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Music Waves met an extraordinary band that wants to erase all the borders between styles... A true and sincere interview to tame this colourful musical monster.
THIBAUTK - 05.04.2023 -
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ATAN's current news is the release of the album "Ugly Monster". Is it a crazy bet for a young band to play progressive metal without falling into clichés? 

Andy : I don't think it is crazy at all, we just play what we love and where the music takes us. We are experienced musicians and we don't calculate what is good and what is not. The main thing for us is music and we are very happy and proud of our album.

Does the colourful and somewhat garish cover symbolize this "Ugly Monster" while underlining your colourful music? 

Andy : Yes, you got it totally right, we are very colourfull stylistically and the album cover it's representing our music and it is a connection with real art.

This cover can divide, beautiful for some, ugly for others. Why a clear choice and clear colours ? 

Claudia : Claudia : The album cover is a handpainted piece by Michal Kruszczynski. We chose it because it is very eclectic, much like our music. If you take a close look to the cover and the lyrics booklet, you will find many stories, and little worlds. We loved that.  

How would you describe your music with multiple influences: djent, progressive metal, melodic metal, pop ? 

Andy : Our music it's very eclectic and it's dedicated to people who are open to different genres, to music lovers.

Is this diversity essential for you ? 

Andy : Not sure if it's essential, but for sure it is very natural and organic, when I compose I don't have any borders or any particular style in my mind so wherever music takes us, it's kind of intuition I would say.

Claudia : There is beauty in diversity, there is beauty in imperfection, I think the marvel of prog and there is room for the experimental, and we are very open people, we like trying things and going for whatever sounds good to us.

Like your music, you seem enigmatic. Is it a will to be mysterious to leave room to the imagination but also to preserve yourself? 

Claudia : If we come across as enigmatic, I don’t think it is intentional. We are actually super transparent people, but we definitely value the privacy of our personal lives. Music-wise, we definitely like leaving room for people to reminisce and think through the words and concepts of our songs. I am non-violent person, so I don’t like imposing belief systems and ways of thinking to anyone, but I do like telling stories, and sending messages in non-literal ways for people to give it their own interpretation. 

The voice and the place of the vocals are far from the canons of the genre. Did you want to differentiate yourself by the place of the vocals and put the instruments at the centre of the songs? 

Claudia : One of the most beautiful things of ATAN is that there is plenty of room for us all to do our thing and shine, and we all know there is no hierarchy in our musical roles. Each of our roles is equally important to each song…of course one instrument will inevitably shine more than the other in a certain song, but we care deeply and objectively for the ‘wellbeing’ of the songs, so competing for a spotlight is not even a thing in ATAN. I take that being perceived as different is good thing, then again, you have the voice you have, and that is all you can work with. I do enjoy being playful and trying different placements, and colours to give accurate life to the melodies and stories we write. 
Why is it important to underline on your official website that the riffs are played on 7 or 8 string guitars? Is it to fit the image of djent? 

Is the record a concept album (recited lyrics, ambient noises and sound unity)? Why is it important to have this unity at the risk of sounding less varied? 

Claudia : No, the album is not a concept album. Each song has their own concept that is for sure, many concepts stem from poems or short stories I wrote, many others were just inspired by Andy’s beautiful instrumental composition. 

Why did you release the videos for 'Origami Doll' and 'Fear Of Missing Out', why its titles? 

Claudia : We released ‘FOMO’ as a single to give official public birth to the band. The song speaks about a phenomenon of our beloved modern society. We live in very overstimulating times…of the unhealthy kind. Being bombarded by an overdose of information every day, induced to ruthlessly compete for ever growth and immediatism and as a result we are prone to disconnecting from the essence of ‘being’. Not content, we fear of missing out on all that we see exists thanks to that overdose of information.

Origami Doll is conceptually a simpler song. It is based on an experience I had at a pop-up bar in London. One of my favourite artists St Vincent was there. There were canape’s being served on human hands that came out of holes in a wall, it was a beautifully bizarre experience. 
Origami is a micro dose of what ATAN is about, its short and weird, punchy 8 string guitar riffs, wicked rhythm section, its one of MY favourite songs. We wanted to show contrast, as we had just released a quintessentially prog-ballad Ft. Derek Sherinian titled ‘Absentee’, which is a completely different type of gem.

The guitar seems more influenced by blues, psychedelic rock ('Protected'), progressive rock (Pink Floyd on 'Words') than metal. Are these your sources of inspiration? 

Andy : Thanks for comparing us to those giants of prog. Honestly I don't have any big inspirations, I never was a big Pink Floyd fan and neither blues or psychodelic rock. I am metal head and that's my main inspiration if I have to choose one, but how it turns out to became ATAN I don't know, as I said, it is happenning naturally without any calcualtion or inspiration and all I do is to get guitar, play and see where it goes.

How did you convince Derek Sherinian to play on 'Absentee'? Did Derek participate in the composition of the track? 

Andy : I just wrote email to him and asked if he would like to play synths for our new song, so he asked for the song, liked the tune and then recorded all those amazing tracks. He used 5 diferent synths and recorded 11 tracks which were used in our song mixed by Max Morton.

Isn't Derek's presence a risk, because there will be comparisons between ATAN and Dream Theater? 

Andy : Derek's presence opened many doors for us and his reputation it's definitelly very helpfull. Nobody compared us to Dream Theater so far, because ATAN is completelly diferent musically with completelly different sound and production.  There is no risk at all, because of music speaks itselves. 

Is his presence just a commercial argument, because his name will attract the attention of progressive fans who will be interested in you? 

Andy : It's not only commercial argument as we love Dream Theater and personally I really like Derek's era with DT so it was kind of dream come true to have one of our heros as a special guest on our debut album. Derek recorded a few videos for us : playing through his solo, talking about ATAN, our song and the instruments he used in our track.

How do you deal with critics who say that your record lacks variety or catchy elements? 

Claudia : Everyone is free to give their opinion, and as creative people who put things out there, we will probably be more subjected to opinions than if we didn’t create anything at all. In all honesty, I haven’t heard critics say that we lack variety or catchy elements, if anything, we have been more called out for being eclectic and difficult to define. 

What are the next steps for the band? What are the upcoming dates? 

Andy : We are going to relist in June our new EP wihich will include 3 instrumental songs plus one with Claudia's voice and I think it may surpirse some people, but we are not going to say much more for now. The next step is to play many gigs this year so we are working on our tour dates. And the last goal is to relist our new album at the end of this year or maybe at the beggining of the next one. That's 3 monumental steps plus many small ones like another video, playing through our songs , etc.

Shall we leave you the last word for our readers?

Andy : All the best for music fans, please check our social medias, Youtube channel and tour dates and come to see us if we are around your area and definitelly check our album « Ugly MOnster » as it is available on many platforms.

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ATAN: Ugly Monster (2023)

With its progressive Rock/Metal that favours atmosphere and melody, "Ugly Monster" is a great calling card for Atan, a band to discover urgently.
ATAN: Ugly Monter
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