The recent Atlas Entity album is a legitimate masterpiece that needs more waves in the media. I had some questions for band mastermind Alex Gallegos who fortunately gave us some stellar answers. Enjoy the interview and check out the latest progressive death metal opus at the link above!
TMR: What did you want to do this time around in comparison to the debut album?
When I first started writing Beneath the Cosmic Silence, I wanted to try a more laid-back approach to Atlas Entity. Enceladus had a heavy focus on speed and technicality – and while those aspects certainly exist on Beneath the Cosmic Silence, I also wanted to slow it down a bit and add in some acoustic guitars, while still remaining progressive and heavy. When I was writing Beneath the Cosmic Silence, I was listening to a lot of black metal/folk metal– especially bands like Falls of Rauros, Agalloch, and Celephaïs. If you know any of those bands I’m sure you can see where the inspiration shines through.
TMR: What was it like working with Samus? We all know he’s an accomplished death metal drummer and really enhanced your sound!
Samus is great to work with! He’s extremely nice, professional, and always delivers a great product. I really can’t say enough about him! He’s a world-class drummer and I’m extremely lucky to have him play drums on Beneath the Cosmic Silence. Hopefully we can work together again on the next one.
TMR: Do you think you’d get a band together for shows or is it strictly studio based?
For the time being, Atlas Entity is only a studio project. However, there’s a possibility that I’ll eventually get a group together to play live. It may be a few years down the line but I’m absolutely getting the itch to play live again.
TMR: What influenced the project name Atlas Entity and what does it mean to you?
The Atlas Entity is a planet-devouring cosmic being which is first introduced in the Enceladus EP. I wrote Enceladus with the intention of making it into a 3-part concept series about a group of space explorers that land a manned mission on Saturn’s moon Enceladus and (unfortunately) find sentient life below the frozen surface. The first EP scratches the surface of the story and the next two Eps will continue the saga. You can see an awesome depiction of the Atlas Entity on the shirt design in the merch shop!
TMR: Pick one favorite song from “Beneath the Cosmic Silence”. Why is it your favorite and what is it meaning and value to you?
In the Shadow of the Mountain, part 1! Or Windswept. In the Shadow of the Mountain, part 1, was the first song I wrote when I began working on the full length, so any time I listen to it I’m brought back to the roots of the album and where I was 4 years ago. A lot has happened in that time frame so it’s an interesting was to look back and reflect on how Atlas Entity and I, personally, have grown. I’d also say that Windswept is another one of my favorites because it’s kind of an out-of-left-field song for Atlas Entity. It features mainly acoustic and clean vocals – a huge contrast from earlier songs on Enceladus. Windswept also brings me back to a very specific time and place I was at during one of my trips, so it means a lot for me personally.
TMR: The artwork is super cool! Who did it and what influenced it?
Thank you! I actually did the artwork. All the art on Beneath the Cosmic Silence is from photos I’ve taken throughout my travels through the western US. I’ve always been drawn to the mountains and the red rocks in the west and when I finally got to see them with my own eyes, they really left a lasting impression. I hike as often as I can and I’m definitely a nature-loving person, so this album almost serves as my love letter to nature and the stories and mysteries that stick with us.
TMR: What do you listen to these days? Anything new you’ve discovered recently?
I’m always on the lookout for new bands and so recently I’ve been listening to these awesome bands and albums on heavy rotation: Wide Eyes – Paradoxica, The Omnific – The Mind’s Eye, Obscura – Diluvium, Andy James – Arrival, Devin Townsend – Empath, and (wild card, also not new) Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime.
TMR: What influenced the formation of Atlas Entity? What motivated you to start the project and keep it going?
Atlas Entity was formed when my last band split up for reasons I won’t get into here. Essentially I had a few songs leftover from that band that never really saw the light of day, so I put them together, recorded them, and ended up with Enceladus. My motivation to keep going is purely to just create. I feel an innate desire to play and write music, so that’s what I’ll keep on doing.
TMR: Whether you play shows or not, most groups these days have a rough go of things financially. What’s your opinion on the recent attempts to try to give musicians the money they deserve? Some streaming services are trying to increase profit, and of course Bandcamp is a huge source of income.
I think it’s great. The world is constantly changing and evolving, and so are the ways of purchasing music and art. There’s new bands popping up and new music coming out every day, so bands and artists need to do whatever they can to get themselves out there to be successful. This especially applies to Atlas Entity, where I have not played a single show yet. All our revenue comes solely from online purchases and services, so I am definitely grateful for platforms like Bandcamp, iTunes and Spotify, most notably.
TMR: Music theory is subjective, some artists tend to rely on it more than others. I think it’s important to songwriting and to create ideas, but some artists rely on it too heavily or not as much. Where do you lie in that aspect of music? Do you think it tremendously helps songwriting and structure? Do you need to be a brilliant theory student to be a great songwriter?
While I think that music theory is not necessary to write good music, I do think that it absolutely can help with songwriting and structure. I personally am not too proficient in music theory, so I mainly rely on just what sounds good to me. I do see the benefits of learning the ins and outs of music theory and I definitely intend to learn more about it as I progress, but I would say that no, you don’t need to be a brilliant theory student to be a great songwriter.
TMR: List your favorite bands of all time and of modern times.
Here’s just a few unless you want my whole library list: Between the Buried and Me, Opeth, Rush, Alcest, Iron Maiden, Archspire, Celephaïs, Plini, Ozzy, Ihsahn, Unreqvited, Rivers of Nihil, Hannes Grossmann, Obscura, Ne Obliviscaris, Wide Eyes, Decrepit Birth, Inferi, Katatonia, and a lot more.
TMR: What single tour are you excited to check out? There’s a ton lined up for 2019 already!
Ya know, I’m not aware of all the concerts coming around this year, but I’m really looking forward to seeing Amorphis. They’ve been around forever but somehow I’ve just recently gotten into them and the last time they came around I didn’t get a chance to see them. Either way, 2019 has been an amazing year for metal music!
I’d like to say thanks for having me and thanks to everyone who’s purchased or listened to Atlas Entity. Atlas Entity is my labor of love and I while it may take a bit of time between releases, I intend to keep writing and putting new music out there. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.