On April 22nd we conducted an interview with Gilson Heitinga, a man behind the project ATLANTIS. This metal, doom, noise, electronica and rock hybrid and its recent EP caught our attention, so here’s the result of our quick chat.
Hey, Gilson. Cool to have another “different” project broadening our tag cloud a little bit. How are you man? Please introduce yourself and tell our readers something about this strange music you make [laughs].
Hi, thanks for having me. I’m doing fine thanks, just finished our last tour a week ago, so had a little bit of a post tour dip. Well I’m from Utrecht, which is a city in the center of the Netherlands. And I write music under the name ATLANTIS. The music comes from all my influences, which are a lot… maybe to much [laughs]
What were the beginnings of ATLANTIS? We know that officially it’s only you behind it, but I bet there were more people around the project at the beginning. Have you always been a one man army? Also, to expand the question, what’s your music background? Have you played in other bands prior to your current project?
Well, I just started composing music as a freelancer, and I was asked to write music for this short film/documentary about the ancient story about Atlantis. Unfortunately that project got canceled, so I got stuck with a lot of music/soundscapes that to me sounded cool, but were not really songs. I decided to record guitars and program drums and beats on top of those pieces, and they sounded cool enough for me to just put them online to see what would happen. There were really no other people involved on the first record. To answer your second question; I played in several heavy noise based bands, nothing to serious, just playing local shows. The last band I was in, was Diabolical Audio-Marriage, I still miss that band.
You’ve released “Carpe Omnium” through Field-Records from the UK. How do you distribute your music nowadays? How did music distribution methods changed between 2006 and 2012 from your perspective?
Well, Field-Records also released my second full length ”Mistress Of Ghosts” and they are really supportive, and still release records of great bands. But I do see that music distribution has changed in the past six years, and it continues to change every day, there is no ‘right formula’ anymore… It’s really great that there still are independent recordlables that release albums, and I know that they are losing money, cause nowadays you’ve got Spottily etc… It’s good that companies like Spotify are here, and that the whole sharing community exists, but it’s also more difficult I believe to get your music heard. You really have to tour more as an artist, which i think is a good thing as I love touring. So I think it’s more in control and the responsibility of the artist to take their music into the direction and distribution they are comfortable with. That being said, it stays important to support the independent recordables, without them everything will be a lot harder!
Ok, you’ve just released your “La Petite Mort” EP. What’s the leitmotiv of the outing?
There wasn’t really a ‘concept’ this time, just different moments in that past 8-9 months I guess that made me develop these songs. It’s definitely a heavier record than the previous full length. Especially the song ‘Esther’ carries a lot of weight for me personally.
You did some collaborations on the record. Tell us about the people that helped you to record this joint. Could you share some details of your cooperation with Johannes Persson from CULT OF LUNA?
I collaborated with Marijn Slot and Samir Boureghda (from the ATLANTIS live band) with the recording of bass guitar parts on the song ‘Everest”, and with Gido Leijtens (who’s also in the live band) who recorded the second lead on ‘Everest’.
As the song ‘Esther’ developed, I was noticing I really wanted to have a certain kind of vocals on top of it. I had the lyrics in my head, and could hear them towards the end of the song. As Johannes has just that type of vocals I was hearing, I sent him an email asking if he was interested in a collaboration. And I”m really happy he did, he did a great job!
How many shows have you played so far? Who’s helping you out on stage? By the way, what’s the relation between you doing your one man project and the live band? Are they just performers?
I really can’t remember how many shows we’ve done so far, but it has been a lot! We played and toured very steadily since our first show. The live band started out as I was asked to perform at the Incubate festival in my old home town Tilburg… but I didn’t have a band, and to me this kind of music can’t be played live with me and a laptop. So I asked a group of friends who I knew separate from each other to back me up for that one show. That show was pretty awesome, and a couple of days later we we’re asked to play in London,… so we decided to keep the live band, and do shows. (originally I just planned to do one show). I don’t see them just as performers, without them I couldn’t do it live and the way they play the songs live, adding their own style, really takes the music to a new level.
How many shows are you planning on playing this year?
For the rest of the year are some one off shows planned, maybe a short tour… but we’ll have to see if it will fit in all of our sceduals time wise. I can’t wait to go back on tour to be honest!
Any plans for the next release?
I’m going to start writing songs in the summer, and hopefully have a release somewhere in the spring of 2013.
Are you a busy man? How much of your time do you spend around the project?
Well I’m pretty busy with my own company, writing music for commercials, film etc… and the free time I have goes into Atlantis, emailing, booking shows etc… But I want a booker, because it’s getting to much for me alone to handle.
Thanks! Good luck with ATLANTIS. Feel free to add anything you want.
Thanks for having me, and please visit our Facebook www.facebook.com/atlantisrocks and our bandcamp atlantis.bandcamp.com where you can listen and buy all our releases.