New Music: Atlas Chasers


Photo by Abby Johnson - retrieved from Atlas Chasers Facebook

Atlas Chasers band

Bridges on YouTube

Holly Edwards-Smith, Reporter

An atlas is a collection of maps. To chase is to pursue someone or something. Two very different words and ones you won’t often see in the same sentence. Yet, they come together perfectly to describe a young group of men in Perth who are creating incredible music.

Atlas Chasers: A collection of different personalities, musical tastes, opinions and instruments, all chasing the same goal.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Atlas Chasers to discuss their new single, Bridges, and learn more about the relatively young band making waves in Perth. We sat in the foyer of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) building; a familiar place for the band members, who have all studied a 4-year contemporary Bachelor of Music there.

On the couch, I sat with bass player Ty Barwick and guitarists Jett Harris and Tom Purdy. However, there were some notable absences, as keyboardist and vocalist Matt Evans and drummer Drew Williamson were nowhere to be seen.

Tom let me know before we began our formal chat: “Drew couldn’t make tonight and I got a text from Matt an hour ago. He won’t be able to make it either.”

As they say, the show (or interview) must go on.

Ty discussed the formation of the band, starting through mutual benefit while studying at WAAPA. He was completing two projects – one with Tom and Jett, and one with Matt – and he explained that his project “needed a singer and [Matt’s] project needed a band. That’s how it kind of formed.”

The name of a band is crucial. Jett explained how, although their name was chosen early on, it wasn’t an easy decision.

“It took us a while to settle because we had a heap of different names.”

Tom jumped in: “average ones.”

The band’s former top pick, Rebel Love, lasted until someone used it out loud. Jett explained: “We actually thought it was an option until Tom told someone he was in Rebel Love and it didn’t sound like an appealing name.”

It didn’t work, Tom added that they needed “something we felt resonated with us – and it took a while to figure it out.”

With five members, you’d think different opinions and conflict would be common. Ty reassured me about how collaborative and understanding the band is, with reference to the production of their first single.

“The original form of Bridges was nothing like the final product and it really shows how collaborative we are.”

Jett summed it up: “We can all hear no. We can set aside our ego.”

Tom said it isn’t a hard process when they “all want the same thing – Atlas Chasers is indicative of that, we want to do this full time.”

Having performed live for about a year, the band has embraced the stage and perfected their presence. Tickets for their release party at Jack Rabbit Slims sold out and they were asked by YMCA HQ to headline for their gig last Saturday.

Like any band, problems are faced and overcome. One issue Tom described is that they “don’t really belong to any of the main Perth scenes.”

Ty added: “We have been told we fit a stadium rock sort of sound,

“Perth has its niche and we don’t fit into any of those that well. Even the big rockie guys might feel we are too soft, but we could also be seen as too heavy to others.”

While talking, it was obvious how well they all get along. The personalities, voices and words are all very different, yet their answers align. It is clear they each understand and accept how the band runs and the process their music takes. Tom described it as a “pretty typical process. Matt does a lot of the writing and vocal melodies himself and brings it in for us to work on.”

“It’s really collaborative yet we have our own roles,” Jett said.

“Someone brings in an idea and we work and build on it together,” Ty added.

Having only formed in January 2018, the release of their first single was spearheaded by the opportunity to record at no cost.

“We won a competition and got that single recorded for free by Big-Tommo Presents.”

The band did have an array of original songs to chose from but thought Bridges was their best option as a first release. Tom explained that it came down to “what do we think the largest amount of people will enjoy the most in our current repertoire? And I think Bridges was the most accurate representation of us in four minutes, so people could understand our vibe.”

Bridges premiered on 94.5fm on 7 February and the band are “currently finishing up our next single” which, as Tom enthusiastically added, “has a music video as well.”

The short-term goals include building an audience, with the band hoping to release two more singles this year, and to eventually go on a national tour.

The band’s sound is self-described as a blur of genres. Ty believes it is their differences which forms that description.

“The five of us all have very different music tastes personally, and I feel like that’s where the blend of genres comes from.”

“It took a while for us to consolidate. What was the band going to sound like and what was our identity?” Tom added.

Their upcoming single, Fadeaway, was described as a “bit darker” and a “bit heavier”. Tom believes that because “we’ve spent a lot more time on this one and the quality of the recording is going to be much better.”

Jett described Fadeaway as influential to their band’s sound. He said it was “one of the first songs we wrote as a band, so it was a song which really helped define our sound.”

The sentiment was echoed by Ty and Tom: “I think it’s probably our best received live song.”

Fadeaway is already in production and Atlas Chasers are working with Sam Cutri, who has previously worked with Tame Impala. The single is hoped to be released in the next few months.

Atlas Chasers’ premier single, Bridges, is available for streaming now on TripleJ Unearthed, Spotify and Apple Music. Catch them live on 14 April, and for more information check out their Facebook page.