Joined: 08 Oct 2007
|An Interview With Michael Atkinson Of TWENTY6HUNDRED!
By Ainsley W.: Editor of The Fortress Newspaper
Here I am preparing to interview Michael!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Atkinson of the band TWENTY6HUNDRED here in Toronto back in August of 2008. Michael started the band in 2006 and went on to produce their first CD "Free With Purchase" under the Fortress Of Freedpm label. What follows is the interview with Michael as he prepared for the Toronto Independent Music Awards held at Jeff Healey's.
Getting ready to introduce Michael at the interview!
Ainsley: I was told about a previous band that you had called "Another Fine Mess." So you want to tell me a bit about it, how long you guys were together?
Michael: Sure - "Another Fine Mess" was about 1988 till about 1995. It was a kind of a punk band, it was more like a pop band soaked in beer...really, when you boil it all right down.
Ainsley: What kind of music did you play, the same thing like TWENTY6HUNDRED now or has it evolved since you've grown over the years?
Michael: Not really. I guess, sadly, I have been writing the same songs for the past twenty years.
Ainsley: Is there any specific inspiration for the songs that you write?
Michael: Not really. It just sort of comes out in spirts. I don't know; you could say all that stuff like I channeled something or something took me over. I look at song writing more as like diarrhea...you hope its solid , but you're just shitting stuff out.
Michael Atkinson of the band TWENTY6HUNDRED!
Ainsley: So it's more like just like what's in your mind and life experiences that you write about.
Michael: Soon after I write, total brain dumb on a song I can't even remember what its about anymore. Its more like that moment in time.
Ainsley: So more like therapy within yourself.
Ainsley: Why did you guys separate or break up (i.e. "Another Fine Mess"). Was there just regular "run of the mill?"
Michael: Money, money pretty much did us in. We had spent about six months in studio working on our fist CD after almost eight years together and when it came time to get mastering and CD production done, the band would not sign any papers we sort of blew up under the pressure..on stage.
The Band in action
Ainsley: Did that experience help you prepare better with your new band mates. I know it was more like a "Hey lets get together and make music and see what happens!"
Michael: Absolutely! I learned not to give in to impulse in this band - apart from artistic impulse - but that whole panic impulse can be just that "unconscious saboteur." I don't know if you have ever experienced anything like that in your life; everything is going well and you just say "screw it" or "fuck it!" And just sabotage everything. And that's kind of what I felt happened to that band. So I was a saboteur and I don't want to be a saboteur, I just want to do a good job.
Ainsley: Is there many differences from the band that you had previously to your band now within the mates themselves.
Michael: Well, none of them are actual blood relatives and that makes it a lot easier. The drummer was my brother and the guitarist was my brother from another mother so...
Jim Burdon on Bass!
Ainsley: We are here at the Toronto Independent Music Awards. What do you make of all this?
Michael: I just want to play and have a good time and hopefully/maybe a few people will clap. I don't really think much behind that kind of stuff. It all about just making music. I "put up," is the wrong word...I will subject myself to the interviews and the photographs because this is what is getting me to pay the music, so... If I had my say - no offence - If I had my way and my say, there would be no cameras pointed at em an no microphones in my face. I would never have to talk to anybody it would just be "watch that guy on stage," And that would be the sum total of it. But there's a price tag with this stuff so I've got to pay the man..that man (points to Maurice Ali who runs the record label).
Randy Nolson On Drums!
Ainsley: Is this just a fun time for you guys or do you have any realistic goals, in the sense that if something does happen "where do we want to go with this," Or is there anything we are trying to achieve through this whole process?
Michael: If there was interest in the industry and the money to finance it we would totally go on the road, travel the world and that kind of stuff. But the days of a seventeen or eighteen year old stealing a car or whoring a car and traveling the country, I'm a little too old for that. I need a bank roll.
Ainsley: Is there anything you have come across newfound after making this record you didn't think you could do before? Like roads or bridges that you have crossed within yourself? Really, when you do these things, it is a piece of yourself going on record...right?
Michael: Well...there is a piece of myself going on the record. There's a piece of myself going on the website. There's a piece of myself going on the camera right now, there's photographs and I'm a real private insular dude who does not like his face out there with people knowing what I look like. So this stuff get kind of painful for me, but I'm having a good time still. As long as it stays about the music. This is just paying the cheque...
Wendel Shank on guitar!
Ainsley: And How are you handling all this stardom?
Michael: I don't consider this stardom. I wouldn't even know what stardom is. Its more like I keep circling the same thing, but I'm paying the check. Somebody wrote me a blank cheque to make the CD without actually checking the music to see if the music was any good. Just had some faith in me and I am just returning the favor by doing my part.
Ainsley: Well I appreciate you talking to me today and congratulations and good luck with your future endeavors.
Michael: Thanks Ainsley. Thank you very much!
Please visit TWENTY6HUNDRED's Website: http://twenty6hundred.com