Atlas Losing Grip is a Swedish melodic/alternative crossover punk band consisting of Niklas Olsson (Vocals), Stefan Bratt (Bass), Gustav Burn (Guitars), Max Huddén (Guitars) & Julian Guedj (Drums), the guys are managed by Flo V. Schwarz.
We heard that their new album 'Currents' is being released on January 16th so got in touch and asked them if they'd like to have a quick chat and tell the world who they are and what makes them function.
We met up with Gustav (guitarist) from the band in a local bar, ordered a couple of beers and had a good chat about teddy bear musicians, touring with heavyweight acts and good old cassette tapes, here's how we got on....
Atlas Losing Grip is an interesting name for a band, where did it come from and who decided it was going to be your name?
Thank you! My brother played drums on the first demo and first few shows during the first two years before Julian joined and he came up with it. We all liked it because it actually means something and is not just a combination of three words that sound cool combined.
The opening to the first track on Currents (Sinking Ship) starts off sounding like a Metallica track then goes all Iron Maiden with the twin guitar, are these bands big influences on you as a band?
Thanks, it’s an honour to be compared to giants like Metallica and Maiden. They definitely are huge influences and a source of inspiration, not only musically, but also in the bigger picture if you look their live shows, (even if we are a much much smaller band) there is a certain vibe and epic/timeless feel to it. If you look at their shows from the late 80’s: that shit does just not go down anymore. Heavy Metal is immortal and we want to pay homage to the bands that had us pick up our instruments when we were kids. If not even Metallica still sound like Metallica, then who will?
You are taking to the road in Europe at the end of January, are you planning on paying the UK a visit anytime soon?
I do believe there are plans for such a tour in the works. Without promising too much, but free your calendars from now on until June. Just kidding, but seriously keep your eyes peeled since I think something is coming up!
I see ‘Currents’ was made available as a CD, Vinyl and Digital Download, no audio cassettes? I ask as many bands these days seem to be producing cassettes…..Back to the 80’s?
Yeah I know. It’s great that the vinyl has actually taken over the CD in sales worldwide again.
Cassettes however I think is a pretty narrow and genre-specific comeback. I see a lot of death metal and like sludge/doom metal bands putting their music out on cassette.
Sure it would be fun to put out something in that format, but seriously for analog formats I do prefer vinyl.
You lost your singer (Rodrigo) a couple of months ago, was this a shock to you or was it something that you all knew about?
It’s not like we just lost him, but we couldn't agree on certain important topics and the situation became one where we had to make a decision. It had been an ongoing thing but it was starting to get clearer and clearer what we needed to do.
You recorded the album with Rodrigo on vocals, how does Niklas Olsson feel about taking over from him and playing live? Does he have a similar voice?
I believe he is honoured to take on the task. Of course its not the easiest thing to board a big ship that is moving in 20 knots, but he is doing fine, and we are so happy to have him onboard.
Listen to the lyric video we produced with Niklas vocals on YouTube and listen for yourself.
I see that you have previously toured alongside Millencolin & NOFX, what did you learn from these guys and can you share any outrageous stories on the road?
Drugs are bad, mmkay?
Just kidding. There’s a code of the road, but it’s not a secret that NOFX likes to ”party”, right? The Millencolin tour was our first proper support tour where we played big venues all over Europe, and you know you have to be on time and show respect to the other bands playing etc. I think from that tour we came home with new friends, a good routine and a massive hangover. No, but there were events on that tour that we definitely learned from since it was quite a hard tour. MC were travelling from show to show in a sleeper nightliner whereas we had to try and keep up and stop along the way and get some sleep in our van. Then it's easy to try and drink yourself to sleep and let go of some steam after the shows (which were all great btw). We are definitely more serious about our tours now, and of course older. Doesn't mean we don't party, but we think of the show first hand, and try to never let the fans down.
Sweden is often likened to the production of Death Metal, what is it about this genre that the Swedes love so much?
I’m pretty sure their is a connection to the climate and darkness that we experience. Speaking about Sweden as a country to put our top people in all creative businesses too. We dream away to warmer places, better places and embrace the cold and darkness and let it become a catalyst for creation. You definitely write better songs when you are feeling down. Don't know about the death metal specifically, but there has always been a strong scene in Scandinavia.
Assuming you were willing to, which ABBA track would you all love to cover and play as part of your live set?
I don't know really, maybe ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’?
How and when did you decide that you wanted to be in a band?
When I was seven or eight, me and my brother were watching a lot of TV, and this show which is kind of like ‘Idol’ today was on and I remember we took our teddybears out and had them perform with pens as instruments and we formed the band ”Fuzzbears”. We got the CD from the session and we preferred ”I love it loud” from Kiss and ”Paradise City” from G’n’R. I was kind of drawn to the rock sound. It was more appealing to me. Around the same time we were watching movies such as Terminator 2 (which featured G’n’R again), but I think the total game changer for me was the movie Waynes World. Except for the movie being excellent (pun intended) there is this part where Wayne and Garth go to see Alice Cooper play live. The moment I saw him and the band and the minute I heard them blasting “Feed my Frankenstein” I knew what I wanted to do. I asked my dad to buy me the record (a vinyl) and then when my grandfather died two years after we could afford to buy me an electric guitar.
