This year has been nothing short of tremulous and challenging for everyone, including musicians. The Milan-based now duo Atwood is one of the bands that did not allow the pandemic to stop them from moving further with their ambitions.

I interviewed them at the start of the year, and we had a great conversation about music, inspiration, and 2020 goals. The latest single Ghost and the announcement of Out Of The Blue (out November 21st) hinted about the development towards the next stage of their career. The band was kind enough to agree to a follow-up interview about the upcoming single, future plans, and adjusting to the 2020 pandemic conditions, amongst other interesting topics. Read my interview with Alice to learn more about what you should expect from Atwood in the near future. It is quite exciting, trust me! 

Atwood is one of the most charming and capable bands I had the luck of discovering those past few years. Incredibly open and humble as individuals, outstandingly hard-working and driven as professionals Alice and Daniele made their debut in the music world in 2018 with At Odds.

The EP indicated that the band has a lot of potential – five splendid tracks encompassing the spirit of alternative-rock and post-hardcore unveiled a world constructed of life-inspired trauma and triumph.

I covered my first fascinating encounter with the EP in a blog post, which also contains my first interview with the band. Refresh your memory and get the prequel of the interview that follows below.

Atwood are now in the process of uncovering the next step of their development. Out Of The Blue will be released on the 21st of November (pre-save the song) as the new single in their neat collection. I got major excitement and anticipation attacks considering the growth and development displayed in previous two releases – Dance In The Sun and Ghost.

  

The foundation laid down with At Odds is intact, but the growth and new influences are clearly visible. Both tracks feature lyrical content and catchy chorus build-up with strong emotional impact presented by alt-rock instrumentals and electronic influence.

Ghost showcased the new direction of the band even better with a more pop-rock oriented sound fitting the song perfectly well. As Alice confirmed the track is definitely not a happy one – brooding atmosphere and haunting sound dominate, but hope remains a major part of the whole experience. None of the Atwood charm and value is lost and – things are getting levelled-up.

Video production credits for this one, as well as Dance In The Sun and upcoming Out Of The Blue, go to the capable Dalilù

I had the honour and privilege to hear Out Of The Blue before it’s official release. I had high expectations, but I have to admit I was not ready for a demonstration of such refined improvement and growth.

The band managed to merge pop influences with their classic, recognizable style. This has created an outstanding new blend fitting the style and vibe of Atwood perfectly.

During our interview, Alice expressed some concern in regards to how people will perceive the bigger focus on pop, but I don’t think there is room for any worries. Instead, I think the duo should be proud of how they managed to push their boundaries and explore unknown territories. The new sound is nothing but refreshing, confident, and delightful.

The intro and outro instrumentals, the touching lyrics, explosive chorus, and overflowing emotional value of Out Of The Blue will take you on a ride filled with nostalgia, anticipation, and hope for what is yet to come. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing and the band transmitted their concept successfully.

Pre-save the upcoming single Out Of The Blue

I first talked to the band at the very beginning of 2020 – one of my favourite interviews to this day. Back then, we had no idea what was waiting for us in the face of the pandemic and how plans for the future would be disrupted. Regardless of how things escalated, Atwood kept putting in the work to give fans the quality music they deserve – as we will find out in a bit, there is even more great stuff to look forward to.

I reached out to the band again to get some sneak-peek information about the upcoming song, the things they are focused on now, their future ambitions, and the way they handled the whole lockdown situation.

Alice was kind enough to dedicate some of her time for a zoom interview and we had a really nice conversation. Thank you so much for your honesty, humbleness, interest, and dedication to this interview, I had a great time and I appreciate your energy! It’s always a pleasure talking to you guys!

Unfortunately, Daniele couldn’t join us this time, but I assure you that Alice spilt some very intriguing stuff about the next stage of Atwood’s development. Without further ado, I hope you enjoy this interview, just don’t forget to follow Atwood on Instagram, Facebook, and Spotify and to pre-save the upcoming single Out Of The Blue.  


Let’s start with the new song – Out Of The Blue is coming out on the 21st of November. You must be super excited to share it with us, what should we expect? What can you tell us about it without giving away too much?

