Near the end of 2007, the guys in the Photo Atlas were ready to record the followup to their full-length debut, No, Not Me, Never, but on Christmas Eve, most of the staff at the Stolen Transmission label was fired. Around the same time, Nick Miles filled the drumming chair after Devon Shirley left during an East Coast tour. Last summer the act headed out to Baltimore to record with famed producer J. Robbins, who's worked with Against Me!, Bayside and Jets to Brazil. The band recorded ten cuts in two weeks; half of those appear on the new EP, To Silently Provoke the Ghost, which doesn't hit the streets until April 21, but Coloradans will get first crack at it at three local EP-release shows. We spoke with the bendmembers about the recording, which is every bit as dance-y and aggressive as the previous one — and a whole lot tighter.
Westword: What did J. Robbins bring to the table while you were in the studio?
Alan Andrews Jr.: He was a great guy to work with. It was cool to work with a producer; we'd never done that before. More than anything, he jumped in — like, vocal-wise, he jumped into my world and worked on harmonies and vocal melodies and stuff. It was really challenging for me. He came in and was like, "Okay, you can't scream through the whole song." He was like, "Are you just going to scream through this whole song?" And I was like, "Well, that was my idea." And he was like, "Why don't you just scream through the chorus or scream during the verse and we'll throw some harmonies in here?" I'd say he definitely opened me up vocally, and it was cool to have a challenging experience.
The Photo Atlas
The Photo Atlas EP-release show, with the Alan Baird Project and Hearts Like Lions, 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 27, Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer Street, $8-$10, 1-866-468-7621.
How did the video shoot go at the hi-dive a few weeks ago?
AA: It was the first video that we've made that wasn't just us playing live. There's a storyline and everything. It's actually kind of like a romantic comedy.
Bill Threlkeld: Yeah, you could call it that.
What's the storyline?
BT: I've been watching it a lot lately, and I got it summed up: It's boy sees girl, girl sees boy. They make eyes. Girl's boyfriend notices, takes the girl away. They go running off.
AA: The boyfriend's kind of like a douchebag.
BT: The boyfriend's a douchebag. Gotta mention he's a douchebag. Takes the girl away, you know, pulling her, and she's looking back. The dude is going after her. He's got the confidence because he's got the band backing him up. We all go after him. There's a car-chase scene. There's a little confrontation. The nerdy kid punches out the douchebag, takes his girlfriend and drives off in the car.
AA: Is the nerdy guy the bad guy, then? He's stealing the girlfriend.
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BT: He beat this guy up and took his girlfriend.
Mark Hawkins: But the douchebag punched the other guy first.
What song is the video for?
AA: "Jealous Teeth."