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10 Quick Ones with KYLE STRATTON from ATALA – December 2017

According to a recent press release: “Twentynine Palms, CA-based sludge/doom metal group ATALA recently announced the upcoming release of their full-length concept album, Labyrinth of Ashmedai, out January 26, 2018 via Salt of the Earth Records. The concept of Labyrinth of Ashmedai is inspired by Asmodeus, or “Ashmedai”, the biblical “king of demons”. Conjuring grit-laced sludge inspired by their barren and often oppressive desert backdrop, ATALA grips the listener with reflective, crushing doom atmospheres dripping with stoner rock and experimental influences to boot. Pre-orders for Labyrinth of Ashmedai are available now.”  We get guitarist Kyle to answer our 10 Quick Ones about new music, his influences, and more…

Photo: Jenifer Stratton

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our latest release Labyrinth of Ashmedai is a lot heavier and more volatile than anything we have previously done. As far as what the ‘listener’ might not catch at first, we crammed a lot in. There are tons of noise parts and extra guitar tracks adding to the atmosphere of the record. One thing that stands out as “very subtle” is the sounds of ‘Hell’ that Billy sampled from some T.V. documentary. It fit right in with the vocals. So, yeah… We got a little piece of Hell in our recording!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Well, it’s hard to pick a particular time. I have known as long as I could remember I wanted to sing in a band. I was the kid always trying to make a band, listening to heavy rock like Motorhead, Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. That being said, the first record I ever heard that made me want to play guitar was Metallica’s …And Justice For All. That video for “One” was magical. After that, I started to dig into thrash. I wanted to play heavy and loud. Shortly after, I discovered Nirvana and the Melvins. That’s when I knew I could do it. All those songs were heavy and simple. The emotions I felt from the music made me realize it was about sound, not complexity. So in conclusion, it was not one moment, but many moments blended together. All I ever wanted to do was play music. It has been a grueling existence of constantly struggling to feed myself while focusing the majority of my attention on an art form that definitely hasn’t gotten me rich – but fuck it. In the words of Matt Pike, “money is paper and I wipe my ass with paper.” My art will live forever.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Kurt Cobain – Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix – Experience, Buzz Osborne – Melvins, Iggy Pop – The Stooges, and Matt Pike – Sleep and High on Fire

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

In time and place as of right now in this moment:

  • Musician: Mike Scheidt from Yob, because he is in the middle of his prime. I am just  interested in his mind and seeing how it works. I would love to see his method of attacking a song and what we would create together.
  • Producer: Sylvia Massy. She is amazing as Hell. I love the first two Tool albums, the first System of a Down record, and even the album she did with Danzig. I would love to see what she would do with Atala.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

Shit, I don’t know. It’s a loud emotional roller coaster. It gets spiritual and hateful all in one album. It hugs you then kicks you in the nuts right after. Kids, it’s the stuff your “Southern Baptist Father” would want to burn. So go out and buy it!

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Playing! I just like to play. The rest of it can just get weird.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

When we three are hanging out, it is usually me who cooks because I love to cook. It is Jeff who is always getting things for people. Dave is the “busting out the acoustic guitar” guy but that’s when his penis isn’t in Jeff’s mouth. Just saying.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Well, it’s interesting you ask. My second choice was being a professional Tattoo Artist. Here I am, at almost 40 years old. I am doing both and haven’t worked a day job in nearly 2 decades. I make art professionally: music, paintings and tattoos. Living the dream!

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

Well, I have made many missteps – mostly having to do with my attitude. I am not good with following the rules or filtering my thoughts. I say what I mean and mean what I say. In all honesty, that has put up huge walls and burnt down many bridges for me. But my motto has always been. “I don’t give a fuck. I am what I am. Take that shit or leave it.” Sometimes bridges need to be burned the fuck down. I am usually the guy with the match and the gas can. Do I regret it? Not even. Every step or misstep has led me to this exact moment and I like it here. I like who I am.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Here’s the thing – all the records I love I would never want to interfere with. Those were their moments, not mine. But, I would love to watch the whole production of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. It is the one of the greatest albums ever made in my opinion.

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10 Quick Ones with KYLE STRATTON from ATALA - December 2017

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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