Out Of The Blue is going to be drastically different than Ghost, I think. We tried to experiment a bit more with pop for this one. I know some people will probably say “yeah, yeah easy game”. But for a band like us, it wasn’t really that simple. We are just two people now who come from a metal background – our first EP is post-hardcore; Ghost is a pop-rock track, and now we have Out Of The Blue which is something new again. For us trying to go almost full pop was quite challenging.

Ghost and Out Of The Blue are actually connected in a way – they both show that we have grown as a band. Our songwriting and our approach developed. We wanted to try and see what can come out of a different angle. And we are quite satisfied with the result – it was really rewarding because we were worried if we could pull it out or not.

I hope that when it comes out, it gets appreciated as much as it deserves. I’m not saying that only because it is one of our songs, which of course is still there – every artist wants their work to be appreciated. But we really put a lot of effort into it, so we are nervous about how people will perceive it.

Can you tell us a bit about the theme and emotions of Out Of The Blue – is it similar to Ghost in this aspect or is it a totally new direction?  

It is somehow related. I am the one writing the lyrics so, of course, there is always a relation between the songs – I think I write in a certain way and it shows.

At the same time Ghost was really dark, I don’t want to say it was hopeless, but you can tell it was not a happy song. Out Of The Blue involves a bit more hope and positivity. It is a song about waiting and anticipation. Waiting in a positive way – waiting for someone or something good coming back to you or something completely new coming in your life. I tried to represent this concept, I hope I succeeded.

You can get your own Atwood “Ghost” T-shirt and other sick merch here

What has changed in terms of your process with recording At Odds and the new songs? Judging by Ghost, it is clear that you brought you music further. Are you using the same methods and inspiration, or are you trying out something new?

Starting with Dance In The Sun, we adopted a new approach and started working with new people. It worked well for us – we loved the process, so we decided to keep it. The same goes for the new music relationship we formed.

There is this sort of barrier between the EP and the new singles, but it is mainly because we decided to try something new. And this was not because we were not happy with the people we worked with during At Odds or with the final result – we are very proud of what we have done with it, especially considering it was our first EP ever. We are not saying it is incredible or anything like that, but we recognized what we achieved with it and we liked it.

Naturally, you are also going to notice the growth from Dance In The Sun to Out Of The Blue. As time passes, we are also progressing – we are writing music together and evolving in some way. We tried to step up our game – find new methods, work harder.

It is a lot of hard work and we really try our best – I don’t think anyone outside of the band can grasp how much time and effort is put into this. We are only two people doing everything ourselves, which is a lot of work.

That makes total sense. Having a band means a lot of work on a lot of different fronts. Being just two people, how do you manage to keep up with everything – writing music, maintaining digital presence, managing the band, booking shows, etc.?

I don’t have the greatest memory ever, so it is Daniele who is doing the planning. I’m just bad with this stuff and there needs to be at least one person in the band who plans and remembers things in general. He is the mind and I am the hands.

Of course, we work together on the planning as well – deciding what should be done next, maintaining the social media, doing promotion; deciding what to record next, when it should be done. And this is time-consuming – if a band has four members, for example, it gets easier to divide tasks, but with just the two of us, it’s a bit more complicated.

We try to have everything scheduled and organized – this is our key. This way, I know what I have to do in the next five days and I can arrange everything in a way which ensures the work is going to get done. And the same goes for Daniele. Of course, unexpected things come up all the time, but that’s just life. The main thing for us is scheduling and planning, otherwise it would be impossible to manage everything.

Are Ghost and Out Of The Blue going to be standalone singles or are they going to be part of an EP or album release?

We have an EP planned. Originally, the plan was for it to come out in 2020, but while working on it and writing the songs, we found ourselves with a lot more good material than we initially imagined.

So we decided to push everything until early 2021, and release more material instead. We still have to decide what exactly will be included in the final cut, but the plan is that all the singles we put out so far will be part of the new EP.

We also have to understand how this whole pandemic situation is going to develop, and what we can do with it – what will be able to record and what will have to be left out. We couldn’t record anything since everything is closed down at the moment.

