Man at His Best

Welcome Back, Amateur Takes Control

Talking about the band's newest record and how they claimed a coveted spot at Laneway 2018.

BY Jonathan Fong | Jan 26, 2018 | Music

Behold! Amateur Takes Control have returned after a 3-year hiatus and delivered the first great Singaporean music release of 2018: ATC EP2. 

It’s been nearly a decade since their seminal debut album "You Me" and "The Things Unsaid" established the standard for Singaporean made post-rock. EP2 channels a band energised and refreshed, rocking out with a powerful sense of urgency through a concise four tracks. It’s a doozy, complex head-trip that veers from sounding frantic, menacing to emotional (in a great way), guided by precision and dexterity collectively.   

After an EP launch show at the Esplanade Annex and a slot on the line-up for St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore 2018, ATC have got a busy schedule ahead for them. Adel Rashid, the founder of the band, shares his thoughts on EP2, the band’s current line-up and the acts that he’s excited to catch at Laneway.

Congratulations on a kick-ass ATC EP2. How would you describe the writing and recording process? 

We felt [refreshed] after coming back from a long hiatus especially when we had Martin and Field join the band. At that point, the band hadn’t been writing music for three years so it felt like we were starting from scratch. Having said that, there was natural chemistry between the old and new members which made the song writing process more organic. The songs we wrote for the EP pretty much were written in a couple of months and went through some refinement during the recording process.

I’m personally a fan of EP2, due to how concise it is. Was it deliberate in planning? Do you have more unrecorded new material that might come out in the near future?   

It wasn’t a conscious decision to keep things concise. The tracks were written without any grand idea in mind and don’t really relate to each other in any way. We chose to release it in an EP format so that the four tracks could somewhat act as an introduction to this new incarnation of ATC. We spent the whole of last year recording the EP and playing a few big shows, so we haven’t really been writing but we definitely have some plans in the coming year to go back to the studio.

I’m sure the fact that EP2 drops close to 10 years after You Me and The Things Unsaid must come up in conversations and interviews. Do you reflect on each work and compare the past experiences and memories? 

The old songs and experiences that came with them still mean a lot to the members of the band who wrote them. Despite that, we’ve always been a band that moves forward. Ten years is a long time and Isa and I were only 18 at the time. We’ve definitely grown since then as musicians and our musical inclinations have changed. ATC EP2 is a new chapter for the band which just happens to be noisier and more aggressive.

With Field and Martin added to the line-up, how’s the camaraderie amongst the five of you?

We lucked out with Field and Martin. I didn’t think that they would have actually said yes to joining the band since they play for one of Singapore’s greatest rock bands [Caracal]. The five of us are very close and spend a lot of time together in and out of the studio. We pretty much hang out after practice and shows to talk about carpentry, personal grooming and extra-curricular studio activities.

How did the invitation to perform at Laneway 2018 come about and what are your thoughts and reaction to performing on such a large platform?

I book all the shows for the band and had sent in a one-sheet mid last year to [claim] a slot. The invitation to perform at Laneway came at the perfect time because our EP [came out] a few weeks before we play. We’ve never performed an international music festival before so it’s exciting for sure. Our music is meant to be listened too loud so being able to perform on a big stage feels right.

Who are you personally excited to catch or share the stage with at Laneway?

I can’t answer for the rest of the band but I think that these acts would be the top three (and we hope our set won’t clash with theirs): Slowdive, The War on Drugs, Anderson .Paak.

Lastly, any new year’s resolutions to proclaim or shout-outs to give?

To everyone out there: less talk, more music.

Amateur Takes Control will be performing at the Singapore leg of St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival on 27 January 2018.