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Bradford Cox, one of “indie” music’s most prolific and experimental songwriters and performers of the past few years, has been making music under the Atlas Sound moniker since he was in sixth grade, in his Atlanta home, and after recording hundreds of songs equally melancholic and manic, he finally released his first full-length album, Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel, this Tuesday (as in yesterday) to deafening music media praise.
With his band Deerhunter taking a well-deserved break, Bradford is hitting the road with a brand new band and will be at the Backstage of the Black Cat tomorrow night. BYT sat down with him to stream a few songs, and ask a few questions about the difference between his two bands and how living under a microscope can change you.

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BYT: Bradford, you’ve been recording under the Atlas Sound name for years, what was the inspiration to finally release a full-length album after all this time?
Bradford Cox:
Probably just boredom. I was not very fulfilled with playing the same Deerhunter songs every night. It is harder for me to get together with those guys to write new stuff. I just got tired of waiting for that to happen. I found out about better sounding ways to record that were not very expensive. Things I could do at home all the time. It just seemed easy and doable.

BYT: Is the album a sort of greatest hits collection of everything you’ve done up through now? Or was this all new material assembled over a short span?
BC:
All these songs were written together to be an “album” with the exception of a couple that are versions of songs that I had worked on before. Those songs are “Recent Bedroom” and “After Class.”

BYT: There are definitely some sonic similarities in what I’ve heard between Atlas Sound and Deerhunter, but how would you describe the difference between the two? And why did you choose to record these particular songs on your own instead of with the band?
BC:
They are just different. I can’t really explain why. That’s a really popular question, and its a very good one. I just don’t have a good answer. Maybe Deerhunter is headed in a more “rock” direction and these songs are more “far out.” I just record on my own and if it sounds like a Deerhunter song I’ll usually save it for Deerhunter.

BYT: Was this purely a solo album, or were other people involved? What was the process of putting this album together?
BC:
I made it all on my own in my bedroom. Just making it up as I went along. My friend Brian offered a lot of advice on the computer stuff that I wasn’t that used to. My friend Lockett has a two-second guitar sample on there.

BYT: I just saw on your blog that you’ve recently assembled a band for the Atlas Sound tour. Your other band is notorious for putting on some pretty wild live shows, what can we expect from an Atlas Sound show?
BC:
Its just gonna be friends of mine playing the songs with me. No stupid tricks. It will be fun. Don’t expect anything “controversial.”

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BYT: You’ve experimented some with ambient music in the past, but how does one even conceive an ambient song? The whole concept is a complete enigma to me. Please help me solve this mystery.
BC:
You smoke a joint and think about the quality of light from middle school.

BYT: You’ve started to craft a pretty unique sound for yourself that has definitely evolved in the last few years. What has inspired you, musically or otherwise, to take your music in this direction?
BC:
I’m not sure if there is one particular sound I go for. I like so many different things and I am terrible at decision making. I have found on the whole that I like more “traditional” things or “mainstream” things lately. Certainly not mainstream things from this era, but like David Bowie or Echo and the Bunnymen or Nirvana or whatever. I’m not so much into harsh noise (unless its buried in a pop song) or super artsy things.

BYT: You received a heavy dose of criticism last year both positive (for your music) and negative (for some stuff I won’t go into). Has being in the public eye changed your approach to making music at all, knowing that everything you release, do on stage or write will be more heavily scrutinized?
BC:
It just makes me want to make quirky pop music. I don’t want to make stuff just to alienate people but I don’t sit there thinking about what people want to hear when I’m recording. I guess I don’t really know. I don’t have any rock star fantasies.

Well, for someone without rock star fantasies, Bradford is certainly doing well at being one.
Befriend Atlas Sound on myspace
and check him out live and kicking at the Cat on Thursday

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