlds, but of course since we're practically the same persons behind both, they have many similarities. In SLUMBER people expected a format that was very much like 'Fallout'. We had no interest in belonging or following a Doom/Death/Goth genre in the first place. I could clearly see during years that million ideas were being killed just because they didn't fit the SLUMBER format. I can't understand why we should stick to any format at all honestly. We are all part of a dying species, so what does any frame, rule or format really mean?"
The musical direction you are taking with ATOMA is different from SLUMBER. What are the experiences and inspirations behind what you are trying to create?
"We wanted to create an otherworldly atmosphere where only melody was law, without outside borders and rules of what it can and cannot do. In our belief, music should be an untamed dragon that's free and can take us wherever it wants instead of the controlled genre/style environment. The songs in 'Skylight' album can for example shift and transform through a lot of genres and styles, but being connected to eachother through an emotional dreamy flow. Something that is difficult to explain in words. The album is ten songs, but in our minds it is only one 50min song that journeys from a dark and raw place, and slowly turns into something else. At the end it becomes something more... bright and calm."
Why did you agree to play for the first time in Romania in Brasov? How do you think the public will react to the new style of music you are playing?
"We do this show due to big respect for you and what you are achieving. You are creating a culture where the emotion and expressions of music is law, and not some specific musical style/genre. We feel honored to bring our music to something like that. I guess anyone interested in dynamic explosive and soft music can find a depth of thoughts in our music. It is to these kinds of open and curious ears we point our music towards. Our focus is not how people will react, but our focus is entirely on playing the music powerfully."
You already have two videos under way. The first one is for the track "Bermuda Riviera" and the other one for the track "Rainmen". Who did you work with for the videos? Who did the storylines? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
"The first video that will be released is 'Bermuda Riviera', and it's released in a week or so I think. You already can see this:
The video is created through close collaboration between me and an anonymous director. It reflects much of the world view of ATOMA as it shows huge tensions in the world and political events, but treats everything on an emotional level rather than political. 'Rainmen' is a production of a German director, but I cannot go into details yet."
You recruited a new member in the band. I am talking about the guitarist/backing vocalist Christian Alvestam. Did you pick him because of his rich experience (he played in SCAR SYMMETRY, SOLUTION 45, MISERATION, THE FEW AGAINST MANY, UNMOORED), in the metal music industry?
"One of the reasons is that he is such an experienced musician. He masters the guitar to extreme lengths and also his vocal knowledge is huge. Mainly also because he's the only one of us that still actually enjoys life from time to time. A stable and reliable partner. The rest of us are too lost in the darkness of the world to really enjoy things like love and human warmth (laughs). I want to though, and I like surrounding myself with people who have these capabilities in life. A very open-minded guy that has a nice place in our formation."
You recently signed with Napalm Records. Why did you choose this particular label?
"When Napalm offered us a final deal, me and my childhood friend Siavosh (bass) were walking in the park discussing things. We saw a gang of maybe 10 ducks staring at us, wanting food or something. So I bought some bread and challenged Siavosh for a bet. If I got the ducks to fight eachother like crazies we would sign with Napalm, if they didn't fight, then we would not sign. He was equally fascinated by the bet as I, so we let the final decision be up to the instincts of the ducks. I started throwing bread pieces exactly between the ducks so they had to collide when reaching to grab the food. Eventually, after 10-15minutes, they were so frustrated at eachother so they started picking eachother hard. 20 minutes later.... all out brawl. We signed to Napalm. I'll probably get a mail from Napalm Records after this interview saying 'Hey Ehsan.. what the fuck are you writing!?'"
You will launch your new album just days before KRUNA Marta. Will you be bringing the CD with you in Romania? Are you nervous about the show, being your first time showcasing it to a crowd? Does it bother you that people will not know your songs, maybe?
"It's of course frustrating to be a debut band with limited possibilities. We have to be patient before we can have the visual show we intend to have to our music live. To turn the stage into a portal to another world. Until that time we focus on performing 'Skylight' powerfully through the sheer power of instruments. I hope we can bring some CD's but I'm not sure yet."
What does ATOMA mean?
"If I could explain what the name means, the name would not mean anything anymore. It would just become a brand. For those that listen to the album from start to finish, they will know what the name means emotionally. They will give the name their own meaning with the help of the music. The real listeners don't need us telling them things like this"
Are you political people? Do you hold any special beliefs and interests in politics?
"There was a time for politics, but now… humankind is already marching to its end. While we invent penicillin to save lives, we invent nuclear bombs to blow continents away. While one billion people starve on one side of the planet, another billion on the other side live their apathic lives trying to look like cheap copies of celebrities seen on TV.
That paradox in humans is not sustainable. This may not be the end of the world right now, but you can definitely see it from here. However, my concern is not that we are a dying species, but I want humankind to end it with grace and pride. To face the end of our species, like proud and noble creatures instead of beggars, merchants and thieves."
You stepped away from regular Doom/Death metal, but do you still listen to the genre? And what are the albums who influenced you the most.
"Early works of TIAMAT, SAMAEL, KATATONIA and OPETH, are still havinginfluence on our music since they made such an impact on early years of metal listening. I can't really say anything new these past 10 years in Metal have really had a big impact on us emotionally. There's plenty of other music that inspire and awakes imagination."
What was your last live show with SLUMBER? How do you think the re-invention of the band in Brasov will turn out to be? How come you agreed to play as SLUMBER as well, all in one concert?
"I don't even remember when the last show was. I guess sometime in 2005. Life took us members apart after 'Fallout' album. So we really never got the chance to play the Fallout album we felt so deeply for after its release. Now with ATOMA rising we thought we'd grab the opportunity to do just that. Can't wait to be playing SLUMBER again for a few last shows before it ends, so Brasov will be highly enjoyable for us."
Do you know anything about Romania? What would you like to see here?
"I've never been to Romania so my eyes and ears are open for inspiration. I guess we'll do the cliché thing to visit Dracula's castle. I hear it's close to Brasov, so we'll definitely take a trip there. I hope it rains a lot during our visit, to give us the full gothic Romanian atmosphere."
Thank for the interview you guys. See you in less than a month.
"Thanks man, see you there."