Alltar – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
A: The type that makes music primarily to express ourselves as a creative outlet. Everything else falls out of our artistic expression. [Tim]
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
A: Tim and Colin actually met on Craigslist in 2016. Something about Amenra, Neurosis, and giant full stacks that the rest of the band would have to help with. They wrote a couple songs together with Chaz who played drums. Tim sent some recordings to me that October (2016) and I originally joined the band as the bassist. Drummer Chaz exited, I moved to drums, Juan started coming to rehearsals to sing and play Moog, and our buddy Sean came in to play bass. We spent a few months writing and performing what became Hallowed, which we recorded at Caravan Studios in Portland and JLR Studios in Milwaukee, OR, in the summer of 2017. It all happened pretty fast. Casey joined the band a few months later on bass after Sean’s departure. History is still writing itself. [Nate]
There are a couple more Bass players in there. We have been through a number of bass players. [Tim]
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
A: Our musical influences definitely vary quite a bit, but we also share some foundational favorites. We joked for a while that you had to love Neurosis to be in the band, or to just be a person for that matter. When we talk about bands and artists that influence us personally, that conversation goes on and on. It seems never ending. For me it’s relative to the moment. Sort of an ebb and flow that reflects my current environment and mood. Some constants in the conversation are Pink Floyd, Amenra, Dolly Parton, Wu-Tang Clan, Fugazi, St. Vincent, Tool, Ween, John Coltrane, and of course, Neurosis. I feel like I left out Mastodon, Melvins, Garth Brooks, and Madonna. We have a strong Karaoke game.
Our non-musical influences are happening all around us at every moment. It’s impossible to pinpoint. It’s reflections of ourselves based on our individual experiences, but we weave it and bind it together. Messy, beautiful shit. Shit as in stuff, not feces. Or probably just shit as in feces sometimes too. [Nate]
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
A: Right now I think we just want to play music in front of people again. It’d be nice to live in an environment that is more safe and healthy than the one we’re in now. We’re always working towards creating, a record deal that’s right for us, and touring. [Nate]
We would all love to be afforded more time to focus on making and playing music. Certainly something we have discussed. I have always dreamed of playing Roadburn, but that is a big dream, and we have both longer term and shorter term goals. I like to focus on what we need to do next. What is the next step for us at any given time? It depends on what is happening. [Tim]
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
A: We write the songs.
The music is always collaborative. Juan writes the lyrics. The songs are about a number of things. The darker side of life that liberates us to enjoy the light. Most of the songs are titled while they are still instrumentals. Juan takes the title and runs with it as a theme. So I guess that lyrically, some of the meaning can be found in the titles themselves. Or at least that’s my interpretation. Mostly, I think the songs mean whatever they mean to the person listening. I’m 100% positive that I get something different out of Juan’s lyrics as a reader than he did as the author, the same as I hear a riff differently as a listener than Tim gets out of it as the player, and so on, so forth. [Nate]
There was a historical theme originally, one where Juan and I talked about the long arc of human history, all of the things that man has created, destroyed, and left to decay in some cases. I do prefer to give the songs a working name so we have something to call what we are working on, otherwise I will never be able to keep everything straight. But Juan certainly takes the title, sometimes we talk about what the title means, and Juan weaves a tale in the lyrics. [Tim]
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
A: The ways that most bands do in the digital world. Ourselves and third parties. [Nate]
We talk about the band. We post about the band on social media. We try and get people to listen to our album, and review sites to write about what we are doing. We also make merch, stickers, and content for various social media sites. Back when shows were happening, we would also make flyers and handbills to give out, and do boots on the ground promotion with posters and such. But most of the promotion these days happens online for a number of reasons. [Tim]
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
A: It is what it is. The reality of what online is, it’s a blessing and a curse. Music wouldn’t be what it is in this moment without it. [Nate]
For artists like us, being able to reach a world wide audience is huge. Bandcamp rules, and I have a big music collection. But I also have a teenage son, and he asked me when I was talking about buying an album why you would want to own music? The kids these days have grown up with constant internet connection and everything they could ever want to listen to on either YouTube or Spotify, so owning and downloading music seem kind of antiquated to his generation. [Tim]
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
A: That’s tough. Every James Brown song. I can’t imagine what it felt like writing and recording Bridge Over Troubled Water, or Through Silver and Blood, or Strange Fruit. Or what kind of headspace facilitates Night On Bald Mountain. I’ll never know. I think the reason why I wish I had written any particular song is because I didn’t write that song and envy is a motherfucker. [Nate]
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
A: Ignorance. Arrogance. Myself at times. [Nate]
Hypocrisy, treating people who you have power over poorly, litter. [Tim]
I would add people having power over other people. And yeah, litter.
Wouldn’t everyone feel better if we could do a run down of some of the things that are opposite of pet peeves? Like giant full stacks, grilling and chilling, belly laughs, a good nights sleep, everybody hitting count one together, clean pairs of no hole socks, kittens and puppies, fruit snacks, beer, Halloween, orgasms and what not. This list is way easier for me. [Nate]
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
A: Working together to get out of Bobby Dabs house on tour. [Nate]
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
A: Recording new material remotely which is going to become the next album. [Nate]
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
A: Our first release, Hallowed. It is available on CD and digitally for purchase on Bandcamp at alltar.bandcamp.com [Nate]
You can head over to www.alltarband.com to find links to all of our social platforms including bandcamp. We are also on all the major music services. Try searching for “A//TAR” or “Atar” depending on the platform. Some weird rules about our logo and album cover. [Tim]