Atom WillardTotal Treble Music
By Shelby Monita on September 6th, 2015 at Phone
Against Me! are almost at the end of a two year tour and have just released a live album, 23 Live Sex Acts. We caught up with drummer Atom Willard to see how the band has been holding up over the course of their never ending tour schedule.
Shelby Monita: How has the tour been going?
Atom Willard: The tour really is like two years long so it’s been really good. Played a lot of shows, it’s been fun. We enjoy playing live, it’s a really good outlet, something that we really want to continue doing. It gets to a point where you do want to take a break, but then we’re going to play this show and it’s going to be awesome! And it is, and you’re still ready to take a break.
SM: How long are you home for?
AW: I guess we go to Chicago on Thursday, then I’m back home for a few days, then Toronto, then back home for a couple days and it’s kind of on and off like that for the rest of the year.
SM: The band just put out a live album, why did you decide to do that now in your career?
AW: You know I think it was just an opportunity to take a snap shot of what the band is now and what the band is doing. You know the band has been through a lot of changes in the past 4 years and this is a good time to stop and I don’t want to say reflect, but let’s acknowledge what this is right now. We’re all having a really good time with it and it’s going really well and it’s fun and we’re playing great shows. It was just time, you know?
SM: You’ve traveled all over the world with many different bands, so where is the best place to get pizza?
AW: I don’t know I don’t eat pizza. I’m lactose intolerant.
SM: Ugh no! I’m sorry!
AW: I know, it’s the worse. Ok, I will say this we were just in Hamburg and had several days off. There was this place called… I want to say Slim Jim’s pizza in Hamburg (writer’s note: this is correct. I looked into it for you guys) and that looked awesome. I didn’t have it, but both James and Laura had it for a couple days in a row and they were like raving about it. So I’m going to go with that and that’s my final answer.
SM: Okay that sounds like a good one. How does being in Against Me! differ from all the other bands you’ve been in?
AW: Well you know it’s completely the same and completely different, you know what I mean. It’s like okay I’m in a band and a band has so many members but there’s so many details and so many small nuances that make every group of people individual and different. You know, so yeah I love playing shows and having a good time with all the bands I’ve played with; but at the same time this is really unique and different to me, it’s almost like a homecoming to me. I’m from a punk rock and Gen Y background and you know ventured into the other side and played with big bands that are much more on a mainstream level and it’s actually really kind of a great thing to be back in the company I feel most comfortable and to be playing with Laura and James who have been doing this for so long and to be able to bring energy and life to the show and the group as a whole, I think we all feed off each other, it’s a way for us to make the absolute best use of our time together. It’s different because we’re all on the same page, we’re all on the same team, we’re all kind of heading towards the same goal and there are no questions about it.
SM: That sounds really nice!
AW: Yeah, there’s no complaints there.
SM: Do you remember the first band that got you into punk rock?
AW: I guess it was Minor Threat. I was in a car with some friends, we were going skateboarding and you know I was like 14, so you had to get a ride from whoever you could get a ride from. So this older dude gave us all a ride to the skate spot and Minor Threat was playing. I was listening to heavy metal stuff, that was kind of my thing up until that point, Motley Crue, Van Halen, Rush, cus’ I’m a drummer and this kind of stuff. That was my first thing, then it was like oh this is Black Flag and Subhumans, The Exploited those were all the bands that kind of kicked it off for me I guess. But I didn’t really truly embrace it until I got a hold of Fugazi. Then it was just over for me that was all I listened to for two years straight.
SM: So then how did you get into drumming?
AW: Well I’ve been drumming my whole life. I got my first drum set when I was four, so that was just always there. And you know I think that was one of the things that made punk rock not as interesting to me at first, it wasn’t technically exciting, you just drum fast. With Rush or even Van Halen or Motley Crue, that stuff, the drums are produced really well and it sounds good, drums sounds awesome and that was always such a big thing for me. So it took me awhile to disregard that kind of stuff and just give into punk
SM: What bands are you really into right now?
AW: Right now I mean there’s nothing exciting, there’s nothing new. You know what I mean it’s all the old things. I listen to a wide variety of things, but there’s nothing that’s really exciting. But also, I don’t hear everything. There is a band called Toy Guitar playing that are really good… I’m just a victim of old habits.
SM: Seems like a lot of people are these days. I’ve been asking that question a lot. So what is next for Against Me! After the tour?
AW: After we finish up the shows in September we’re basically are going to go right into the studio and start recording our next record. We’ve been writing songs this whole time we’ve been on tour, and so it’s not premature to go into the studio. We’re ready to go, got a bunch of different ideas.
SM: Thank you so much taking your time to do this today.
AW: No problem!