I love when new music hits my inbox. When Brisbane’s The Atomic Beau Project’s latest single ‘Cellar Door’ landed in it I got very excited. Describing themselves as a progressive rock band, I think there is way more to this band than that and if you haven’t heard of them then go and get yourself acquainted really quickly.
Andy and Beau sat down with me recently to chat about the how the band came to be, their new single and we discussed where they sit in the music genre label. They were also very patient answering all the questions I had about the new video for their latest single ‘Cellar Door’
How did the Atomic Beau Project begin?
Andy: We are a four piece band from Brisbane. We started off a couple of years ago as a solo project of mine and Beau’s. It started off as a studio thing, almost like a side project for us because we have always been keen to do a prog/metal fusion kind of thing. So we started off on our own and at the time we were pretty poor uni students. When you look at the cost of hiring recording studios, engineering, mixing and mastering it actually becomes pretty costly. We had the idea of doing this really cool project but to fund it, it just wasn’t possible. We ended up teaching ourselves how to do pretty much everything. We already played the instruments, but it was learning how to mix and master you stuff and recording techniques. The first couple of years we recorded a few songs while we were learning how to do this stuff. So it has always been a little bit DIY with us. We really like this idea of doing stuff yourself. It’s rewarding creatively to do that and your not limited to studio times, you can go back and change ideas. You can be as creative as you want and that’s been something that has stuck around over the years.
This year we expanded the project to a full band. We added a full time guitarist and bassist and they have jumped on the song writing process as well. We still have kept that DIY element to the project with everything that we do.
A lot of the music we write I guess is very much sci-fi horror themed stuff. We get a lot of inspiration from literature. When we first started out we were actually part of this online community called SCP, basically it is almost like a fan fiction scene and they write stories about this fictional organisation. It’s a massive online community and when we first started we drew a lot of inspiration from the literature that was out there and these stories that people where putting out into the world. A lot of our fan base has actually come out of that community and its only really been this year that we have started moving out more into the mainstream.
I’ve been a bit obsessed with ‘Cellar Door’ since it dropped, and I have watched the video so many times.
Beau: Thank you
Andy: There has been a bit of progression in our music, we started off as prog/rock really and then each track we release we try to do something a little bit different and stretch out into other genres a bit more. ‘Cellar Door’ in particular we really wanted to incorporate a bit of electronic and industrial stuff while still keeping that heavy sound to it.
Beau: We don’t really want to lock ourselves into any one thing. We have a plan if we do an album or EP next that each song will have a different flavour. It’s important to our music.
I love that
Beau: Thank you. Some people don’t like it, and some do. The four of us have had different backgrounds. I’m a classical violinist by trade so I’m obviously going to bring some of my training in and Andy has gone to the Conservatory before for drums, so he has his training.
Andy: A lot of the artists that we look up to and listen to are doing that, the boundaries between genres are becoming more blurred. The biggest problem with that is trying to explain what you do. Sometimes people like to pigeon hole you. I don’t know what genre we are when people ask us I guess progressive metal. But even then we have had people say we don’t sound prog metal. It’s really hard.
It’s taking that metal and doing something different with it.
Andy: I guess by definition its progressive music.
Beau: You always get the odd person on Facebook who says ‘Oh you guys aren’t that’
There seems to be a few of them around! In saying that people are becoming more accepting of blurred genres now.
Andy: For sure. I think even pop music is starting to change the way they do things now. Billie Eilish is probably a pretty good example of that. We want to be free to do our music the way we want to do it. I think doing the whole process ourselves frees us up to do that.
Definitely. And you don’t have someone trying to change your mind about stuff too
What is the story behind ‘Cellar Door’?
Andy: The story behind Cellar Door. This was an interesting one. I used to have this conversation with Beau about song writing. Sometimes songwriters talk about the song and how deep and meaningful it is. Sometimes songs are written because you think it’s a cool topic.
Beau: It was very imaginative I think. It was a concept that we came up with. So we were chatting, and I think we had watched a fair bit of Game of Thrones and few different shows at that time. One night we were sitting down to write, and we just came up with this thing being under someone’s cellar door and it was basically going to take your soul out and ruin you. It kind of came from that. Just freaking each other out a bit to be honest. It didn’t have a deep meaning as such it was more we just found ourselves in this place of pure imagination.