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released and why?
That is an impossible question to answer. Some albums have great qualities while other are of more affectionate value. Some of my favourite, or actually immortal I would call them, because I can put them on at any time in any mood would be:
Alice Cooper – Hey Stoopid (My first album)
Iron Maiden – Powerslave (My first Maiden album (when I was 12))
AFI – Sing the sorrow (I've never heard anything like it when it came out)
Blind Guardian – Nightfall in Middle Earth (Epic album. I love power metal, produced by Flemming Rasmussen)
Saves the Day – Stay what you are (Teeange feelings, great vibe)
Strike Anywhere – Exit English (Loved it the first time I heard it)
Rise Against – Revolutions per minute (Changed my life when I was 16)
The Cardigans – Long gone before daylight (Just an overall amazing chill album)
Comeback Kid – Wake the dead (I was into hardcore music and this is still their best album ever. Hard to beat)
All – Problematic (Amazing songwriting and my favourite punk rock singer Chad Price)
Which social media channels have helped you the most to get your music out there in the real world?
By no doubt Facebook, even if we were on MySpace when it was still big. I suppose MySpace helped us a lot in the early years, say 2005-2007. We just to go through our favourite bands friend list and add them because we thought they’d like us. Haha. We made a system out of it and added 100 people each, every day. It's all hard work haha!
Do you own a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
No. That would be silly, being ashamed of stuff like that.
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Hard to think of one, but there are some bands that have one or two riffs that are like soooooo easy but sooooo good and I hate myself for not coming up with the fucking riff myself. Happens a lot actually :)
Please describe a typical (if there is such a thing) live ‘Atlas Losing Grip’ show?
We hear the intro pounding through the p.a and we high five before we go on stage and try to murder it. A lot of calories are burnt and a lot of sweating is going on. At the beginning of tours we all have a really sore necks and shoulders.
First gig you ever went to and the most recent?
It was probably my cousins band “a Whale” they were kind of almost breaking in the 90’s. Now he is one of Swedens most popular comedians. Ain't it funny? (Haha)
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
Millencolin is putting out a new record this year, and it's suppose to be a real fucking banger. Check out or friends in “Twopointeight” to, and my brothers Death metal band ”Kenotaphian”.
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
An epic Robin Hood like – superhero who’s call in life is to entertain the fans and distract them from their salary-slaving lives and together accumulate so much fucking energy at live shows so that together we can blackout every single Nickelback show from now till eternity. Just kidding. Poor guys in that band :(
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
I’m not sure what you mean. Is this some kind of new British type of humour?
Not sure what it means, and I’m a musician so I better be excused :)
Anyway, no I don’t think the chicken will ever cross the road without being questioned.
The world is totally fucked, maybe if some chickens move into a cave and survive our destruction of the planet earth, grow some fucking thick layers of feather (which is very unlikely if they are living in a cave for the next 10 000 years). They are probably going to be completely transparent and won't survive a day in the new ice age.
Seriously, we're all fucked so let's try and have a good time, and at the same time minimize the damage to planet earth while we're here. The world is ours on loan. Don't eat chicken!
Have you had any ‘Spinal Tap’ Moments? If yes, please share!
Too many to mention really :)
Which music festivals are you planning on playing in 2015?
Our size of band is not booked yet, the big festivals book the headliners first.
You'll probably see us on a bunch of festivals this year! Follow us on Facebook to make sure you don't miss out on anything!
Gustav had nipped to the bathroom, I refreshed our beers and when he came back, I launched a few quickfire questions his way....
Coffee or Tea?
Coke or Pepsi?
Benny or Bjorn? (sorry, more ABBA creeping in)
Who is Bjorn and who is Benny, really? Both
Drum machine or the real deal?
Mac or PC?
Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead?
BB, best ever!
Moshpit or Head Bang?
Headbang on stage to a mosh pit
Fry up or Sunday roast
Fry up! Without the sausage
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)?
CD or Vinyl?
Car or Motorbike?
Stockholm or London?
Acoustic or electric?
Tattoos or Piercings?
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino?
God or Google?
Same thing. Neither!
We'd like to thank Gustav for sparing his time to answer our questions and we wish the band every success with the release of their long player 'Currents' and their pendingEuropean tour, we hope to see the guys in the UK soon (we'll keep an eye on the website for dates!)
Take a moment to check out their social media pages, they're all listed below, all you need to do is point and click, it won't hurt, I promise!
Interview by Steve Muscutt