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"The only truth is music." ~ Jack Kerouac

Columbus Bands

The Drive, Determination and Chaotic Nature of Atimera

Atimera (credit: Katie Spangler/Frame The Stage)

Words by Frank Nelson

Atimera is a post-hardcore band that has been in the Columbus music scene for about a year and a half, but you may know them by a different name: Make Them Believe. They decided to change their name earlier this year for a few reasons.

“Mostly it was to avoid religious connotations,” guitarist Mike Colletti remarked. So, what does the new name mean? Nothing. And that’s exactly the way they want it. “It is what we make of it. No one else can say it’s theirs. If you Google it, you find us.”

Lead vocalist Quil Seawright elaborated, “We’re not a religious band, and we kept getting show offers for all of these Christian metal shows, and we didn’t want to be pigeonholed in that way. We also had so many member changes at that point that it just wasn’t the same band anymore and we felt that we needed to start fresh.”

This doesn’t mean there will be a major change in the band’s core sound, according to Colletti. “Most of the music [for the EP] was written after we changed the name. We did kind of decide, after the name change, we were more okay with going a little bit heavier, while still keeping some of our more melodic songs, like That Ship Sailed, but still being able to do heavy songs like Captain Leeroy vs. Dr. Nightmare.”

Captain Leeroy also contains one of my favorite parts of Atimera’s new EP Am I Human. It features a sample of the opening credits of the children’s TV show SpongeBob SquarePants, right before a breakdown to end the album.  “That’s the best part of the show,” said Greg Teasley, the band’s bassist.

Seawright gave some insight to where the idea came from, saying “It’s a throwback straight to hardcore from 2006-2010. I was a hardcore kid back then, and it’s just an homage to that.”

Colletti went on to give a little background to how they picked that sample. “We went thought a couple different sound clips before we ended up on that.”

Seawright said it took a little bit of convincing. “There was still some debate about it, and Mike was skeptical about it at first. I just told him, ‘trust me, its gonna hit.’”

Colletti then explained the idea behind having such a diverse sound for their EP. “We like to have a variety in our EP, no one single song sounds the same. We don’t like to repeat the same verse.”

“When we’re writing new songs, if it even sounds similar to a strum pattern or even remotely resembles it, we will change it because we don’t want anything to sound identical in anyway,” said guitarist Justin Davis. “Even if it’s completely different and just one thing sounds the same, we’ll completely change it.”

Colletti went on to give me a little insight into their stage shows. “Even our set list is reflective of that. We start out heavy hitting and, in the middle, we try to bring everybody back, like That Ship Sailed kind of cools down for a second, it’s a nice little breather for us. We can still get heavy, but we have the verses that are chill, and it lets us sing along with the crowd. And then, the very next thing, Trapped in the Middle we’re right back at it with the energy and we can hit it with our hardest song to get people going. Everything we do is methodical. We plan out everything, we choreograph out live stage presence to make sure the experience is memorable”

“Well, not entirely,” Seawright interjected. “Well of course, there are elements where, I wouldn’t say ‘wing it’, but we just have fun. But there are things that we actually plan out to make sure it’s the best visual performance, that’s a big thing for us.

“The formula for our setlists, how we set out setlists up, is really key in order to get the most crowd interaction, as well as our movement on stage.”

Seawright said they had built their own light box to have different effects, and this adds to the environment and feeling of the shows. He also told me about their audio set up, which only needs to be plugged into the house speakers and turned up, everything else is controlled by the band themselves. The band tries to be as self-sufficient as possible with their live shows.

Davis told me they practice their stage set up and tear down, so they can be as efficient as possible in all aspects of the performance. Their current record is six minutes for a set up and six minutes for a tear down, which seems pretty damn fast to me, the uninitiated.

When talking about the venues they will be playing next, Davis only had one question. “Can I throw my guitar? Is there enough room for me to throw my guitar and not hurt anyone?” When I pressed about what part of the budget is intended to replace the guitars that are thrown, they went on to tell me that they’ve gotten the guitar throw down to a science. “We don’t want to make it look obvious that we’re going to throw them, to keep an element of surprise, but at the same time, we’re pretty confident that they’re going to stay on. We practice in the backyard quite a bit. We had a dummy guitar, but we’ve upgraded to real guitars even for practice now.”

With Atimera, every note is exactly where it should be, every part of every song is planned out immaculately. This is in stark contrast to a stage presence that includes throwing perfectly good guitars, jumping into mosh pits in the middle of sets, and breakdowns that get even the least enthusiastic crowds jumping. It is a fine line to walk to keep these two qualities in equilibrium.

Colletti gave me a slight peak behind the curtain. “Every time we practice, we practice like we’re on stage.”

“We run through every song twice,” Davis added. “Once for accuracy, the other time is for coordination. We might be practicing in a smaller space, but we still try to plan out at least approximately where we are going to be at and what we’re going to do.”

Colletti continued, “Before our major shows, we go to a mock stage. I have two webcams I set up and record one from an angle and one head on. We go through every song and we watch ourselves, and after we finish the set, we all sit down, we pick a person, and we critique, we see what they can do to make it better.”

“I thought I was in a professional band before, but once I joined these guys, I realized they’re just on another level,” said newest member of the group, drummer Josh Stroud.

Next, we talked about the inspiration behind some of the themes of their latest EP Am I Human and collaborative nature of the record. “We would sit and talk about drum patterns, sit and talk about chord progressions. We all collaboratively decided that we were going to have two guitar tunings. April is about suicide and suicide awareness. That Ship Sailed is about losing someone, specifically people close to us in the military, that’s what it’s driven by, losing someone overseas. And in parts of the song, it switches to the person overseas missing home and missing the people that they had to leave behind.”

Atimera takes personal loss very seriously, it’s a subject that is important to the band as a whole. They played a benefit concert for Dayton, Ohio earlier this year to help the families that were affected by the tornados that came through the city. Colletti told me how they became the headliners for the show, and what that meant to them.

“Bravo (Artists)posted about the benefit and we jumped at it. I have five years of experience with Bravo and they wanted us to headline the show, because they knew we had draw and they knew we could get people to the event and help as much as we could. It went really well. Outside of just ticket sales and out EP sales that all went to helping victims, they also took canned foods and supplies, which was awesome.”

The plan moving forward for the next year is singles and a music video. They also plan on expanding to regional tours. For the long term, though, things get serious. The band’s only thing in mind is getting signed and moving up the ranks to get on bigger tours and festivals.

Seawright boiled it down to a simple statement of fact. “We know for a fact we are going to make it. Faking it isn’t even in the vocabulary. If we know for a fact we’re going to be big and we know for a fact we’re going to get signed, then we need to embody that and believe that every day, otherwise, what’s the point?”

Their newest EP, Am I Human,is available on their website, as well as on all streaming platforms. You can catch the band’s clinically chaotic stage presence next on November 16 at The Basement, where they will be supporting Glasslands. Tickets are available through the band’s Facebook page and will also be available at the door the day of the show.

Atimera – Am I Human

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