HOW DID YOUR NAME ORIGINATE? Jamie Smith (Vocals): There were a few options kicking around in the beginning on the first iteration of what Atarka should be called. We settled on ‘Golgotha’ for a while but the more we said it the less we liked it. The idea was to come up with a name that would actually catch on, so when we were brainstorming, the lads and I would often use the potential name in hypothetical scenarios to see what sounded the best, for example “Hey dude are you coming to *band name* show tonight?” or “Mate, *band name* new song is out have you heard it?” Our bassist Adam is one of those huge nerds, the kind that is into table top card games and in particular, Magic the Gathering. I gravitate more towards comic books and movies for my escapist media personally, and wasn’t particularly aware of any of the cards. But, there was a grim looking dragon card he brought to my attention called “Atarka the World Render”. The name Atarka was an instant win for me, so we tried it out in those mock conversations I mentioned, it worked, it stuck and now it’s our name. - WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST GIG AND HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE THERE? JS: We played our first gig in the smaller of two rooms at KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton - not far from our hometown. It was a battle of the bands type setup, so there were a fair few people in the house which was relieving. We had all been in bands since our early teens and had vivid memories of playing those gigs to the other members of the bands on the line up, the sound engineer and our girlfriends so playing a debut gig to a decently packed out room was pretty refreshing. I am rather self critical - it’s one of my more toxic traits. So I wasn’t expecting people to latch on to us as much as they did, but from that very first show onwards the reaction and energy we have been getting from people absolutely blows me away. - WHEN WAS YOUR LAST DAY OFF AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH IT? JS: I don’t take many “days off” - I can’t recall the last time I had a day where I did nothing, as it drags my mood down if I start to feel unproductive. As I answer your questions now, I have half my shift booked off at my day job and will be making my way to a gig this evening to catch up with old friends. - WHAT IS SOMETHING - APART FROM YOUR PHONE OR WALLET - THAT HAS TO BE IN YOUR VICINITY AT ALL TIMES? JS: I run on nicotine. I use an electronic cigarette, and it may as well be surgically attached to me. I have come to conclusion that it’s not actually an effective means of kicking a smoking habit to be honest, because it is literally just replacing it with more nicotine, and I’m potentially now more addicted to that than I ever was to cigarettes. I can imagine people do a double take if they walk past me and the boys while I’m vaping because it’s like, on the surface, here are these five chunky intimidating Viking looking bastards…but they all smell like strawberry muffins and popcorn, so I suppose if nothing else, I exist to challenge people’s perceptions. - WHICH SONG BY ANOTHER ARTIST DO YOU WISH YOU'D WRITTEN? JS: Any Christmas song…seriously. Think about it - if you write a catchy Christmas tune you’re set for life, because every December those royalty cheques come in and your laughing. I bet you Noddy Holder doesn’t need a day job. The man has 11 months out of the year of doing whatever he wants, safe in the knowledge that every December he gets a big fat pay day from all the collective royalties of Slade’s Christmas song being played over and over and over, it’s absolutely genius. I’m sure you were hoping for a deeper deconstruction of a classic song that I wish was mine, like Stairway to Heaven or Bohemian Rhapsody, but I’m afraid the temptation of that Christmas pay day is just too great for me. - WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST SURREAL FAN MOMENT? JS: To be honest - for me, every show is pretty surreal once I step off stage and join the crowd, because everyone who enjoyed us wants to tell us that they did, and because I’m the frontman, they perhaps see me as the figurehead, and specifically approach me to offer their feelings of enjoyment. The fact that people are interested in our music to begin with is surreal to me, but I radiate a different personality on stage which is this hyper aggressive and ultra confident person, but in reality I’m fairly reserved and very socially awkward, so as I’m walking through a packed crowd of bodies, I get sweaty half drunk strangers that are coming up to me, shaking my hand, screaming in my ear and giving me a hug, I really never know where to put myself in that situation. It spikes my anxieties because I am terrified of coming across as rude to them when this happens because all the support is of course humbling, and I love that they enjoyed the set but I am SO awkward, and panic every time this happens, so people who don’t know me could easily misinterpret that. My default is just to smile, thank them and hug them back.
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