Monday, December 27, 2010

Be on the Look Out for This Great band, A'tris Interview with Mason Taylor

It seems indie music is making its way from the underground hipster crowds and finding its way into the mainstream. The word indie, used to stand for independent, now it's just another style trend. Everywhere you look, these "indie" groups are popping up ranging from dark electronica to trippy inspired Beatles like tunes. The first indie groups that really took flight were, Weezer and Radiohead. Now you have groups like MGMT, and the upcoming Graffiti6 gaining momentum- not to mention all the indie inspired rap in the mid west.

Perhaps the coolest thing about these bands is their ability to be like "you." What is greatly missing from their music is the rock star glitz and glam. These bands are aiming for people just like them. The music is passionate, raw, and most importantly, different. It's bands like these that are now starting to shine and gain their proper due.

Interview with Mason Taylor of A'tris
(L to R) Nate Lueck (guitars and Bass), Ben Azar (Guitars), Mason Taylor (vocals and keys), Travis Abel (Drums)
Photo by: Elizabeth Budd
One of these such bands, is A'tris, who are generating a buzz on the indie circuit through college radio and the Internet. Don't look for any meaning behind the name, singer and front man Mason Taylor says, "We wanted it to be a word like Google. It could be a noun, a verb, or an adjective; but, regardless of its function, we aim for it to be synonymous with great experiences." He describes their sound as similar to Radiohead and REM, but distinctly their own thing.

Mason, a former student and music major at Berklee College, started the band in 2003 upon meeting Mike Kreher in his music writing class. Kreher became Mason's writing partner and musical mentor, as well as band manager and ideas guy. The only thing Mike doesn't do, is travel with the band and perform. "He's in the band and just as important as anyone else, except he's behind the scenes," said Mason. Taylor handles all the vocal duties, co-writes the songs, leads the social media charge, and plays piano. The other members of the band have rotated frequently, but one of the mainstays has been the guitarist, Nate Lueck who has been with the band for about three years and just finished a national tour opening for Meatloaf.

A'tris has been touring about once a year, and averages about a CD a year. There debut CD, Appeal, was released in 2005. Their second release was in 2007, an EP entitled, Commons. The most recent full length, Lensing, came out in 08 and featured their biggest single to date "Automatic Doors." The video was featured on MTV a few times, and gained a lot of plays on the college radio circuit. Purchase Lensing and Appeal here.

They have done all they can to get noticed, but Mason says, "The future is in placement. The newer A'tris music is more commercially viable." If a band can crack the walls of radio, TV, or movies, it opens a big door of opportunity. In addition to this, Mason is constantly using social networking to reach out to people. "Social media is tough because everyone can use it, but I use these sites to make friends. My ultimate goal is to one day pay the bills with music, so I have to do whatever it takes." Taylor says A'tris has never been on a label, but instead uses "structured partnerships." In this way, they aren't tied down to anything by contract, but still have some security in what they are doing.

Recently, Mason moved from the Boston area the band was originally located in, to New York. He feels the opportunities in the city are bigger. As of right now the band isn't playing shows. They are working on a college campaign tour, and are only playing shows of significance. They are biding their time for when a tour is a feasible. They are trying to build a local support in NYC, to have a strong backing before they hit the road.

And speaking of the road, Mason has plenty of great stories, just ask him. The tours are set up by Mike, and their first time out they hit 25 states. Taylor aims for about five or six shows a week, and sometimes doubles up on days. To save money they usually sleep in the van, but on occasion a stranger lets them in for the night. "Touring has a way of humbling you. I always feel like, when I come back from the road, I am a better person. At the very least, I'm a more worn-out version of myself," he says.

(L to R) Ben Azar, Mason Taylor, Nate Lueck, Travis Abel
Photo by: Elizabeth Budd
Sometimes things on tour don't always work out, and other times they are a success. Regardless Mason takes it in stride and believes in some way there is a bigger purpose for everything. He looks at all the positives the band has accomplished like: "Automatic Doors" being on MTV, or being in the top half of popular Reverbnation artists. They have even been the top band on, and were in the top 100 for radio bands.

Some of the more memorable things about being in A'tris have been, "When I see someone in the crowd connect with the music from the stage. It makes it all worth while." One particular moment that was almost a failure but wound up being really cool was, "At a show, all the sound went off and would not turn back on. We made the set acoustic and I loved it. The only real failures I've experienced have been in my personal life," Mason said jokingly.

Mason's hope is that in five years A'tris will be able to tour abroad and go to other countries. "I'm looking forward to sharing our music with new audiences and look forward to seeing where it takes me," he said. As for the immediate future, he plans on having A'tris do something really big but Internet based.
"So tune in, we have some really cool stuff in the pipeline."

LINKS (This will link to a number of social networks the band is on.)


  1. I'm really liking them!

  2. thanks Mike, I know who you are this time! lol

  3. @Mike Thanks! Glad to hear that. Hope to see you on the a'tris blogs!

    @Justin Thanks again for this great post. I'm blogging it up now :)


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