Interview With Atom Band

Billy (Audioinferno):  Can you tell me about Atom Band?

Atom Band: Atom Band, as a project and not as a full band unit, goes as far back as 2011/2012. As a band we fully formed in 2014 when our lead guitarist Robert Krause and drummer Bernard Burg joined. After our formation we quickly gained momentum: played major shows with some of the most popular acts in the country, released 2 well received EP’s, received significant radio airplay and released a music video.

Our line-up consists of:

  • Vassan Nirhoo – Vocals
  • Robert Krause – Lead Guitar
  • Bernard Burg – Drums
  • Ryan di Domenico – Bass
  • Riaan Nirhoo – Rhythm Guitar

As a band, we are a multi-cultural outfit with a unique amalgamation of art-rock, post-punk, indie, garage and psychedelic rock influences.  Our live shows are often high-wire acts of balancing the melodic and more aggressive/edgier sides of our sound. Our members are versatile musicians which explain our layered approach to song writing.

Interesting facts:

  • Riaan and Vassan are brothers!
  • Drummer Bernard Burg comes all the way from Manchester, UK with connections to the 70’s Post-Punk scene. He has played in the bands such as The Distractions and has shared the stage with legendary acts like Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, A Certain Ratio, The Fall and many others!

Billy (Audioinferno):  How did you choose the name?

Atom Band: We specifically chose a name that would sound as well as look elegant on paper. We wanted to distinguish ourselves as a serious art-rock group and therefore avoid current trends in South Africa such as using catch phrases or anything that would come off as goofy. Like many international groups, there is a certain level of artistic abstraction to our band name, chosen song/album titles and lyrics. This is excluding the chosen title of our debut EP “All Liars & Thieves” which is a blatant reference to the corruption and seedy operations of our infamous South African politicians.

Billy (Audioinferno):  Let’s talk about the new EP. What’s the idea behind ‘Rabbit Season’s A Witch’?

Atom Band: Okay to give you some background on the title…. So the “Rabbit Season’s” part of the title is pretty much linked with common hunting terms… the “witch “part of the title has darker implications such as political witch hunts and we also wanted to evoke ancient pilgrim + pagan era imagery. (shameful primitive superstitious beliefs and rituals –  y’know like burning of the witch etc).

So we were quite surprised that Audio Inferno associated the EP title with Bugs Bunny cartoons in the EP review as there is no mention of witches in those Elmer Fudd + Bugs Bunny battles?

With Atom Band, nothing should be taken literally or at face value, we want you to digger deeper into our lyrics and artwork.  The EP illustrations though conceptual has sinister undertones.

Billy (Audioinferno): What was the creative process of this new EP?

Atom Band: The tracks for our second EP were pretty much fully written at the same time as our debut EP and were already performed as part of our live set lists.  So the idea for our releases were that we should first present our sweeter melodic side in our debut EP “All Liars & Thieves” and then we present our darker, edgier side with this follow-up EP. In this way the listener sonically and thematically, gets both sides of the band. Creatively, our songs usually originate with a riff or a basic rough melodic guitar line (the bones) from our Rhythm guitarist Riaan, then Robert our lead guitarist will add the flesh and meatier parts, Vassan will then present vocal ideas and melodies then we finally present the partially completed song to our rhythm section at band practice for bass (Ryan) and drums (Bernard) to complete as a fully-fledged track.

Our first EP drew influence from bands/artists such as The Smiths, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, R.E.M while our latest EP is rooted in darker post-punk territory and draws inspiration from artists like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Birthday Party, Manic Street Preaches (Holy Bible era) and Jesus & The Mary Chain

Billy (Audioinferno):  In comparison with your previous works, in what ways would you say your sound and song writing has evolved?

Atom Band: Since the tracks for the two EP’s were written at the same time I wouldn’t say that there was a clear evolution between the two releases though there is a clear distinction in the mood and sound – but we have definitely evolved post recording of “Rabbit Season’s a Witch” in terms of song writing: in our new songs we’ve adopted trickier time signatures, interesting tunings + chord choices and we’ve also gelled together more as musicians working together. Also the recording process at a professional studio has definitely made us a more disciplined, polished and tighter unit as musicians.

Billy (Audioinferno):  What has been the reception of your music been like in South Africa so far?

Atom Band: We’ve received glowing reception from well-known online music publications as well audiences and fans alike. It’s a great feeling to have your songs played on radio and have them battle it out on the charts with well-known artists in the country.

Billy (Audioinferno):  What shows have you played since the release and what shows do you have lined up in the future?

Atom Band: Our last show was a charity event where we shared the stage with popular artists like The Ceramics and Wonderboom.  No future shows planned yet, we’re busy at work writing tracks that will be included on our first full album.  We’re also working on another music video – so stay tuned!

Billy (Audioinferno):  When do we get our first album?

Atom Band: Hopefully by early or mid-2018…we assure you it will be well worth the wait! Expect some even more diverse influences, genre-mashing and boundary pushing rock n’ roll

Billy (Audioinferno):  If you could pick a song to introduce a new listener to your band what song would that be?

Atom Band: Our hit single “The Thought Fox” which we also released a music video for, is definitely a great introduction to our world.  It’s definitely a catchy indie tune but unlike many modest acts out there we’re not afraid to break out and really rock out. You can also hear us tear it up with like jet-engine like momentum and thrills with our current single “Crash Ballad” that will also get you going crazy on the dance floor.

Thanks a lot, guys.

Billy (Audioinferno): Anytime.


Billy Praise

Engineer, Quintessential Hippie, Writer, Pianist, Art Enthusiast. (If I talk about it, I'm probably about it)

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