ATTLAS (Jeff Hartford) returns with another single from his upcoming ‘Lavender God‘ album through ‘Hotel‘ with MAYLYN. The track which is out via deadmau5‘ mau5trap label comes as the second one following ‘Sinner Complicated‘. Moreover, he took the time to answer a few of our questions which you will find below.
Alongside, Cyclo provided a stunning 4K visualizer for ‘Hotel’ which embodies the mesmerizing and colorful track.
Veering towards the track itself, ‘Hotel’ radiates heart-felt sensations of comfort and warmth. On the production front, percussive brushes follow the heart-beating kick which gives body to the melting pads. Progressing, plucks bubble providing a spark notching the track into a moving direction. Aside from the mentioned, the few vocal lines are image-filled giving a thoughtful yearning. Overall, ATTLAS’ ‘Hotel’ encompasses a heart of its own brimming of personal connection.
1. You come from Canada so you’re very familiar with the cold – how did that influence your sound and perspective?
now, not everyone likes the cold, but i guess you could call me someone who does. I feel more alive in the cold. It’s so hard to ignore that it brings me out of my head and into the moment. Some of my favourites moments in the last year have been in the brutal cold as well. Last January, my girlfriend and I camped in a canvas tent in the woods here in Ontario – the first night it got down below -40 C. Snowshoeing across frozen lakes, outdoor hockey, and long winter runs by the lake on snowy nights – these are memories that stand out to me. The way I write is very much live the experience, reflect on the experience, and distill it into something creative. Things are a bit emptier in winter. Trees are empty of their leaves, parks are emptier, sidewalks are less crowded. I reflect more, understand more, and that makes me want to write more.
2. What’s your favorite TV series you’re watching at the moment?
i haven’t watched a ton of TV series’ over the years, but I can definitely let you know I was glued to Mr Robot every single episode since the first season. Beyond the intrigue of the plot, it was the quality and ambition of the filmmaking that persisted in impressing. The pacing, cinematography, and brilliant score by Mac Quayle on top of the already amazing soundtrack decisions was just phenomenal. I felt connected to a lot of the themes addressed – loneliness, ambition, family, social norms and what you do when you don’t know where you fit in at all. It’s a grand work in a lot of aspects and doesn’t give you all the answers – I’m much more content as a wonderer and this show provided lots of opportunities to wonder. That, and Survivor.
3. I love you track “Hotel” – can you tell us how it was made and what it was like working with MAYLYN?
This track started a long time ago. I think my first demo of it was back in 2015, and a lot of the rhythmic and sonic ideas I had played with in a bootleg I put out on SoundCloud called “So Long”. In particular, the sweeping lilted groove and the wash of warmer synths and an melodies bouncing whistfully around. As things happen, you work on other ideas and return at unplanned intervals to your old projects with hope that fresh ears might lead you to the conclusion.
A couple years ago, I was down in Nashville doing some writing and studio sessions. MAYLYN, then just Caroline to me, had a great voice and an easy approach to songwriting. It can be hard to get along with someone in an environment when ideas you really care about and believe reflect your experiences are tossed around loosely and dismissed, but Caroline and I found a comfortable and open dialogue creatively that let both of us find that place of honesty and guts when it comes to bringing ideas forward and it really worked for us. We’ve probably recorded and produced a solid couple handful of tracks together, but I’m so glad one of my favourite instrumentals and one of her most intriguing toplines was the one that made it all the way out of the machine and into the fresh air.
4. You have an album on the horizon – how does it feel and how will it be different than your past works?
Honestly part of me is saying ‘about time!’ about the whole thing, part of me is quite nervous, and part of me is quite glad that tracks that mean the most to me and that I truly want to be part of the ATTLAS world of creativity are finally going to be out. I worked quite hard on this album and not neccessarily in just a ‘trying lots in ableton sessions’ kind of way. I wanted different things out of myself as a person during the period of writing, I went through things I didn’t expect, and I found new perspectives and experiences to challenge what I thought I was sure about. I became more selfish in some aspects of writing. I wanted to lose myself in records the way I did before,but I was having a hard time doing that without a) absolutely exhausting certain favourite tracks to death or b) focus too much on the track itself (production, artist, release, etc) to really lose myself in the experience. So I wrote what I wanted to hear, or what I wanted to play. Much of the album is the result of sessions of writing on piano then relistening to these long sessions for moments where the melodies or pacing or chords seemed to lend themselves to something I was trying to say. I truly believe in the scope of this album. My favourite piece of music I’ve written as ATTLAS is on this album and I have attached a lot of meaning to the arc and ideas contained within. The period of composition between October 2018 and April 2019 was a period of intensity for me in a lot of areas of life and I’m glad I had the album to focus on.
5. What can we expect from ATTLAS in 2020 and beyond?
2020 will be a big year of releasing. But a lot of artists say that. I’ve actually redone the whole technical side of what I can do in the studio – i haven’t actually upgraded my computer in 7 years and most of my music had to be extremely planned out beforehand, as the machine could only run a few vsts at a time. I’ve no doubt that my output will be faster and grander, just want to make sure I still retain that sense of honesty and ambition within each track. I’m going to hopefully put out another album and an EP or two that really elaborate thematically and sonically on what I address and sometimes indulge in on ‘Lavender God’.
After the visual collaborations with Justin Hartney on ‘Storyline3’ and Thomas Moore (Cyclo) on the videos for ‘Sinner Complicated’ and ‘Hotel’, I’m keen on pushing into something massive and visual and musical in scope and sound. Like a Matthew Barney meets Storyline almost.
I just want to write something I can leave behind and point to and say ‘yes that was me here on earth trying to say what I felt my experience meant’. That’s a lot to put into one record or one album or one set, so I’m going to try and have a lot of fun too because who knows how long anything lasts anymore.
We thank Jeff for taking the time to answer our questions, and look forward to hearing more of what he has in store through ‘Lavender God’. On the touring and shows end, you can find his schedule and tickets here.
Finally, listen to ATTLAS ‘Hotel’ with MAYLYN via mau5trap, and watch the visuals provided by Cyclo below!