Then we have a lot to look forward to! It is great that you managed to make the best of the lockdown and come up with so much material. During our last conversation, I asked you what your plans for 2020 are. Back then, we had no idea what was about to happen – how did the pandemic affect you as a band and as individuals, how did you adapt to the situation?

We had to keep working despite the conditions. We consider ourselves a band that works hard – we never skip practice or sessions. So we had to adapt to the situation – we moved our 6-hour sessions over Skype since we couldn’t meet. It worked quite well actually. It wasn’t the same as being together and working in the same room, but we had to adjust, just like any other band in the world.

It also affected us in a way that we got stuck at home, and we had a lot more time to dive into the creative process. When you don’t go out to see your friends and get caught up in other stuff you have more time to dedicate to getting more inspiration – watching series, reading more books, stating things you never had the time to do before, trying out new things. 

I know it sounds a bit trivial considering what the world is going through right now. It’s not like we don’t realize the seriousness of the situation. But we had to make use of this time and get something out of it. We tried new things – we had more time to write music and experiment with alternatives to every single song we developed. There was a challenge in the face of having a different environment, but at the same time, we had more time to manage everything. This also includes the type of the admin tasks so to say – the social media posts and so on.

In that sense, did being stuck at home present more of a challenge to keep being creative or was it an opportunity to focus better? I have heard people say that the lockdown provided all of this time, but on the other hand, you eventually get stuck in the same environment, which drains your creativity. How was it for you?

I don’t think that the pandemic affected our creativity as a band. I personally had more time to write and find alternatives, to think about the music in general. I could focus more, which is very important for me.

When you have your usual working week and all the stuff you have to do – you leave the house early and get home super late, when do you find the time to sit down and focus on the music? I know music is a lot about creativity, but for me, it is also about discipline. I have to sit down and tell myself – okay, this is what I am doing now, focus!

I get easily distracted, so I need to focus on one thing at a time to do it properly. I also have the creative spark because otherwise none of this would have worked, but I need to apply discipline to make it all stick. So not having any distractions in terms of going to work and back, and so on made it easier for me to concentrate on the music. Out Of The Blue was written at the start of the lockdown and I am very happy with how it turned out.

Yeah, I get that, I have the same issue with focusing. It’s good you managed to get something out of the situation. What was the most challenging thing for you during the pandemic?

I think having to record at home was the biggest challenge. My gear is terrible here. I only have a stage microphone, and it’s not as good for recording.

I also had to buy more audio interfaces because, since we used to have all the recording sessions together, I never had to record at home before. I never needed to have the gear. But when the pandemic started, I had to adjust to that.

What I bought is not anything high-class, but I had to learn how to use all of the equipment and audio software. I’m not the most tech-savvy person in general, so it was quite challenging for me in that aspect. I am more independent in this sense now.  

Dalilù and Alice during the shooting of the Ghost music video

Well, at least you managed to learn something new. Last time we spoke, you also said you planned a lot of shows, as well as festivals abroad. Is this still on or did it get scrapped because of the pandemic?

The plans remain valid. We just have to re-adjust it to 2021. We need to work around this new situation and see when we can get it all back on track.

We had lots of shows planned for this year. Some of the most important ones were supposed to be exactly one week after the lockdown was announced in March. We were really annoyed about the timing, to be honest. As much as we understand the seriousness of the affairs, we were really excited about playing.

We actually had a couple of shows a month ago, and it felt great to be able to perform live again. We hadn’t played for months, so it felt almost unreal to be back on the stage. It reminded us how good it feels to be able to do that. Once everything calms down we will certainly arrange the tour, it’s not cancelled just postponed.

I can imagine that. I miss concerts, it has been so long since I saw a band live.

Same, my last show was in January. Since I was fifteen, I never had this much time between gigs – I really love everything about live music, I go to as many shows as I can. So it’s a really weird time in that sense.

You have seen both sides of a live performance – you have been in the crowd, and you have also been on the stage performing for others. How would you describe the difference?

As a fan, you get completely mesmerized by the artist and everything that is happening around you. You focus on having a good time and taking everything in.

