Maps & Atlases
is, in a word, eclectic. Citing influences from Ornette Coleman to Jethro Tull to David Bowie and coming together from all corners of the country, the quartet’s mutual love for classic rock and layered guitars converged while attending school at Columbia College in Chicago. They generated quite the buzz after their debut EP Tree, Swallows, Houses
and eventually signed with Sargent House. After re-releasing their debut, they released their follow-up EP You and Me and the Mountain.
National tours with the likes of Frightened Rabbit
and Ra Ra Riot
followed, which eventually led them to be signed by Barsuk Records (Death Cab for Cutie, Rilo Kiley, Ra Ra Riot etc.)
Since Maps & Atlases’ 2006 debut, their songs have slowly progressed from a type of experimental “math rock” (as the pros like to call it) to pop sensible songs with a flair for technicality—pop songs at the core disguised by layered instruments and mixed meters.
Lead singer and songwriter Dave Davison is one busy guy. He is at once writing and touring nationally with Maps & Atlases while working on his side projects Cast Spells
and Hey! Tonal
, and still finds the time to maintain his crazy awesome beard. In between Maps & Atlases’ tour with Frightened Rabbit and their upcoming summer tour in support of their new record Perch Patchwork
out June 29th, Dave found some time to talk with us about past tours and who they’re ideal tour-mates are. Check it out!
MD: When did you guys start touring?
DD: We began playing shows in fall of 2004, but since we were still in school we weren’t able to tour until our spring break in 2006.
MD: How often do you tour?
DD: We have been touring more regularly in the past two years, at least a few weeks every month or two, but we still like to make sure that we keep it fun and don’t over do it.
MD: What are some of your favorite venues or regions to play in?
DD: There are specific spots in almost every city and region of the country that we’ve played that make us excited to come back. We really try to seek out local places to eat and hang out in every city in order to get a better feel for each place.
MD: A lot of bands say that writing music and touring are two separate entities. Do you ever write on the road? If so, do you think writing while on tour is easier or harder than writing at home?
DD: I have definitely written some songs on the road, but don’t necessarily know that it is easier or more difficult than writing while at home. I think that any place has potential to be inspiring and interesting, and we have had a lot of strange experiences that I have tried documenting in songs.
MD: How do you guys occupy yourselves while driving from city to city?
DD: We listen to a lot of books on tape, comedy albums and podcasts to pass the time. One of the benefit of listening to books on tape is that it really feels like you are making progress on long drives.
MD: Who are some of your favorite bands that you’ve toured with?
DD: We just finished touring with Frightened Rabbit which was really fantastic. Touring with Ra Ra Riot last fall was a great experience as well as touring with Foals in the US and UK.
MD: If you could choose one artist or band to go on tour with, who would it be?
DD: There are so many bands that we would love to tour with. We have played a couple of shows with Deerhoof, a band that we have all collectively enjoyed for years, and we would love the opportunity to do more shows with them.
MD: What can fans expect from your live show from the upcoming US dates? Will you be playing songs off of your upcoming LP Perch Patchwork?
DD: We will be playing old songs and the whole new album and we are very excited about it!
Bonus: Check out this awesome video of Dave playing “The Ongoing Horrible” way back in ’06. Pure talent.