Atarka are a crushing blackened groove-rock from Birmingham, UK. Making waves with their performance in the Birmingham leg of the Metal 2 the Masses events and latest single, Golden Snake. Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life are pleased to bring you an interview with Dan McCarthy, guitarist and founder of Atarka.
1. Can you give us a little background information about the band? How and why did it Atarka come about?
Atarka was born from a need to make the kind of music that we ourselves wanted to make. We’d been in bands before where we were taking more of a backseat when it came to songwriting, and playing music we weren’t as passionate about. Atarka started as a frustration at not being able to play music that we could fully get behind.
2. If you had to lump yourself into a sub genre, what would it be?
I don’t think we have a sub genre exactly. We have such a wide variety of influences, perhaps there is something for everyone. But then again, a metal band that poaches from too many ‘sub-genres’ might not be for everyone either.
3. Tell us a little about your M2TM journey this year. What were some of the highlights?
The biggest highlight was the fan reaction, and the sheer amount of people that showed up to see us. We had a phenomenal turnout for every show, and the fact that the initial M2TM show was our very first live performance, I think it was a little bit surprising for all of us really. People seem to be into our music and really dig our live shows – and that’s all that matters for us. Due to being on the main stage, the final allowed us to bring a bigger stage show and a larger, more dramatic performance than we would usually be afforded, which was great. The fact that it was maybe our fourth or fifth show and finding ourselves playing to a crowd of that size probably helped things too.
4. So you didn’t quite cross the finish line this time. Encouragement to try again next year?
It’s not something we’re thinking about. You should never say never, but we’re focused on Atarka as a whole as opposed to one particular run of shows and right now that sees us fully road testing the band in the UK and Europe as soon as the album is ready for release.
5. What’s the Atarka goal? Biggest and best in the world? Carve out a nice niche for yourselves? Or just glad to see someone wearing your tee?
All of those things would be great, but the main goal is to make music that we, and our fans can relate to and enjoy.
6. You’re part of the modern class of bands that have come into existence during the social media/streaming music age. Helping or hindering you as a band?
It’s definitely helping. It’s a great time to be in the internet age for music, in terms of gaining exposure. In 2009 you didn’t have this level of platforms, streaming tools or social media that you we have in 2019. For example, our Spotify metrics, combined with monthly reports from our distribution guys at PlasticHead have let us know we have listeners in Guatemala, Indonesia, Russia, Japan and all of these territories that we’d never dream of people being able to listen to our music. I don’t think we’d have been able to reach these places 10 years ago.
7. If you could play alongside one band in the world. Who would it be?
It’s hard to pick just one. Playing with Gojira or Mastodon would be one for the bucket list. However my favourite band at the moment is this really aggressive midlands outfit called Creature, and we played their first headline show with them not too long ago, which was great as I’m a big fan personally.
8. What does the rest of 2019 look like for Atarka?
Recording the final couple of tracks for the Sleeping Giant record, arranging pressing, more merchandise, and shooting another two music videos in time for a pretty aggressive PR Campaign in January. We may play the odd show here and there, but there’s a lot of work to be done that’s not directly related to the music in time for when we announce our first tour.