Interview: Singer and songwriter Tim Atlas on “All Talk!”, competing on The Voice and his upcoming national tour

Singer and songwriter Tim Atlas grew up in California’s Bay Area and recently made the move to Los AngelesHis groovy, R&B-infused, indie pop sound features layered guitars and heartfelt lyrics, which he says take influence from artists like Hall & Oates, John Mayer and Phoenix. 

Featuring the single “Compromised,” All Talk! is the newest release from Tim Atlas. He’s supporting the new EP this summer during his first ever headlining national tour. Before Tim heads on the road, he took some time to talk with us about his love of photography, moving to L.A., and what to expect from his upcoming tour.

You’re about to embark on your first headlining tour — what should fans be expecting?
We’ll be playing the whole record along with a few live tweaks. It took a long time to land on the All Talk! sound, so we’re also doing our best to tell the whole story, which means we’ll be throwing some older tunes in the set as well. This is my first headliner, so I’m hoping to give people an experience they can immerse themselves in for a good 45 minutes. Fans should also be expecting new merch! We had some exclusive tour shirts printed along with the limited edition vinyl press, stickers and lapel pins for sale at all the shows.

Is there one city or venue you’re most looking forward to?
This is a tough one. We have so many cool support acts, and we’re hitting some of my favorite US cities. If I had to choose, I’d have to say Chicago for this tour. I’ve never played in that city, but I love it every time I visit. Portillo’s is calling my name. 

The tour is supporting your new EP, All Talk!. What inspired the record and what was the production process like?
All Talk! was a project we worked on for over a year and a sound we kind of just stumbled upon. When I brought “Compromised” to Jesse Barrera’s studio, The JB Cave, I wasn’t sure who I wanted to be as an artist. But as we developed the song further, we realized this was the sound most natural to us. From there, we dished out four more songs pretty quick. It was like something clicked, and we ran with it.

The production process was just fun. We were always switching instruments and keeping our minds invested. If I couldn’t come up with something on bass, I’d pick up the guitar or the keys and Jesse would grab the bass. We messed around with analog synths and tracked a lot of stuff live. Some days, nothing would come out & we’d just hang. Other days, we’d pump out a whole song in a few hours. Just that sense of balance throughout our whole process made for a healthy creative environment.

How did competing on Gwen Stefani and Pharell’s team on The Voice shape or affect your career? Are you still in contact with people from the show?
Being on The Voice was… a trip. Some good, some bad. Would I ever participate in a singing competition again? “Yeah, that’s gonna be a no for me dawg.” But I will say that it made me a better singer and it gave me the courage to move to LA and put my talents to the test. I’ve produced a bunch of songs for contestants on my season and made some great friends. I’d be surprised if Gwen or Pharrell remembered me, but I hope we cross paths again someday in a setting where I’m not singing for my future.

You grew up in the Bay Area and now are based in L.A. What differences do you see in those two music scenes?
The Bay Area will always be home and there’s so much talent in that pocket of California. The music scene still has a bunch of cool bands popping up, a thriving hip hop scene, and I still go to Outside Lands almost every year. I think the move to LA was just me needing to be somewhere else to reset my mentality & to put myself in situations that wouldn’t normally arise in the Bay Area. LA is a gigantic hub for the music industry, so this is where the meetings with industry folks happen. There are also a ton of writers and musicians ready to hop in the studio and write. To make myself easily accessible to these things has been awesome for my career.

Your single “Compromised” has blown up on Spotify, amassing over 12M streams. How has the success of that song changed your career?
That song has allowed me to move in a direction that I think I’ll love til I’m old and gray. My story is still unfolding, but I’m glad Compromised has at least put my foot in the door for what’s to come. Seeing people sing that song at shows in places I’ve never been is the best feeling.

Can you talk about your history with photography? What did you like to shoot and do you continue to do much photo work?
In college, I had to make a choice between majoring in photography or music because I quickly realized business was not for me. Decided to pick photography because I was already seeing it in a professional aspect – I was interning at weddings, working in a portrait studio, and doing contract jobs here and there. I slowly started experimenting with a surrealist approach with portraits and also loved landscapes. Fell in love with film. Immediately following college, I landed a job working for an online retailer in the Bay Area. It came with benefits, dental, the whole nine yards. I knew my mom would finally feel at ease knowing that I had security. But after a while, I felt a hole in my life. I was still being somewhat creative, but there weren’t enough hours in a day to pursue my music. I became depressed, started underperforming at work, and eventually became a drag. So life started pointing me in a different direction, and I just decided to listen. So I quit my photography job and decided to pursue music full time. And here we are! A few years later.

Today, I’m so consumed with music that I don’t pick up my cameras as much as I should. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t utilized that skill set! I design of 90% my art work and merchandise, and I directed/shot my music video for “Compromised.” Everything happens for a reason, and I’m always thrilled when these two mediums cross over.

After this tour, what’s next for you?
More touring & more writing. Just going to keep creating and doing the things I love.

Tour Dates:
June 17 – San Francisco – Bottom Of the Hill – TICKETS
June 20 – Los Angeles The Peppermint Club – TICKETS
June 21 – Chicago – Beat Kitchen – TICKETS
June 23 – Philadelphia – The Barbary – TICKETS
June 27 – New York City – Rockwood Music Hall – TICKETS
June 29 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East – TICKETS

For more about Tim Atlas, visit timatlasmusic.com

Brian Benton
Brian is the founder and editor of Respect Your Youngers. He currently lives in New York City, and previously lived in St. Louis and San Francisco. He enjoys public transportation and coffee, and can be found online at brianfbenton.com

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Interview: Singer and songwriter Tim Atlas on “All Talk!”, competing on The Voice and his upcoming national tour

Singer and songwriter Tim Atlas grew up in California’s Bay Area and recently made the move to Los AngelesHis groovy, R&B-infused, indie pop sound features layered guitars and heartfelt lyrics, which he says take influence from artists like Hall & Oates, John Mayer and Phoenix. 

