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Atlas

Bio

Open an atlas and you’ll find reasons for voyaging. Listen to
Atlas and you won’t want to leave.

Christchurch rock band Atlas make their gutsy debut with their original single, 'Is This Real?'

Written by Atlas mastermind Ben Campbell, (formerly of Zed) and frontman Sean Cunningham, it’s a gritty, honest account of finding yourself, set to epic rock guitars.

“Waking up in the afternoon/and it’s driving me insane/give me something I can hold onto/give me more than I can take.”

“It’s a song about becoming a man, and not having enough structure in life,” Ben explains, “not having the reasons to get up and do things.”

The track was recorded in Christchurch by Elements Music and mixed at Neil Finn’s studio in Auckland.

And it’s a promising sign of things to come from the band who plan to release their debut album, 'Reasons For Voyaging', later this year.

Ben experienced his own reasons to voyage after nine hugely successful years as bass player for Zed. The band enjoyed multi-platinum album sales, toured the world and even partied with Robbie Williams and Coldplay.

But their split opened up a range of exciting opportunities. On Ben's return to Christchurch, he set up his own label, Elements Music.

One of the label’s early priorities was Ben’s sister, singer, songwriter and guitarist Beth Campbell. A talented musician in her own right, Beth had performed as back-up singer for members of legendary American rock bands Chicago and the Beach Boys while still in her teens, and represented her country in a barbershop quartet named the best in the world. She also sang on the live album by Chicago frontman Robert Lamm.

The plan was to record Beth’s solo album in Los Angeles with renowned producer Hank Linderman. But it was through Linderman they met future Atlas frontman, singer-songwriter Sean Cunningham.

A Kentucky boy who’d embraced the LA lifestyle, Sean had an equally impressive musical upbringing. As a teenager, he performed before the US presidential inauguration and embarked on a paid tour of Europe. Later he spent six months in the country music mecca, Nashville, Tennessee. At 18, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a solo career.

Their meeting was a fateful moment.

“We just clicked," recalls Sean. "We wrote a few songs together, had a good time hanging out, spent some time at Venice Beach… it was wicked.”

Although forming a band wasn’t initially on their minds, the trio knew it was meant to be. Ben and Beth were so convinced, they scrapped plans for Beth’s solo album and convinced Sean to move to the other side of the world to form a band proper.

“It’s nice, this is so much quieter,” says Sean, a self-confessed city boy who doesn’t need a disco to break into dance. “The quaintness of Christchurch is very comfortable. I love it.”

Atlas didn’t have to look far for a drummer. Adrian Palmer, also of Zed fame, was soon on board, as was his girlfriend, bass player Ally Mcfedries , who had cut her teeth playing in band-about-town, Satellite.

Atlas’ newest recruit, Motueka-bred guitarist Moses Emmanuel, also an accomplished songwriter and drummer, met Ben at a barbecue, and they’ve been jamming ever since.

Atlas was born, and with it, the accolade of being, quite possibly, the country’s best-tressed band - each member of Atlas has a stunning head of hair.

But while the music and style came easy, the name did not. It wasn’t until Ben’s girlfriend gave him an atlas of modern architecture, the pin dropped.

"Atlas" couldn’t be more appropriate.

“We’re a UN kind of band,” quips Adrian. “We’re Asian, (Ally is half-Chinese) we’re Maori, (Moses) we’re American, (Sean) we’re Australian, (Ben was born there) and I’m Austrian.”

Atlas’ music is just as diverse, encompassing a broad palette of rock, pop and folk, a testament to their varying tastes. Whether they grew up listening to the Beatles or Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson or the Sex Pistols, if there’s one thing Atlas agrees on, it’s the strength of a good melody.

“We’ve written most of songs based on three acoustic guitars and three vocal parts,” says Beth. “It’s all built around harmonies, melodies and hooks.”

There has been plenty of time to hone their songwriting. Ben, Sean and Moses live together in a beautifully restored villa in Christchurch, affectionately nicknamed, 34dub. And it’s there, sitting around the fire having a few beers, or laxing out in the jungle-like surroundings, they’ve pulled out the guitars for countless singalongs and writing sessions.

34dub also boasts a studio, perfect for those random moments of inspiration, and one frisky Border Collie pup named Charlie. That’s not to say the writing process is all fun and games. There’s an underlying angst in many of Atlas’ songs, says Ben, “because we’ve been through a lot”.

“Ben and I have experienced in the last year-and-a-half the biggest tragedy of our lives,” Beth explains. “We lost our dad, our mentor. I started off on my dad’s lap singing Beatles songs and stuff. He was really musical so he breathed that into us. So a lot of the music was written really soon after dad’s death. A lot of it is somehow really relevant to that. We put a lot of a time into our lyrics. We try to keep it really organic and real to us.

“We’ve learned that through Ben. We’re doing it our way. There are some love songs but most of our music is about life and death, people in your life, communication and all of the those aspects of life.”