Andy: Yes spot on. So its not a personal experience, we don’t have our cellar door that we go down and drag people into!
Beau: Next minute the police are here Andy!
Andy: With this band we always try to be creative as possible and kind of make up as much stuff as we can. We use our imaginations as much as possible. With this story in particular we just went wild with the idea.
Beau: We just let it flow out really and I think this was the main one that I wrote. Andy mainly wrote the other songs but lyrically I really focused in on this one. We just kept throwing around that idea that something was down there, and it was not good.
I love the film clip, it’s just so good
Beau: Thank you. Andy edited the whole thing himself. He’s got a friend in Gympie, so we went up to the bush around there and he filmed it all and sent Andy all the footage. He then edited it all at home, so it was pretty cool. It was a big job though, it took weeks.
Andy: Yeah I don’t know if I will do that again!
Beau: Yeah it was stressful.
Its had nearly 3k views.
Andy: Yeah people are really loving it at the moment. We’ve only done one other clip but it’s the first big production clip that we have done. It has been really cool.
I have a question about it though!! The eyes on the ground? What is the significance of them?
Andy: Do you want to take this one Beau?
Beau: I don’t know if you have seen Game of Thrones, or even in medieval times, but when there is a death they often would have the body out and they would cover the eyes with rocks. It was basically a symbolism for death. So I poisoned my minions and then poisoned myself and the eyes are significant to death and dying. Instead of putting them over our eyes we wanted to really use them as a symbol instead.
Andy: It’s like facing death with your eyes open rather than with your eyes closed.
Everything else in the clip is dark with the red colourings and then there are these eyes with the blue colouring.
Andy: I’m glad you picked that up actually because it’s the last thing in the whole clip.
I was like why are there blue eyes on the ground????
Beau: That’s cool. You are the first person to mention it which is really awesome because nobody else has picked up on it.
I think it was that whole colour change from the colour scheme of the clip that made them catch my eye. The rest of the film clip is related together and then there was this random, well not random, but there was a change to the clip. Beau being in the red and the others all in white. The blue stood out.
Andy: Yeah for sure. We try to use a lot of metaphor and symbolism in our stuff. Even like I was saying before, even though we have quite a big sci-fi horror element to our stuff we try to make it so that you can interpret things in multiple ways. A lot of the stuff can almost be psychological you know. The experiences of the people in the songs that we write, on the surface it’s the sci-fi thing but there can also be the psychological element.
So the face masks on the guys. Is there a specific reason for that?
I’m going to pick apart this video now!!!
Andy: We actually had this other idea. One of the other symbolic things is power. You know in the music industry, or any kind of industry, you hear about the male power figure and the manipulation they sometimes do to people around them. We kind of wanted to do a little reversal with this so the woman is in charge this time and the faceless guys are the ones nobody really pays much attention too. They are just there to do whatever the person in power wants them to do. So we wanted to flip that a bit around on its head.
Beau: Let the woman be the dominator in the scenario.
That’s what I thought your answer was going to be, but I wanted to check!
Beau: No that’s good
Andy: That’s what I mean, we sometimes have multiple interpretations of things in our songs.
Beau: We are kind of reluctant in interviews to say what we envisioned because then it puts an idea in peoples minds that that is what it is. People have come up with so many different ideas and we don’t want to tell them that it is right or wrong. But I think you have already got it which is totally fine. I’m really careful of not really putting ideas into peoples heads.
I totally understand that.
So do we have more tunes on the way from you guys?
Andy: We have already started writing an EP
Beau: Our first album
Andy: We have just been grinding and recording, trying to do things as much as we can online during Covid.
Getting that online presence and building a bigger fan base
Andy: For sure. People want to be distracted too and have something else to focus on instead of the US elections and corona. Let’s just listen to some cool tunes and watch some clips.
That’s basically my last 6 months in a nutshell!
Andy: Hopefully we will start doing some gigs next year, potentially January or February.
Beau: We have only ever done one live gig as a band, so we have been rehearsing but just not had the opportunity to really spread our wings. We also got added to high rotation on Triple J Unearthed and we also got played on Triple J which was crazy. At the moment we are just getting into EP mode and still promoting ourselves.
If you haven’t had a listen to ‘Cellar Door’ or watched the video clip I highly suggest you make time today to check out both. I think we are going to see some big things from The Atomic Beau Project over the next 12 months so hit up their socials and stay up to date.