ATOM SMASH Interview
Jen: Introduce us to the members and tell us something funny about each one.
Sergio: My name is Sergio, I’m the singer, they call me Serge. Let’s see, I am known to be extremely forgetful. I am really horrible at GPS. I’m pretty much a spacey guy, in general. My brain is always writing music and always working, and never really wants to stop…so yeah, that’s pretty much something funny about me. Arnoldis our bassist, he is very easy going. Something really funny about him…he was skateboarding down a hill while sort of intox…well not sort of, extremely intoxicated and he was skateboarding down a hill with a bowl of macaroni and cheese in his hand. He shattered and destroyed his knee really bad…so that’s funny and sorta weird. Our guitarist Z, he is fromAustria, something really funny about him is that he loves bread. He loves bread! Panera is the only thing in America that he likes, food-wise. He hates food in America, he likes just good old German food every day. It’s also funny, like you’ll have a loaf of bread in the van and it’s gone in like one night. Our drummer, Taco…something really funny about him is how he got his name. He and the rest of us are in a side project or alter-ego band called AquaNet, and his name in AquaNet is Taco Rico, instead of Tico Torres. So we call him Taco Rico and it just stuck. Then he lost a bunch of weight, and now it’s kind of an awkward name. Something funny about Cowboy, he’s an extremely affectionate guy. He will hug you and he’ll give you what’s called a “beard (I can’t say what it is)” but he basically jumps on top of you while you’re on the hotel room bed and just scraping his beard back and forth all over your face and neck and just gives you the willies like, “Oh fuck!” He has you trapped…pinned down. But he’s an extremely affectionate guy, extremely lovable, and that’s something pretty funny about him.
Jen: So how often do you get like “beard-whatevered”?
Sergio: Ummm…he doesn’t do it often. One time I peed myself, so he stopped!
Jen: So you guys were signed by Jive Records. Tell me how that came about.
Sergio: Wow, it came like a storm! At the end of last year, we really honestly thought that we…(pause) sorry, I’m listening to Drake from Shaman’s Harvest sing right now, he’s just an angel…he’s amazing! Basically Jive, yeah at the end of last year we weren’t sure what we were gonna do, we thought the band was sort of…I’m not saying petering out but we didn’t have a song yet and so we stopped playing and started writing songs off the road and before we knew it “Do Her Wrong” and “Erase Those Days” came up and we did a demo of them…a basic, really basic demo with drums, and really on the spot kind of stuff and we shopped it. Jive Records heard it on a Thursday and wanted to fly down and see us on Friday. We were very surprised by that. It just seemed like the right fit. It just kind of happened and I flew to New York and…well that’s not really what happened. (laughs) They sent down an A&R guy and partied with us. He heard us 3 or 4 times and he’s like, “All right cool, let’s go party.” I went, “HUH?” We went to South Beach, got him totally inebriated, and we ran up an extremely large tab…I think he had to sign us based on that. He had to get that money back!
Jen: Okay, so your debut album is “Love is in the Missile”, and it is out now. Tell us about the album.
Sergio: You know, I’m not going to say it’s going to be Atom Smash’s greatest album… I’m not going to say it is the most inventive, unique album ever. I will say there is a lot of variety on the album and we’re sort of a band that we happen to be very influenced by two very contrasting genres. We are very influenced by the grunge bands, the slit-your-wrist bands, but we’re extremely influenced by Led Zeppelin, and Queen and groups like that that sort of wrote the message songs…the songs everyone’s going to relate to. So in a sense, we’re kind of like this combination of that sell-out commercial band but we’ll finish out with some songs that will really turn your head . I would say the album is romantic, brutal, and fun to emotional.
Jen: Your ballads…I’m a chick, I’m all over the ballads. You have some incredible ballads…that was one of the things I was totally drawn to. But I totally love “Naked” too. When you’re performing, do you enjoy doing the ballads, or are you a balls-out rock guy?
Sergio: Whoa, well I think that’s kind of the point of Atom Smash is that we use a calculative quality the way songs are written…we want to get a mix of everything. I think the ballads come to us very easy. I think the rockers are a bit complicated, you can get caught up trying to figure out how to come up with something unique. I would say the ballads to me…I enjoy writing them, it kind of touches me.
Jen: The first single is “Do Her Wrong.” I’ve got to tell you, Sergio, that song kind of pisses me off.
Sergio: I think you’ll realize that I’m just saying what every guy really is and feels. I think that the song comes across very arrogant and chauvinistic and sort of careless but the reality is…that’s it. The reality is that men can definitely be romantic and have written some of the most amazing love songs in the history of music, but I’m here to just set the record straight that it’s all a bunch of crap! It’s true, this is an honest song about how things really are and I think the women get it. So every guy is gonna go through that phase. But at the same time it’s really funny, because I’ve had a lot of girls come up to me and say that they feel the same way. So it’s kind of a weird, you know, it’s 2010…
Jen: You guys have shared the stage with a ton of awesome bands, does one stand out as being special that you’ve played?
Sergio: A band that we played with that blew me away with their live show…the way they sounded, how solid and how authentic and everything about them was just so unexpectedly awesome was Buckcherry. I really was not expecting such a together sounding group with such a sort of almost an Aerosmith-like songs hit you. It’s hard to say but they were just huge sounding, and a band that we love dearly, a band called Aranda. We became really close friends and those guys were huge, their band is amazing! They played after us but whoever plays after them is gonna suck! Aranda is just amazing! We love Cavo…we’ve been lucky…and Filter was awesome!
Jen: If you could pick any three bands to tour with, on a dream tour bill.
Sergio: I would have to say now with the resurrection of Soundgarden and bands that are still kicking butt, like Alice in Chains. I would just say the fantastic four, if I could go on a tour with Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots…we’d be their roadies!
Jen: What three things do you have to have on tour to survive?
Sergio: Water, Beer, and I have to say it, I have to be totally honest, I have to see beautiful women. It makes me feel rock ‘n roll! I think that you could have a crowd of 10 people, if there’s one in that that a guy’s attracted to… if there’s one person, they’re fine.
Jen: Best new album you’ve heard lately? What are you guys listening to?
Sergio: Definitely the best new album would be that new Deftones. Not new, about a year old, but yeah…
Jen: What’s your guilty pleasure song? Some song you start wailing and you go, “Oh shit, I hope nobody ever finds out about that?”
Sergio: You know, that’s a tough one because if you know the guys in our band, get to know us, we actually don’t care what people think at all about what we’re listening to or what we like or what we write. We really, honestly don’t care. I love Lady Gaga. I absolutely jam to Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake…forget it! So we’re on the right label (laughs). I would say that people probably give us a hard time for it but I would definitely say that’s one thing about this band…we really don’t care. Someone could give us a review saying that we are just crap and you know “Shooting Star” is a gay song, I would just tell you, I really don’t care. It doesn’t matter to us! Jim Morrison definitely would have never probably given a crap whether somebody said “Roadhouse Blues” would fail. People thought it was a cheesy, very basic one “dun dun dun” people gave him a hard time, but I think you have to be you…
Jen: Tell people why they should check out Atom Smash.
Sergio: I think we’re a very sound-based band right now, I think we’re a style-based kind of artist, a lot of artists out there have that record that you just sort of listen to a couple of the songs and that’s it…or you’re fine with just downloading. I have little instinct that the word’s going to spread. They say, “Hey I know you don’t like that “Do Her Wrong” single, but you really need to check out that song “Ashes” or you might wanna check out this song “Shooting Star.” So it’s kind of like I think we’re a song-based band, but I think there’s a variety!