Nick Clavarino & Matthew Borthwick – ATLVS ‘The Wound, The Blade & The End Result’

Like most other bands, ATLVS went through a particularly rough time during the COVID lockdowns, but letting that slow them down wasn’t an option. With their sophomore EP The Would, The Blade coming out this Friday (our review here), we felt like we had to pick their brains about how they managed to bounce back from all of the challenges that were thrown at them, and of course, their new material that we’re stupidly keen and excited for!

Thanks for taking the time to chat guys, with the release of your sophomore EP creeping up, how is everyone in ATLVS feeling at the moment?

Nick: Really good! We are all very excited to finally release this EP, we have been sitting on it for a very long time now. It’s a great feeling to see the reception of the singles we have released so far as well.

Matthew: We definitely received the type of reception that we never expected but were hoping for

You guys actually released five out of six songs from the EP as singles before the EP’s release. Was there a reason for this?

Matthew: It’s really just to try and keep it in the eyes of the public for as long as we can. A few bands have been doing it and it seems to have worked out quite well for them so we thought that we would capitalise on that. It seems as if nobody really has the attention span to listen to a release cover to cover anymore so we figured that we would drip feed it to make sure that each song gets the recognition that we think it deserves.

Nick: It is definitely a better way of going about it when releasing an EP. We kept releasing a single every 8 – 10 weeks and found that by the time the hype had dropped off from the last single we were ready to release the next single, which kept the momentum going.

Matthew: COVID probably played a big part in that also as the future of everything seemed to be in question. Had we dropped all songs at once we would have nothing to release in the future and being unable to get into a studio to record music would make everything difficult. So this way of drip feeding the singles seemed right to us.

Your new vocalist Nathan Coff has officially been in the band for one year or so now. How has he found his feet within the band’s dynamics and the camaraderie that an established band already has?

Nick: He definitely hit the ground running when he joined. It was an incredibly smooth transition to get him involved. When I first hit him up, I sent him a 30 second demo of the first few songs that we had and he was instantly keen. Within three weeks from then we had him in the studio recording and he smashed it out in that one week. He has been absolutely phenomenal, we couldn’t have asked for anything better. 

Matthew: On and off the stage he has meshed in so perfectly with us. During the first two practices, it was a little bit awkward but once he saw how big of a bunch of d*ckheads we are he managed to join in with that fairly easily.

Nick: It feels like he has been in the band for years now!

Your track ‘Synthetic Heaven’ is a change of direction for you guys. How important was making this EP a diverse offering by releasing a song like this alongside your staple heavy sound?

Matthew: Very much so! We do not want to be known as a one trick pony band. We tried to inject that sound into our other songs. For example, ‘Kodokushi’ plays into that soft emotional sound in certain sections. We definitely don’t want to be that band where listeners aren’t super interested on listening to our new music every time we put something out because they already anticipate what it is going to be.

Nick: Having versatility and being unpredictable was definitely something that we had discussed leading up to this record. I was looking forward to releasing ‘Synthetic Heaven’ in particular because I knew it was going to be a massive curveball to our listeners following up from ‘Comethazine’ and ‘Broken Bonds’ 

Clearly with songs like ‘Comethazine’ and ‘Broken Bonds’ it was important for you to stay true to your heavy roots on this release as well?

Matthew: For sure! We wanted to avoid releasing any one song that doesn’t mesh in with the rest of the EP. Every good release definitely has its highs and lows. If everything is always the one pace, I find that it tends to become a bit bland, which makes it not very re-listenable. 

Nick: I think Scottie (Simpson of Alpha Wolf) did a great job with mixing and producing, ever though ‘Synthetic Heaven’ is so different from all of the other songs on the EP it still has that darker edge to it so it is drastically different but it manages to blend in there nicely.

Some of the lyrical themes within this EP are quite dark in nature. Did the ongoing impacts of the COVID lockdowns have any effect on this when you were writing these songs?

Nick: Absolutely! When I wrote particular songs on this release COVID played a massive part in the process. I think that it is a good talking point as well in ‘Synthetic Heaven’ given that we went through a few years where we couldn’t go out and see loved ones, making the times you did get to see loved ones extra special. Those lockdowns were super unpredictable and we couldn’t see anyone for months at a time, it’s those times that you don’t get back.

Matthew: It was a lot of alone time to dwell on revisit things that you had healed from already. I found that when I gave my brain that much idle time it always went back to those darker parts in my memories, which was reflected quite strongly in the songs that I wrote, certainly ‘Comethazine’ was strongly influenced in this sense. I was just stuck in my own head so I put it down on a page and that song was the result.

The progression between your debut EP ‘Memoir‘ and your upcoming sophomore EP is a night and day difference, with your 2020 single ‘Sorrow’ being the bridge between the two. What has been the biggest influence with this new era?

Matthew: We were very young and quite naive about the direction we wanted to go when writing music other than just a few ideas in the back of our minds. All we really knew is that we just wanted to be making music. That release was co-written and produced by Ionei Heckenberg (Ocean Sleeper/Zanari Records), his influence played quite a big part in ‘Memoir’, which we couldn’t be more grateful for because without him we wouldn’t have had anything to release; but with these newer songs we have really found the sound that we want to be making and we are pushing that envelope more so now. ‘Memoir’ did what we wanted it to do, it got us out there and on stages but it is not the sound that resonates hardest with us. 

Nick: Sorrow’ was that perfect stepping stone of going into our discovery phase where we had to have a good think about what we wanted to write and what sort of image we want to give off. Personally, I definitely had heavier influences from Loathe’s most recent album ‘I Let It In and It Took Everything’ which can be heard in our newer songs. Our personal music tastes from when we released ‘Memoir’ to now has changed quite drastically as well, which played a big part in the change of sound. We all enjoy playing the heavier songs a lot more as well. 

You guys have been super busy post lockdowns with your touring schedules. I personally have seen you perform a bunch of times in Melbourne this year. You recently finished up a national tour and you have another national tour coming up in a few months’ time. Is the plan post EP release to just keep up that momentum?

Nick: For sure! We have been building this up now for quite a while, the last thing that we would like to do is just stop. We want to keep the wheels turning as much as possible to make up for lost time. 

Any last thoughts for fans?

Matthew: The reception that we have received so far has been wild. Pre-Orders are still available for the vinyl and merchandise packs so if you like what you hear please pick some up. Keep your eye out for further announcements!

Nick: Thank you so much to everyone that has been buying merchandise, sharing our posts, interacting with us on socials, listening to our music. No matter where you are, thank you so much!! It is greatly appreciated, we never expected any of this 

Matthew: Even just reading the comments on the YouTube channels, the reviews and receptions have been amazing.

Nick: The amount of people that are really taking notice of us now and keep coming back is really humbling to see

Interview by Adam Rice

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Pre-Order/save The Wound, The Blade EP here

ATLVS The Wound, The Blade

ATLVS – The Wound, The Blade tracklisting:

1. Kodokushi
2. Nazareth
3. Comethazine
4. Broken Bonds
5. Synthetic Heaven
6. Cold Blood

About Adam 'Ricey' Rice (134 Articles)
A young music enthusiast who dives into a world created by an artist then returns to reality to express what he experienced in writing.