Tim Atlas: A Star Ready To Blossom

Becoming more than just a singer-songwriter, Los-Angeles based Tim Atlas is enjoying the rays of versatility as he becomes the true star to watch.

Infused by the love of being multi-creative with the blended soundscapes of indie-pop and swimming tempo of R&B, perfect for the chilled summer nights, Tim has gone from his debut ‘Lost in the Waiting’ to his most established work ever. As he takes stride on being an introvert and speaking highly of his individuality, even Tim was reaching the point of missing the social interaction of the music industry; taken from the chaos of 2020. 

Rewinding to the start of his musical traits with the experience of being in a multitude of bands and acting as the lone wolf, Tim took the selfish yet mature decision to go solo. A decision that has highly paid off. Now boasting world tours to his name, millions of streams for his work and a history of musical growth, Tim Atlas hasn’t had it easy, but his next step is sure heading into the right direction. 

With his latest EP ‘Quota’ now out, we discussed with the emerging artist what it’s been like creating an EP the past year and the themes he delved into, exploring different sounds and the excitement of performing live again. 

Let’s get straight into it. You’ve just released your latest single, ‘Courtside’ – taken from your upcoming EP Quota. What can we expect from this upcoming project, and what do you hope to achieve from it? 

It’s pretty eclectic as short as far as the EP is, and it’s pretty eclectic sonically. So there are a lot of funky, r&b elements, and there’s a lot of indie prop-driven sonics as well. In terms of what I want to achieve out of this record. This one kind of encompasses my experience over the last year through coronavirus and being in lockdown. So in the US, a lot of that stuff is starting to be a thing of the past. And when people listen to this record, I hope they see a bit of themselves and their experience from the last year; hopefully, find something relatable in the words that I’m seeing. 

With themes of the election, highs and lows of life and finding love throughout the five-track EP. Why did you want to explore these subjects, and what was the reason for you to share your feelings with your fellow fans? 

I think this record is a highlight reel of things that have helped me grow spiritually and mentally over the last. It’s kind of a timepiece in that sense to me, where’s it’s documenting all those experiences. And I think a lot of those experiences are shared amongst everyone in the world. So, that’s pretty much why I wanted to kind of focus in on those things specifically.  

From ‘Peace at Last’ to ‘Wallflower’, what is your favourite track and why? 

This is always such a hard question. I think I base my favourite tracks on what feels best in a live setting. And because we haven’t had that yet, it’s hard for me to make that decision. But if I were to look into the future, I could see ‘Wallflower’ being a really fun one to do live. That one was a lot of me alone in my studio, hacking away, so that’s one special to me. But I think it’s also a toss-up between that one and the unreleased track ‘Water’. Just because I love the message behind that, and I guess it’s the newest lead, so it feels fresh. 

Overall, how did Quota come together, and how did each track entwine with the creative process and themes of the EP? 

I guess I’m consistently writing throughout the year, and I’ve made these EPs in different ways every time. But this one was much more spread out. So there’s a lot of different phases of me in 2020 and 2021. 

Because the record was written and spread out over the last year, it was a lot of putting the puzzle pieces together. So a lot of songs didn’t make the record that didn’t feel sonically intertwined enough with the next song. And then the songs that did make it feel it has rounded a message that comes across. I don’t think any song talks about the same thing. 

With a slick, indie-pop sound to your music, how would you personally describe it and your growth into the music scene? 

It’s been a journey for sure. I like to think we started this project when ‘Unwind’ and ‘Compromise came out’. And those are some of my biggest songs. And after that record, I wanted to take on more of a producer role in terms of being in the driver’s seat and overseeing the whole project as a solo artist. And fast forward to Quota, I feel like I’ve found a nice balance because much is such a collaborative art. So, I don’t think it’s necessarily meant for one person to make 12 songs on their own, you know. I think when you include other people that you love and trust. It ends up being something much more beautiful. So while I still hack away at these songs by myself a lot of the time, I’m also grateful for the co-writing sessions that I’ve had and the co-production that’s on this record, as a result of being here in LA and being surrounded by so much talent. 

In addition, as you have found your pocket with soundscapes and productions, would you ever explore other genres in the future? 

Yes, absolutely. I already tend to do some genre-bending stuff but not intentionally, but because I love so many types of music, and I can’t make up my mind. 

I am writing a lot right now and keeping more of an open mind these days than I have in the past. I think I’ve concerned myself a lot with how people are going to digest this? And how are they going to correlate it to my past releases? And I don’t think that I need to be concerning myself with that so much because it puts me in a box. So well, I love a lot of the songs that we’ve put out. Today I’m excited to expand and shake things up a bit in terms of how I write songs and how I like to start songs. And so yeah, I’m playing a lot more live drums, I am assuming different roles in the studio and, man, trying new things. 

There’s not much I can say about the overall aesthetic of what’s to come, but it’s going to different for sure. 

As we talk about your rise into music, what do you always remember from releasing your first ever track, and why did you want to become an artist?

I feel there are a couple of stages where I felt like I was recommitting to myself as a singer and a songwriter. But I think, the big one was when we wrote ‘Compromised’ it felt this is a song I’ve always wanted to make. And I could honestly, make that kind of music for the rest of my life. That was the feeling I had when we first made it, and I think that was a pivotal moment for me. It kind of permitted me to keep going. 

If we date even further, I’m a dinosaur, and there’s a lot of history. But in my teen years, I was in bands all my life. I was always the guitarist, stage right, or the drummer, arranging things or behind the curtain and I never really saw myself as that frontman and centre stage. But as I kept playing in bands, I was designing the merge, booking the tours, and I felt like I was dragging a group of dudes along me for this dream that I had. And I had a weird moment where I was like maybe I should just since I’m doing everything myself. 

I think at that time of my life, I wanted to be more selfish about my art. And that was pretty much when I started singing and going solo. 

Whilst it is exciting to see new music coming out, how have you coped with changing your living room into a studio this past year, and what have you learnt from these challenges?

I identify as an introvert, so at the beginning of quarantine, it was a dream. I didn’t have to any functions or parties alone, just making music. And over that year, I realised that even me like someone who loathes social events, even I needed human interaction. So I think over this last year, I’ve learned to embrace the community around me. 

Though you have faced challenges, you have also reached high achievements with touring the world and amassing over 40 million streams so far, but what has been your highest moment and why?

So last year, we did a big boy tour, it was like 30 something days. And we did most of the continental US. And I guess we can count this as a collective moment because every city that I was in, I saw someone singing my songs to me, and those are the moments where I’m like, okay well, Spotify is data and numbers, so it doesn’t really compute that these are people listening to the song. So when I’m on the road, it validates that these are actual ears and people listening to the words that I have to say, and it validates my art. And I guess that’s something that’s been missing for me over the last year. So it makes it feel, every time I’m on stage and people are singing the songs, dancing and having a good time like that, those are the best moments for me.

I’m guessing you miss live shows, and you’re looking forward to getting back onto that stage? 

I do miss live shows, and the thing is, we were consistently touring for the last couple of years, and I took it for granted and realised how much of a big part of my life that was. I’m itching to get back out there. 

Finally, to close off, what is the dream for Tim Atlas? 

The dream for Time Atlas is to play music for as many people as I can for as long as I can while sustaining the monthly rent. On a deeper level, I want to share as much of myself with people as I can. Not in terms of social media, but how I communicate my art. I want to make sure that I’m reaching as many people as I can. 

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Photographer: Maya Fuhr

Words: Ross Mondon