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Maps & Atlases Interview

Emily Jackett


After the launch of the recent album Perch Patchwork, More Than The Music caught up with Maps & Atlases bass player (Shiraz Dada) during their current tour to find out more.

More Than The Music : How did you meet and start playing music together?

Shiraz Dada: We met in college, we all went to the same school. Colombia college in Chicago…Chris and Erin went to high school together and started playing music and were looking for people. I found an ad of theirs just hanging around campus…I kind of ignored it because they already had a band name…then a few months later I found pretty much the same  ad on the internet and I got in touch with them and we started jamming a little bit; Then met dave a couple of months later he had a poetry class or something with Erin. They sat right next to each other the entire semester and then one of the last days of class they realised they were both musicians and looking for projects, and ever since then…yeah.

MTTM: Perch Patchwork is your first full length album. During it’s creation and evolution what have you been listening to? What have you been inspired by?

SD: We’ve been listening to stuff all over the board, we listen to new stuff every time we’re on the road, almost every tour has had a different theme song, or one record that we really like. I don’t know if any specific records influenced this record for us…

MTTM: What have been some of your tour themes so far?

SD: The last tour the theme song was Life On Mars by David Bowie, we were so in to that song at the time. Before that there was a Nick Cave song, Deanna. Every tour there seems to be one song that we listen to over and over again, but we listen to a lot of records.

MTTM: You’ve recently been signed with Barsuk records. Do you think that this album has moved further in to a pop genre from your earlier recordings? If so, was it an intentional approach to the album?

SD: I think we’ve always been in to the same pretty much been in to making the same sorts of stuff, obviously our tastes have matured. Even early on with the first EP we were in to making pop music, folky pop music that’s how a lot of songs on the first record started off – acoustic or jamming around, creating pop songs. The challenge for us was figuring out ways to make these technical or make challenging pop songs…it’s still the same sort of folk or pop we were making before but layered in a different way.

MTTM: The layers of sound and instruments is one thing which really stands out to me on the album. Can you give us an idea of the song writing process?

SD: Every records been different. This one the process was bringing song ideas, jamming with that, but there was also a lot of stuff just done in the studio. The day I was recording bass I was trying to come up with parts and figuring stuff out. This is our first record actually making the record in the studio, that’s the first time we’ve ever done any thing like that.

MTTM: In terms of the lyrics, who writes them and what is the writing influenced by?

SD: Dave and Erin have been big contributors, early on they used to play lyric writing games and stuff, for this record there’s been a lot of times when Dave’s been on walks or whatever and he’ll come up with some song ideas and call up one of our cell phones and leave a melody and a set of lyrics on the spot, on our voice mails.

MTTM: Has the album achieved what you had hoped and intended it to?

SD:I think it’s gone beyond all of our expectations and hopes, I really can’t believe that we’re here right now, playing songs from it and people are excited, it seems pretty cool. I’m definitely more than satisfied.