Interview: Atomic Agent (Written)

Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life bring you an interview with hard goth rock band/solo project, Atomic Agent.

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1. Hello! Thank you for taking the time to chat to us. First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started.

Hi, there! I go by the stage name Al Aston, and I run a band/project called Atomic Agent. For the time being I handle all the vocals and the instruments myself, plus everything else from artwork to music production.

A few years back I got this idea of a great Goth Rock song in the vein of The Sisters Of Mercy. It felt so strong and tempting, I needed to try it out even though I had never sung before. At first almost all of the instruments were played using virtual instruments, but as the songs started piling up and I gained more confidence, I started using more and more real instruments.

I’ve been running a certain metal band for years with band members, recording music and doing gigs, but so far this has been a whole another adventure. While doing things solo you have the utmost liberty of making decisions, but on the other hand sometimes a second opinion would be helpful too like when you had band members around you. Anyway I wrote a huge pile of songs before I was sure the material would finally stand on its feet. So fast forward to the end of last year, I finally released the first official single and the debut album.

2. Someone comes to you and asks you to sum up what kind of music you play – what do you tell them?

Since I had evolved a lot from that first The Sisters Of Mercy type song, I didn’t feel comfortable just calling it plain Goth Rock. There were so many influences and since the style of play is sometimes quite heavy and there’s a lot of guitar solos, I realized it was actually Hard Goth Rock, and I couldn’t find too many other acts doing this kind of thing.

3. What’s currently going on in your camp? New releases? Tours? Etc.

No live stuff as of yet as I’m frantically trying to assemble a live line-up, but we’ll see. I’m writing more new music though and there is a nice collaboration thing with another Finnish artist in the near future. And if we’re speaking what’s going on right at this moment, I’m suffering from a lung infection, so as I much as I’d want to, I’m not allowed to do any singing for a while. That really bugs me, I really hope I can continue with singing soon.

4. What has been the most positive experience of making music to date for you?

To find out how much there is to learn and reach if you just work hard. With Atomic Agent I’ve been able to challenge myself in ways unlike before, but with the metal band I enjoy making things together with my trusted band mates.

5. Likewise, what has been some of the more challenging aspects and how have you overcome them?

The other side of the coin doing a solo thing is that you alone with everything. Making artwork and videos I do enjoy a lot, but to be honest I’ve never been much of marketer, and especially as a newcomer you need shit loads of promotion to get your name in places. Also financing your musical endeavours is a lot more costly when you don’t have bandmates to share the costs with you. When it comes to marketing and promoting… well with the first one I’ve just had to take the bull by the horns and learn that crap, and for promotion I’ve struck a deal with a PR agency.

6. How do you handle the modern expectations of being in a band? Always online, having to put out content constantly, your success measured in likes and follows?

There are always expectations of being in a band, but I have to admit I really don’t enjoy trying to push out new content all the time as I hate social media platforms. They just eat away your brain capacity, alienate you from real life with your real friends and eventually, probably eat away your soul too.

I will be never “always online” or crap like that, so people will just have to deal with it. Atomic Agent and getting some name for it is super important to me, but I also want to enjoy the other aspects of life in order to keep enjoying making music for Atomic Agent. So if Atomic Agent gets enough wind under its wings, maybe there will be someone else handling the social media and I can fully concentrate on music.



7. What’s something that really ‘grinds your gears’ about the industry/business these days and what would you propose is done to combat it?

How greedy Spotify and most of the other digital streaming platforms can be, and secondly how some venues have started insisting on having a cut from artists’ merch sales if you sell your merch in their premises on gigs even when the artists handle the selling themselves without any help from the venue staff.

I’d be a wise man to give a solution to these problems, but I’m just a guy making music. But maybe I’d rather have people downloading music from illegal sites than pouring it straight into Daniel Ek’s or some other assholes’ bottomless pockets (Go away Lars Ulrich, nothing for you to see here). Seriously, buy physical albums!

8. Speaking directly to listeners – what would you ask they do to help support your music?

I’d rather speak for all the smaller artists. Go to their concerts, buy some physical copies and especially buy their merchandise. The pathetic amount of money coming from streaming platforms is peanuts.

9. Outside of the music, what’s do you do to relax?

I have long walks with my husky/wolf hound mix, play floorball, watch the Premier League football (Up the Villa!) and renovate my old timber house in the countryside. I do watch some TV series too, and enjoy having a glass of good wine or Scottish single malt.

10. Where can people find you?

Here’s a few links:

Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | ReverbNation


  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!