Halfway Atlantic - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Patrick of Halfway Atlantic. We discussed the band’s origins, writing and recording their new EP, filming their new video for “Drop Dead”, how the band is keeping busy during the pandemic, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

Pat: Hey, no problem baby! It's still a pandemic, we got an excess of free time...

Can you tell me how you got together and formed the band for those who may be unfamiliar? How did you initially become interested in music?

After doing the band and touring grind, our singer Matt Warmuth recorded a solo EP in 2012. It really kicked off the sound of what the band would become, but he immediately took a hiatus to focus on school. Fast-forward to 2018 and Matt decided he wanted to try to get back into music. He asked his friend and former roommate Paul if he would play guitar. Then our drummer Sal reached out from California. He was getting ready to move to Austin, TX and recorded himself playing songs from the EP. Matt Bise joined via Craigslist, responding to an ad for a bass player. As a native guitar player, he had second thoughts and backed out, but the band really liked him so the 2nd guitarist position was born! I came in right after, responding to the same bass ad. The initiation was brutal, more hazing than an Alpha Delta frat. The good news: I don't really play guitar, so the boys are safe from another gotcha like Bise pulled. :)

You recently released the video for “Drop Dead”. Who came up with the concept for the video and what was the video shoot like?

Our friend Matt Bender came up with the video concept with Paul. Bender is the man. It was a single day shoot in two locations. The first is the red velvet space. It's a totally bizarre spot here in ATX - it's got this small junkyard of fun and weird shit outside then the inside is a small, hipster-chic room with a small stage, a few tables and the world's saddest and smallest bar counter. We shot takes of each member individually in that space. The secondary location was one of our garages where we shot playing together. We hung up some curtains on the walls and Bender lit the room with some different colors. And ran a bubble machine because why not? Three Matt's and one long day later we had ourselves a video! We made it fun, but our schedule was really tight so we were constantly rushing. The band spent the night decompressing in a pool, drinking beers and wine, and grilling leftover pizza. Pretty much a pop-punk cure all.

Do you enjoy making videos or do you find it to be stressful as well? How has the pandemic impacted your process?

It's definitely a stressful process, more so during the "new normal" COVID has provided. That was actually our primarily reason to shoot each member separately. Everyone was masked except for when being filmed. We all got COVID tests in advance for peace of mind when shooting the portions in the garage together. Bender filmed alone, but had some assistance from an awesome photographer friend Dom. Personally I don't love making performance videos, but we also haven't played a show in a year so playing together was nice, even if it was pretend.

The song is the title track from your ‘Drop Dead’ EP. Tell us more about the writing and recording process for the EP. How long did you work on it?

We literally had just started recording these songs when the pandemic hit, with lockdown right on its heels. It certainly threw a wrench in our plans. We ended up recording in our homes direct vs. a studio, which was our initial intent. We tested out a couple of different folks for mixing and mastering, ultimately deciding to work with Christoph Hessler. The full recording process took about 5-6 months. Most of the songs were relatively fleshed out, but we'd go back and forth on certain parts, trying different melodies, lyrics, solos, etc. Matt W. got it the worst - he had to record himself and turned his small closet (not a walk-in) into a makeshift vocal booth. He had to run in and in and out between takes, making the process waaaayy longer than it would usually be. Matt really likes to play around with his vocal  harmonies which is a pain when you don't have an objective party saying, "that's the one, we got it!" Take a listen to the vocals in 'Phantom Pain' if you want to get a sense of how layered things can get sometimes.

The cover image is interesting. I like it. What is the meaning behind it?

The art sort of just dropped in our laps, I can't even really remember how. As soon as we saw it we knew we wanted to use it as the album cover so we licensed the image. To me it feels like this amalgamation of this that shouldn't go together yet they do. This genre of music can be like that, too. We're a pop-punk band, so there's energy and anger, but we also have plenty of emo shit going on. I might be trying to connect two things that don't need to be. We thought it looked sick so we went for it!

You’ve shared a pop-punk quarantine Spotify playlist. Who would be on your ultimate pop-punk playlist and how have you been managing your time during the pandemic?

Yeah, I started to build this playlist one day when I was bored to death. I was "that kid" that made mixtapes and would make playlists for parties with way too much thought behind how each song transitioned to the next, something literally no one ever cared about except me. I've refreshed the playlist a handful of times to shake things up. Here's a playlist featuring 10 artists that are the holy grail of my youth through today. It's mostly 90s and early 00s heavy-hitters.

As a band we spent a lot of the early part of quarantine recording. We're totally DIY - I've been hustling trying to get more people hearing our music. I spent a lot of time on SubmitHub and pitching songs to Spotify's editorial playlists (and it worked!) Outside of my job, I've been doing puzzles, playing a lot of Nintendo Switch, and messing around with analog synths. Sometimes I'll put on an old horror movie muted and try to re-score it improvised as a challenge for myself. I've gotten into meditation and thought journaling as well. Take care of your minds, y'all!

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

My pleasure, thanks for the opportunity! The only other thing I'd like to add: I don't know who needs to hear this, but if you're thinking of ironically trying PBR coffee, don't. Just don't.

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