Being on stage is quite different. I don’t think it is possible to realize what it takes to create a show that is connecting the people who are watching you – something that will keep them focused on you, happy, excited, and having fun the entire time. It is just hard to comprehend all the details and work that goes into making a concert successful.

You kind of think it comes naturally to the artist to be so charming and hypnotizing. Of course, some artists have this naturally – they just step on stage, and the magic takes over, but that’s not the case for everyone. You have to put in a lot of work to make it all so exciting and engaging. You can be the best musician in the world, but if you don’t understand the art behind being on stage, you aren’t going to get anywhere. Once you get in front of the audience, you realize how hard you have to work to make it a success– there are lots of elements to consider.

That makes sense, I am also sometimes taking the magic of live music for granted. But when you stop and think about it, there is a lot of stuff going on that needs to be coordinated – lights, sound, imagery, performance, etc. It’s a completely different game in itself.

You talked about this a bit, but I wanted to ask you what comes next after Out Of The Blue is out – are you focusing on the EP?

Yeah, after Out Of The Blue is released, we will focus on putting together the EP. We want to put it out at the beginning of 2021 and there is not a lot of time until then.

We also need to focus on keeping the social media going, everything has to be up and running, so people are reminded that we are still here and we are active – the pandemic is not stopping us from putting in the work. We are creating a lot of new content and trying new formats, which is fun but also challenging. It’s one thing to post a picture on Instagram but experimenting with formats and content types is a different science.

For example, for me, it’s a huge challenge to speak on video. I honestly feel like a complete idiot when doing it, and I need to work on that. Not only for content, but for live shows as well – it will help me be more confident.

We also want to improve our live shows. We can’t practice that right now, but we can still plan it and prepare something new for the audience.

Did the whole situation this year change you as a band – how would you compare Atwood from the start of the year to Atwood now?

Creatively speaking, I think we grew closer together, which is really nice. We have been playing together for a couple of years now, so we have grown and evolved in some way. And this goes for this period in 2020 as well.

We still listen to different stuff and write in different ways, but we have managed to find a way to merge our different approaches in a more effective way. We are trying to do this more and more so we can create a seamless blend for the listeners. I think we are on the right way, perhaps it has shown a bit with Ghost, but I think it will be even more perceivable with the upcoming releases.

What have you been listening to recently – what records would you recommend?

Daniele has been spinning a lot of the new PVRIS record (Use Me). I also listened to it quite a bit – it’s a good album. Daniele also lists Bea Miller, Halsey, and Charlotte Lawrence as his recent artist picks.

I have been obsessed with the new Bring Me The Horizon stuff (Post Human: Survival Horror). Maybe I am not objective here because everything this band does is gold for me. I really think they have become an interesting band from every possible angle. They are also a great inspiration for us – if you listen closely and pay attention to all the details, you get to understand how much goes behind what they are doing. We are trying to mirror their attention to detail and precision.

A great album indeed, you can read my review on it here

I am obsessed, and when I say obsessed, I mean listening to the same song four times a day, with Spiritbox. I don’t think I have been that much into a band since Linkin Park’s Meteora. But that was when I was fifteen, now I’m twenty-six, so things are a bit different. I’m fangirling hard with Spiritbox, I don’t know what’s up honestly.   

Also, Fit For An Autopsy – they are one of my favourite bands, I can never let go of them, they speak to my soul.

I want to dive into Yungblud. I think he is a really interesting artist, but I never gave him a proper listen before.

That’s also one good thing about the whole pandemic situation – you have the time to explore a lot of music. It’s a different thing when you dedicate your full attention to an artist or an album compared to when you just play them while going to work or something.

Absolutely. I usually listen to the same artists over and over again exactly for this reason – I am doing other stuff, and I can’t focus my attention on new music. I can’t take it in when I’m out to do something else.

Do you have anything else you want to say or talk about – something I missed whether it’s for Atwood, Out Of The Blue, or anything else?

You asked awesome questions just like last time.  I would only remind everyone who is still with us and is going to listen to the new song to let us know what they think. I really want to hear people’s opinions for this song, especially from people who have known us for some time – I want to know if they can see any growth and evolution from our earlier stuff. Any feedback on Out Of The Blue is super welcome!


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