Kansas City alternative rockers Attic Light are gearing up for a new tour and EP release. The quartet consisting of Nathan Bowman (vocals, guitar), Michael Pittman (guitar), Patrick Rippeto (bass), and Joseph Dillman (drums) is known for its energetic and eccentric live performances, and the band has carved out a loyal following throughout the Midwest. While prepping for the upcoming tour (which will stop in Des Moines on February 12), Bowman carved out a few minutes to answer a few questions for AXS. Here is that interview.
AXS: How did Attic Light get its start?
Bowman: Before Attic Light, I was doing the singer/songwriter thing at coffee shops and open mics. One day, I decided I wanted to start using an electric guitar and adding more instruments to the songs. The first person I contacted was our bassist Patrick. He and I have been playing music together since high school in various projects. Through some mutual friends, we met our first lead guitarist and drummer and just started writing together. After about a year of hitting the Kansas City club scene, we decided to record our first record, Different Shades of Black. Michael and Joseph, our current guitarist and drummer, joined after that record was finished, just in time for our first tour in 2014.
AXS: The band is set to release a new EP entitled Exile. Tell readers about the new material and how it is different from the music on Different Shades of Black.
Bowman: Well for one, Michael and Joseph aren’t on the first record, so you’ll notice a different style of drumming on Exile as well as guitar from Michael. Different Shades of Black was self-produced by [the band] in a studio in Kansas City. We were in and out of the studio in a day or two, so the compositions are simpler, and the production is less complex. For Exile, we had the privilege of traveling to Nashville and working with producer Dohse in Left Plus Right Studio. We slept in the studio for a week, experimented with new sounds, worked with a great production team, and had time to be more creative in the studio than before. You’ll definitely notice the synths and keyboards in Exile that aren’t in the previous record.
AXS: When will fans be able to pick up a copy of Exile?
Bowman: The full EP will be released on March 18th. The first single, “Exile,” will be out January 15 to coincide with the start of the tour, and the second single, “Whiskey Love” will be released on February 12.
AXS: Tell fans a little about the tour.
Bowman: We toured in 2014, but since we began work on Exile, we haven’t been doing many shows, so we are itching to hit the road again. Touring is the best. Our mini-van was [previously] owned by a soccer mom so nobody messes with us—it still has the sticker of her kid’s team on the back window. The kid’s name is Erwin, so we named the van “Erwin.” The first leg of the tour coincides with the two single releases. We’ll be traveling through Texas for the first time, so we are looking forward to that. The tour will really kick in after the album release when it warms up a bit more and allows for better traveling.
AXS: What is the craziest thing that has happened at an Attic Light show over the years?
Bowman: [There are] too many to count. Once, we had a Minneapolis show that was double-booked. We had our gear on stage and ready to go, and 20 minutes to start of show we were told to take down our gear and leave because the other booking reserved the entire building. Out of sheer luck, a random person at the venue had his own show that night a block over, heard we were touring and got screwed out of this show, and offered to let us play his show instead. Another time in Minneapolis, we stumbled into a foam party at a club called “Gay 90’s” where one of us (I won’t mention names) met a girl and decided he didn’t want to drive home with us that night, insisting we leave without him. I picked him up at a Greyhound station two nights later in Kansas City. Something weird always happens when we’re in Minneapolis.
AXS: When you aren’t working on Attic Light music, whose music are you listening to?
Bowman: I’m not just saying this because of recent events, but David Bowie is a big one. My favorite record to listen to on the road is Ziggy Stardust. The late 70’s Berlin Trilogy stuff influenced not only the music on Exile, but the design and concept work as well. Prince and Depeche Mode are probably my favorite things to listen to. As far as more recent bands go, I really dig D’Angelo and Muse. I love music with a good dance beat.
AXS: After the Exile tour and release, what is next for the band?
Bowman: The Exile tour is really going to pick up after the release in March, so we’ll be spending most of the summer touring and hopefully doing some festivals. After that, we’ll start writing again and hopefully be back in Nashville sometime next year to record the next record.
Those of you in central Iowa can catch Attic Light at Lefty's Live Music in Des Moines on February 12 with local openers Aquamarine Dream Machine and Audio Curve. The 21-and-over show will kick off at 9 p.m., and there will be a $7 cover charge at the door. To learn more about Attic Light, check out their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.