On A Journey To ATLAS: Heartfelt AOR from The UK
On A Journey To ATLAS: Heartfelt AOR from The UK
British Melodic Rock band ATLAS has returned with Parallel Love, their second magnum opus now available worldwide via AOR Heaven. Music fans from all across the globe will surely enjoy the auditory journey Atlas presents throughout the 11 tracks contained within Parallel Love. They’re opened for the likes of VEGA and Midnite City and are scheduled to perform a special show with The Quireboys next year. Highwire Daze recently caught up with vocalist Craig Wells to find out more about the amazing Atlas and their dynamically heartfelt Parallel Love endeavor. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in ATLAS, and how long the band has been together.
I am Craig Wells and I am the lead vocalist of ATLAS. The band has been together since early 2017, with our first EP release being put out the Summer of that year.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We are all based in the Greater Manchester area of the UK, and despite the local venues being limited in regards to the melodic rock scene, there’s still a dedicated cult following and some great local venues to play that we hope to return to once the pandemic is over with.
How did you wind up signing with AOR Heaven?
We were very fortunate to have veteran music journalist Rob Evans put in a good word for us based on our “World In Motion” EP release, but we basically approached a few labels with a handful of demos for what would become the “In Pursuit Of Memory” album and we always saw AOR Heaven as the right way for us to go as a newcomer on the scene.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the Parallel Love album title?
I wouldn’t describe “Parallel Love” as a concept album, but there is definitely a running theme within the lyrics of each track that focuses on the highs and lows of a relationship. These parallels of the positives and negatives that can come from love are what brought the album title together, and I think it’s the perfect title for this release in that respect.
Select any two songs from Parallel Love and what inspired the lyrics?
“Weathered Heart” is probably the most autobiographical track on the album, with the lyrics reflecting on the turmoils of previous relationships whilst celebrating a new love, whereas “Falling Out Of Love” deals with pursuing love for all the wrong reasons.
Who did the cover art for Parallel Love and how much input did you have on it?
As with the previous releases, we have come up with the concept of the cover design and sent a rough sketch idea to the very talented Teko Long (who has done all 3 releases) and he has brought these ideas to life. We then take this artwork and complete the CD packaging, disc and booklet design ourselves.
What has it been like to release new music right in the middle of a pandemic and so much social unrest in the world?
I think we always had the mindset to release the album either way, because people need something positive in their lives at the moment and shelving it just wouldn’t be right for the fans. I think the only concern we had is not being able to tour the album upon release, but we are hoping to make up for this by recording a special EP release or two in the meantime.
What could one expect from a live ATLAS show?
We always try to give the fans the setlist they want whilst throwing in a few surprises along the way. If you like a good singalong and a real good time then an ATLAS show is the place to be!
Any future lives shows on the horizon? I noticed on your Facebook you’ll be opening for The Quireboys! What are you looking forward to the most about that show?
We have just booked a socially distanced show with Sam Millar (Ex-BigFoot) for November and have a slot at the Giants of Rock Festival next January, and yes we are set to support The Quireboys for a special unplugged show next year as well. I’m a big fan of theirs so it will really be a treat opening up for them, especially with it being our first ever unplugged set, which of course opens up the door for us to play some tracks we might not necessarily play on a regular basis.
If ATLAS could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
We would love to open up for the current heavyweights of the melodic rock scene, the likes of HEAT, Cats in Space, The Defiants or Eclipse. In regards to the past, I can imagine the likes of Journey or Foreigner would’ve been on our radar definitely!
When you look back on your previous recordings World In Motion and In Pursuit Of Memory, what do you think of them now in retrospect?
“World In Motion” was always more of a demo to get our foot in the door. We never actually expected to gain such critical acclaim for those 4 tracks, but it was regarded as the Independent release of the year in Powerplay Magazine (UK). Through this success we went from being a studio project to a live band in the space of a year supporting VEGA for our first ever live show. I still consider “Lost In The Moment” one of the best songs we have ever written, and would love to give it a fresh coat of paint production wise at some point. With “In Pursuit Of Memory” we signed the deal with AOR Heaven when the album wasn’t quite finished and I’d say we were a little naive about the possibility of extending the deadline. Because of this, I think a couple of tracks came out a little weaker than we had hoped but overall I think it’s a very strong debut and a great starting point for any new fans looking to check out our music.
Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of ATLAS?
I currently front the UK’s Premier Tribute to Mötley Crüe – Mötley Crüde, and have previously fronted an Anthrax tribute band as well named Scamthrax. It’s a lot of fun and keeps me busy in between touring and recording with ATLAS.
What’s up next for ATLAS?
Whilst we are unable to tour consistently we are looking to record a special release featuring new renditions of some of our older material and possibly an acoustic EP as well.
Any final words of wisdom?
We hope all of our fans around the world are keeping safe, and hopefully we will see you all out on the road next year!
The album line-up consists of Craig Wells (Vocals), Howie Little (Guitar), James Thorley (Keyboards), Chris Redfearn (Bass) and Ryan Briggs (Drums).
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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