T.O.P Interview: In Atlas

Interview by Helena Markos

In the photo: In Atlas from the isolation

Tales of Psychofonia introduces you to In Atlas, an artist from Copenhagen, who together with Athens – based Venus Volcanism form the electronic music duo V.V.I.A. In Atlas creates conceptual sounds with a certain melancholy; flirting with a range of styles; from left-field and lo-fi sounds to dark wave and industrial. 

Just before the release of her EP “Glass & Marble”, she shares her thoughts about the virus situation, her influences and her strong connection with Greece, the magic island of Crete and her Greek partner in crime Venus Volcanism. 

T.O.P: Hi, first of all I want like to thank you for your time to share your thoughts with me. In what ways is the current pandemic affecting you, both as a human and as an artist?

In Atlas: You’re welcome, thanks for having me. Well, the Corona virus has affected me – like everyone – in many different ways. In general I am taking things a bit more slow now, staying home, reading, painting, making music, drinking wine. I think i’ve become more introspective. I also bought an electric bass, which I realised is very difficult to play. Haha.

T.O.P: Can you tell me few things about your journey into the music so far?

In Atlas:  I’ve always loved to sing and perform and I’ve done it as long as I remember. I started to sing in my first band when I was 16 years old and went to boarding school in the countryside of Denmark. I never knew how to play any instrument and it wasn’t before I started music school in Copenhagen and learned how to produce myself, that I realised that you don’t need to play an instrument in order to make music – that was really an eye opener to me!

T.O.P: Looking back to where you started this journey, was there any person, moment or experience that have played a significant role for your expression and art?

In Atlas: In 2011 I started a punk band ”White Noise” with two other girls. Non of us really knew how to play the instruments and because of that, we created our own language and terms in order to make songs. Surprisingly, we quickly had our first concert in Copenhagen and actually more than 10 people showed up. After we finished the show (which was only something like 15 minutes long), people was yelling for more and since we didn’t have any extra tracks, we just played the full set again. This was the first time I learned that you don’t always have to take music super seriously, it’s okay if it sounds ‘bad’, it’s all about the energy you put into it.

Of course, I also have to mention meeting Rena (Venus Volcanism) in 2015. She is for sure the person of all time, who have shaped me as an artist. She has taught me that imperfection is way more interesting than perfection.

T.O.P: You are also half of the powerful duo V.V.I.A., together with the artist Venus Volcanism. How did this collaboration occur and how would you define this project?

In Atlas: So, in 2015 I moved from Copenhagen to Athens to study and make activism and faith wanted, that I moved in with Rena. We immediately clicked and turned our living room into a home studio, where we started making music together. Since then I have been back and forth between Athens and Copenhagen. I would define V.V.I.A. as witchy post punk techno, feminist dark wave and paganist existential lo-fi synth pop with a mix of industrial neo-noir. Haha.

T.O.P: How do you imagine the scene emerging  in a post-virus era?

In Atlas: Oh, that’s a question which is impossible to answer, since we haven’t experienced anything like this before…with crisis comes expression, so I guess we’ll see lots of art coming out of this? I just really hope that this new thing with home streaming live concerts and raves isn’t the new way of partying, and will disappear soon again together with the virus. I really miss experiencing music and dancing with other people.

T.O.P: In your opinion, what are the major challenges that artists face right now?

In Atlas: It is definitely a major challenge how venues and clubs are closed. Most musicians doesn’t earn money from their music being played, but from live gigs. And who knows when that will open up again.

You can of course livestream a concert, but as an artist you need to connect and be close to your audience and feel the atmosphere of the room and them.

T.O.P: Any upcoming projects or collaborations to announce?

In Atlas: I am actually releasing an EP next month. It’s called “Glass & Marble” which is a reference to Copenhagen and Athens. In this EP I am reflecting on the feelings of restlessness, loneliness and being split between two places. It’s a mix of some techno, pop, melancholia and ecstasy. Last summer Venus Volcanism and I also made an album on the island of Crete, which we hopefully will release later this year.

In Atlas: I would definitely recommend Venus Volcanism’s new album released on “Weaponise Your Sound”. It’s traditional Cretan Folk music (Rizitiko) blended together with an ambient sound and it is 100% a soul healer. These days, I also really enjoy hearing the Ethiopian artist Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou. Check out the album Ethiopiques 21: Ethiopia Song. It’s from 1963 and it’s piano soothing for your soul!