Angels and Airwaves: Interview with drummer Atom Willard
by Renee Clark
Static Noise: What was your first instrument and how did you get it? And how did you learn to play it?
Atom Willard: I got my first drum set when I was four years old.....I was playing all thru growing up and got into a band when I was 15....I guess college didn't seem that cool anymore after going on tour at 17-18....so It just happened. All of a sudden I was playing the drums and paying my rent ....
Static Noise: What can fans expect for your upcoming tour? Do you guys have anything special in store for them at the shows?
Atom: Actually yes....we are doing a lot of segue ways to and from songs, doing songs from the first record in a different style...different instrumentation etc....It's a show for sure, not just a collection of songs.
Static Noise: What was the hardest track to write or lay down on I-Empire?
Atom: None of the new songs were "problem child" type of songs.....We write and record as we go, so there were definitely some do-overs, but they all just kind of evolve and become complete over the few months they are coming together
Static Noise: In what ways has the new lineup of the band influenced the new record?
Atom: Matt has a lot of actual musicianship...No really.... he's a classically trained pianist, and that was great to explore some more involved key board parts through out the recording....we usually save all that stuff till the end, having Roger come in for like two days, listening to us try and describe our ideas, and then he played it....this way is better for sure.
Static Noise: Is there a certain statement you hope your fans will hear and take from the album when listening to the album?
Atom: Your world is what you make of it.
Static Noise: Is there anything you know now about the music business that you wished you would have known when you first started out? (Any lessons learned the hard way).
Atom: The music industry has changed so much in the past five years, I'm actually trying to UN-learn a lot of stuff....but I do feel like I'm better at being in a band now, communicating and getting through disagreements easier.
Static Noise: How do you think the music industry will change over the next 5 years?
Atom: I think the "old" ways ( like a band gets signed and sits back to watch their label help the music get successful) will be completely gone...Bands will need to be way more involved, far more proactive in making the business side of things work.
Static Noise: Is the band’s plans to abandon the usual process of only making albums and touring a way to try and pave a new future in the music industry?
Atom: We are definitely doing everything we can to be self sufficient....to make an environment of creativity and productivity that we can express ourselves in and sustain ourselves too.
Static Noise: What other things and ideas you have that you would like to do besides films?
Atom: Our website may turn out to be our crowning achievement...allowing fans to interact with us and each other in a more immediate way, allowing us to release whatever we want whenever we have the need to share.....it will be a platform for us to do lots of stuff..
Static Noise: Do you have any plans on trying to get spread the word and get your fans excited for your future film projects? How do you plan on releasing them? Do you plan on doing it just online or are you going to do an actual theatrical release?
Atom: We do hope for a theatrical release of I-EMPIRE the motion picture...even if it is in select cities for a short run that's how we want it viewed, in a dark loud room.
Static Noise: What are a few goals you have for the band? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Atom: The ultimate goal is to be able to continue as we are...doing what we love and constantly challenging ourselves musically and visually.
Static Noise: Is there anything you would like to add or say to your fans?
Atom: Well of course thank you, for being open minded and for allowing each of us to start again in this world of music....We won't let you down!!!