Featuring the single “Compromised,” All Talk! is the newest release from Tim Atlas. He’s supporting the new EP this summer during his first ever headlining national tour. Before Tim heads on the road, he took some time to talk with us about his love of photography, moving to L.A., and what to expect from his upcoming tour.

You’re about to embark on your first headlining tour — what should fans be expecting?
We’ll be playing the whole record along with a few live tweaks. It took a long time to land on the All Talk! sound, so we’re also doing our best to tell the whole story, which means we’ll be throwing some older tunes in the set as well. This is my first headliner, so I’m hoping to give people an experience they can immerse themselves in for a good 45 minutes. Fans should also be expecting new merch! We had some exclusive tour shirts printed along with the limited edition vinyl press, stickers and lapel pins for sale at all the shows.

Is there one city or venue you’re most looking forward to?
This is a tough one. We have so many cool support acts, and we’re hitting some of my favorite US cities. If I had to choose, I’d have to say Chicago for this tour. I’ve never played in that city, but I love it every time I visit. Portillo’s is calling my name. 

The tour is supporting your new EP, All Talk!. What inspired the record and what was the production process like?
All Talk! was a project we worked on for over a year and a sound we kind of just stumbled upon. When I brought “Compromised” to Jesse Barrera’s studio, The JB Cave, I wasn’t sure who I wanted to be as an artist. But as we developed the song further, we realized this was the sound most natural to us. From there, we dished out four more songs pretty quick. It was like something clicked, and we ran with it.

The production process was just fun. We were always switching instruments and keeping our minds invested. If I couldn’t come up with something on bass, I’d pick up the guitar or the keys and Jesse would grab the bass. We messed around with analog synths and tracked a lot of stuff live. Some days, nothing would come out & we’d just hang. Other days, we’d pump out a whole song in a few hours. Just that sense of balance throughout our whole process made for a healthy creative environment.

How did competing on Gwen Stefani and Pharell’s team on The Voice shape or affect your career? Are you still in contact with people from the show?
Being on The Voice was… a trip. Some good, some bad. Would I ever participate in a singing competition again? “Yeah, that’s gonna be a no for me dawg.” But I will say that it made me a better singer and it gave me the courage to move to LA and put my talents to the test. I’ve produced a bunch of songs for contestants on my season and made some great friends. I’d be surprised if Gwen or Pharrell remembered me, but I hope we cross paths again someday in a setting where I’m not singing for my future.

You grew up in the Bay Area and now are based in L.A. What differences do you see in those two music scenes?
The Bay Area will always be home and there’s so much talent in that pocket of California. The music scene still has a bunch of cool bands popping up, a thriving hip hop scene, and I still go to Outside Lands almost every year. I think the move to LA was just me needing to be somewhere else to reset my mentality & to put myself in situations that wouldn’t normally arise in the Bay Area. LA is a gigantic hub for the music industry, so this is where the meetings with industry folks happen. There are also a ton of writers and musicians ready to hop in the studio and write. To make myself easily accessible to these things has been awesome for my career.

Your single “Compromised” has blown up on Spotify, amassing over 12M streams. How has the success of that song changed your career?
That song has allowed me to move in a direction that I think I’ll love til I’m old and gray. My story is still unfolding, but I’m glad Compromised has at least put my foot in the door for what’s to come. Seeing people sing that song at shows in places I’ve never been is the best feeling.

Can you talk about your history with photography? What did you like to shoot and do you continue to do much photo work?
In college, I had to make a choice between majoring in photography or music because I quickly realized business was not for me. Decided to pick photography because I was already seeing it in a professional aspect – I was interning at weddings, working in a portrait studio, and doing contract jobs here and there. I slowly started experimenting with a surrealist approach with portraits and also loved landscapes. Fell in love with film. Immediately following college, I landed a job working for an online retailer in the Bay Area. It came with benefits, dental, the whole nine yards. I knew my mom would finally feel at ease knowing that I had security. But after a while, I felt a hole in my life. I was still being somewhat creative, but there weren’t enough hours in a day to pursue my music. I became depressed, started underperforming at work, and eventually became a drag. So life started pointing me in a different direction, and I just decided to listen. So I quit my photography job and decided to pursue music full time. And here we are! A few years later.

Today, I’m so consumed with music that I don’t pick up my cameras as much as I should. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t utilized that skill set! I design of 90% my art work and merchandise, and I directed/shot my music video for “Compromised.” Everything happens for a reason, and I’m always thrilled when these two mediums cross over.

After this tour, what’s next for you?
More touring & more writing. Just going to keep creating and doing the things I love.

Tour Dates:
June 17 – San Francisco – Bottom Of the Hill – TICKETS
June 20 – Los Angeles The Peppermint Club – TICKETS
June 21 – Chicago – Beat Kitchen – TICKETS
June 23 – Philadelphia – The Barbary – TICKETS
June 27 – New York City – Rockwood Music Hall – TICKETS
June 29 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East – TICKETS

For more about Tim Atlas, visit timatlasmusic.com

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