Band Members:
Ben Campbell (guitar, vocals)
Beth Campbell (vocals, guitar)
Sean Cunningham (vocals, guitar)
Adrian Palmer (drums)
Moses Emmanuel (guitar, vocals)
Ally McFedries (bass)

Releases

Genres

Location

  • Christchurch

Best Chart Placings



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Reviews / Interviews

Comments (Newest First)

Shade
muzic.net.nz Admin

Joined: 17/07/02
Posts: 5683
Location: Manawatu
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Atlas - double the reason for celebrating
Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:22 pm
Christchurch band Atlas has double the reason for celebration today with their debut album, Reasons For Voyaging, crashing into the New Zealand album chart at an incredible #4, achieving GOLD status in the process.

It’s already been quite a year for the band, and their Christchurch based label Elements Music, having already scooped the NZ Music Award for ‘Crawl’ becoming 2007’s ‘Highest Selling Single’ in New Zealand. Now their debut album, Reasons For Voyaging, featuring ‘Is This Real’, ’Crawl’, and ‘Magic 8’ looks set to follow suit in 2008.

Never one’s to rest on their laurels Atlas are currently busy limbering up for their major up’n’coming nationwide summer tour of New Zealand as support for the feelers.

For further details:
www.myspace.com/atlastheband
 

Shade
muzic.net.nz Admin

Joined: 17/07/02
Posts: 5683
Location: Manawatu
View Profile
Atlas Album Release
Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:17 am
Atlas exploded onto the New Zealand music scene with a number one chart
performance not experienced since 1987's 'Slice of Heaven'. From April 2007
'Crawl' charted for seventeen weeks and owned the top position for nine
weeks.

The band's music pedigree gives it a killer punch.

While the genesis is perhaps in Zed which had a nine year run as a leading
New Zealand act up until 2004 and featured Ben Campbell and Andy Lynch ,
Atlas was conceived at the legendary Knitting Factory in Los Angeles. Ben
and his sister, Beth were there working with friends Robert Lamm (Chicago) and, LA based producer, Hank Linderman (The Eagles, America, Chicago) discussing solo album concepts. Hank introduced them to American performer, Sean Cunningham, who hails from Hank's home state of Kentucky, thinking that they may combine their talents to write songs for separate solo careers.

'It was immediate.' says Ben. 'There's great music in us all and when we
hung out, jammed and played we discovered songs, riffs, connections,
melodies and ideas that were a lot stronger through the connection.'

Also in Los Angeles at the time, playing with the legendary Sting was Ben's
former Zed bandmate and future ATLAS lead guitarist, Andy Lynch.

Cunningham needed little persuasion to head half way around the planet to
Christchurch where Atlas started to take shape through a number of
development line ups while the inventory evolved. 'Is This Real', a mix of
searing vocals over guitars charted, followed by the ground-breaking
'Crawl'.

When ATLAS re-located to Auckland, Andy Lynch settled into his edgy lead
guitar slot and the line up was completed with the discovery of drummer, Joe
McCallum who was extracted from Christchurch.

ATLAS rocks. There's something special happening here and whatever, the reason for voyaging, ATLAS is a helluva trip.

The latest ATLAS single, 'Magic 8' is available 17th September 2007

The debut album, 'Reasons For Voyaging' will be released in November 2007.
 

Shade
muzic.net.nz Admin

Joined: 17/07/02
Posts: 5683
Location: Manawatu
View Profile
Atlas release debut double a-side single
Posted: Tue Mar 6, 2007 11:49 am
Atlas burst on to the NZ music scene last year with their debut single Is
This Real? "Who are these people?" muttered various music industry types, "A couple of them look familiar." And they were right. Atlas is made up of Ben Campbell and Andy Lynch (no strangers to multi-platinum success with local band Zed) on bass and guitar respectively, Ben's sister Beth on vocals and Sean Cunningham on vocals and guitar.

Is This Real? turned heads. Follow up single Crawl, currently saturating pop
and rock radio, has turned even more heads and the buzz on this band is
getting louder by the second.

With their debut album Reasons For Voyaging set for release later this year,
Atlas have given us a taster of things to come with this double A-side
single.

CRAWL/IS THIS REAL? is in stores from Monday 5th March.
 

oldie1988

Joined: 26/09/06
Posts: 1
Location: Canterbury
View Profile
Yo hows it
Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 11:44 pm
Man you guys roc the whole band is awsome. Hope you guys wrap up at juice awards you deserve it and good luck for the future hope to see an album soon

Peace out

This message was edited by oldie1988 on Tue Sep 26, 2006 11:47 pm.
 

ADRIAN4EVER

Joined: 29/12/05
Posts: 3
Location: Canterbury
View Profile
ADRIAN AND BEN
Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 3:50 pm
WASS UP U 2
im Lizzie anyway.
How r u both???? text me on 0273546604 any time Love Lizzie
 

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