With a name like The Black Atlas, you sense of bit a darkness to the music but in reality their music is quite inspiring and ambient. If you listen to their recent single “MoonSong,” you can tell that this band is very different from all the others. The Black Atlas starts off on an ambient trip and slowly transforms into an interesting world that is full of ominous tones and sultry sounds.
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We spoke to Pete Koronio about how Black Atlas started and our favorite whiskey.
PW – Listening to your song “Moonsong” and it’s very ambient but dark. How has your music evolved since you first began playing music?
PK – I started off playing in concert bands and marching bands. I think my first band was this strange mix of punk rock, radio rock, and metal. I was a drummer then, and a lot has changed just in the fact that I write mostly on guitar now. I think I’ve finally found a voice, or a particular sound, that I can experiment with and test the boundaries of, while still maintaining that distinct and highly personal style. That takes the most time, I think, but I’m going to continue to push it to evolve and challenge myself to exist where I’m not initially comfortable.
You also recently played at McKittrick Hotel, I think it fit perfectly well with the band’s persona, how did it feel to play there?
It was a really great experience for everyone involved. Jack, who runs the programming, has a way of making you feel like it’s your night, and you should be totally comfortable. I think that’s a huge contributing reason for the success of the programming there in the past few months. Performers working with performers, and everyone there knows what you’re going through and what it’s like to perform. There’s a lot of help and mutual respect, regardless of whether or not you’re a national act. It was definitely a special night.
How did you come about with your band name?
I was walking around Reykjavik, Iceland wondering what the fuck I was going to call this project, now that I had actually recorded some stuff. It dawned on me that, creatively speaking, I’m sort of laying out what Joseph Campbell would have called, a “personal mythology.” The songs are sort of abbreviated myths- Stories I tell myself, about myself. The mythological Atlas is a figure from early Greek literature that I always related to. I think I’m just going to start telling people I picked it out of a hat.
When did you realize you wanted to get into music?
The last and final time for me was about two years ago maybe, after taking an indefinite hiatus from music, and realizing it felt like I had cut an arm off. I felt like I had to get back to it, but this time I had to do my own work, my own way. So I bought and borrowed a bunch of shitty gear and started writing a bunch of shitty songs. Even though I’m a little further along than when I started, it’s not an easy road. I wake up every day and consciously decide to be a musician.
Most surreal experience you’ve gone through at a show or as a band in general?
Doing a live recording of my live show with my live band at Cove City Sound Studios was something I’ll never forget. The people involved, the timing, the studio, the sound. It was a perfect storm of awesomeness. It’s an incredible studio, and there was a lot of love going around the room. It’s also some of the strongest stuff I’ve put on record to date.
And finally, do you have a favorite whiskey drink?
I abstain these days, but I’ve tended bar for a few years, and in my heyday I’d go for a Sazerac. Absinthe rinse, muddled bar sugar with Peychaud bitters – I take em heavy- three ounces Rye Whisky (Templeton my choice) and a lemon twist garnish. The Rum House at The Edison Hotel used to make a decent one.
Article: Karen Silva