If Tim Atlas were an element, it’d be air. As swift as his style, Tim delivers music that gently invites listeners to explore his inner thoughts along with their own. There’s an ease and warmth to his sound that is achieved through his songwriting and composition capabilities, which allow him to create immersive and wholesome projects, such as his recent EP, QUOTA. This project showcases and capitalizes on his talent for storytelling and grooves, each song blending seamlessly to the last. Aside from perfecting his craft, Tim is on a constant mission to keep evolving his art to the next level in order to keep connecting to what makes him the strongest – his fans. Read along as the soulful singer-songwriter opens up about the origins of QUOTA, how he found inspiration in the midst of the pandemic, VR technology in music, and more. Check out his EP here.
Who is Tim Atlas and how did you come to life?
Hi! I’m an artist/producer from the Bay Area currently living in LA, and I came to earth by way of my immigrant mother and my adopted father. I like to think I had a pretty well rounded upbringing in a musical sense. My dad played guitar and sang at church, my mom loved karaoke and started listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving & after New Years, and my sister locked herself in her room listening to RnB slow jams. On the opposite side of that wall would be me with my grandpa’s ancient acoustic guitar attempting to play songs like Beat It or Tears in Heaven. Fast forward to 2021, I’m still that same kid mesmerized by music writing songs in my bedroom.
Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest visual, social, and sonic influences?
I think my sound is just a result of all the phases I’ve had in my life so far. From trying to form a hip hop/jazz act to screaming in rock bands to stealing indie music from my friends iTunes library. I don’t think too hard on “the sound” and it sort of formed itself. When this project started to take shape, I loved Feist and I loved Phoenix. Aesthetically, sonically, these were my favorite sort of soundscapes. And today, I’ve only leaned into a lot of those elements and the things that I love to hear in music. So along with those acts, i found a love for older funk bands like The Gap Band or Hall & Oates. Visually, Prince always comes to mind with his ownership of colors. Purple is such an extension of his artistry, so I really like to take a color or a color palette and commit to it.
What does your typical songwriting/production process look like? Is there a set formula or does it consistently evolve and shape-shift along with your ideas?
Always evolving. It also depends on the setting, the people I’m with. For me, it’s just important to shake things up because I tend to get too comfortable with a specific process and the songs all start to sound the same. So sometimes I’ll build out the production to establish a vibe and then eventually write lyrics, and other times, I’ll just pick up a guitar or a keyboard and close my laptop because I feel myself too focused on a screen and a grid.
Was there a definitive turning point in your career? When did you realize the magnitude of your impact within the industry/community?
My definitive turning point was when we made Compromised. It was a moment where I felt truly fulfilled in the art I was making & it was only validated by the streams at the time. I’m continuing to grow as an artist, but at that moment, I felt like I could make music like that forever.
You released an EP last Friday, major Kudos to you. – Tell us about QUOTA. What does the title signify? Where did the inspiration for this collection of work arise from?
Hey thanks. QUOTA refers to the shared experience we all had in the last year. The span of emotions and spiritual growth we all faced & the light we can sort of see towards the end of this era feels full circle. I wanted to make a record that represented different phases of the last year and a half, and so this record has some pop leaning, some indie leaning, some funk leaning.
You are quite the believer in cutting edge music technology such as, VR, that allows artists to creatively expand on their vision while also connecting to their fans in an authentically innovative way – Can you elaborate more on your experience with VR and in what ways you envision it will take music to the next level in 3-5 years?
Being an artist doesn’t stop with the music. Technically, you could still make music and not go down the artist path. So as an extension of my artistry, I thought creating something immersive and engaging would only allow people to view this record as a world and as an experience. Things like VR & NFTs & other digital mediums are just more canvas space to paint. I hope these things just become more accessible to artists in the next few years so they can better tell their story.
In what ways do you wish to inspire up and coming artists/producers that are aiming to get their creative work out into the world?
I hope I can inspire other creatives to be bold in their choices – to try new things & do away with the fear of vulnerability because hard work and good art eventually doesn’t go unnoticed. I think I’m preaching to myself when I say this.
As we’re coming through the other side of the longest & darkest tunnel, how are you planning to propel your career forward in 2021?
During the release of this EP, I’ve been in the studio making the follow up so I’m really excited for people to experience this one and eventually witness the growth I’ve incorporated in future releases. Also really looking forward to touring and getting to meet some of the people that have supported my music 🙂
Is there anything on the horizon that you can share with us?
Not going to get too specific with this one, but we’re looking at some US shows in the near future, some alternate versions of songs from QUOTA, and as always, more new music in the queue.
Take a chance now and manifest something:
I will travel to at least 3 countries in the next year!!
Any last words for the SPIN-verse?
Thanks so much for having me & supporting this record. Means the world. Hope you see some of yourself in this.
Check out Tim Atlas’s exclusive live session below. For more SPIN Sessions, head over to SPIN TV.