1. General formality since I know you very well, but for the sake of our readers could you care to say who you are and what you do?
I’m Luke. I play in Atomck and various other bands from time to time. I also make art, occasionally for other band’s album covers and merch.
2. Could you give us a bit of history surrounding Atomck?
We started up as a drum machine unit sometime around 2005 or 2006, I don’t remember exactly because Linus and I talked about it for ages and sat around writing material before we did anything live. Things went on like that for a few years until we eventually acquired a real drummer and adjusted our music to reflect this. We’ve toured Europe, UK and even managed to somehow play OEF.
3. Atomck were dubbed by Terrorizer as the UK’s answer to Discordance Axis, do you think this is an accurate assumption? And do you take any sense of pride In such a title?
Well it was nice to get even the most fleeting of mentions I suppose, I don’t read metal magazines so have no idea what kind of frame of reference they are operating under.
I don’t know how accurate a description it is- but it’s certainly an honour to be considered in the same bracket as that band. They were superb.
4. Many comparisons to your band have been drawn between Pig Destroyer, Discordance Axis and a few other out the box grind types, but what are your personal influences in your string work?
Lots of stuff really, I’ve liked guitar sounds as far back as I can remember- beginning with Iron Maiden in the 80s and covering all manner of stuff. I’ve been generally influenced by bands like King Crimson, Captain Beefheart, Napalm Death etc, I don’t get that into obsessing over the guitar styles or anything though- I think it’s the whole band playing that creates or lacks that vitality.
5. Personally when listening to Atomck I feel your work has a very unique vibe to it which gives you a very different edge to all other grind bands with the exception of Grindcore Karaoke peers Syntax of whom you are strikingly similar to, anyway is your approach to grind purposeful in its uniqueness or is the uniqueness more of a secondary byproduct to your approach?
I think it’s more likely a secondary byproduct of my approach, as you put it. I think very much in terms of putting a song together in a logical way, but without relying on the tired tropes so commonly heard. I guess it’s about putting out things we as a band think are worthwhile and original and not worrying about how that fits into some genre rules. I usually find the songs end up sounding a certain way regardless of my intentions, or the intentions of my bandmates, so I think that also supports the notion that it isn’t purposeful.
6. Is there any merit to my claims that Atomck are actually extra-terrestrial grinders?
Only time will tell. And space. Because they are the same thing of course.
7. I know you are a fan of Sci-fi, and I cant help but think there is an overall sci-fi vibe in your music, am I just making 1 + 1 to equal 3, or is there any sci-fi influence on your musical works?
There is certainly a sci-fi element to the themes and graphical presentation of the band, but I would not say it’s particularly evident in the music itself... in fact I’m not sure what that would even sound like anyway. Heavily psychedelic sound effects? Who knows. I’m interested to understand what about our given sound suggests sci-fi actually.
8. Can you reveal the secret between Linus’ extreme vocal range?
Yogurt drink, cheese and root beer. Ask him about it.
9. A few years back you broke out of being a drum machine act, and had the wonderful Marek of Hibakusha playing for you guys now replaced with Karl, what advantages both real and perceived do you think having a real drummer has done for you guys?
The most obvious thing is it made us into a real band. It was always a kind of ANb worship project before that, but once we had Marek things just built up their own momentum. Also he is very experienced at running a band (Hibakusha have been around Europe for 15+ years) and certainly injected a lot of know-how and organisation into the group. Plus he got us onto OEF.
10. You guys have been using the bandcamp to give free downloads of your music for many years now, given your time with bandcamp what can you say about the service and its influence on the independent music scene?
It’s a useful way to get people to hear your music and is easy to setup and operate. Beyond that I don’t know that is has had any impact on anything really. People spend too much time worrying about social networking strategies and not enough writing good songs or being nice humans.
11. On the subject of bandcamp you put out a year back a wonderful full length Yes to Alien Victory on Grindcore Karaoke, has this done much to bolster your popularity? And was the title often dubbed Yes to A.V a grinding nod to the failed Alternative Voting reform?
It was certainly about the sadly failed AV reforms. The UK is run like some sort of austere medieval practical joke. The release had a good amount of downloads and positive responses, beyond that I don’t know how much popularity it has brought us, or how one would even measure that? Paying too much attention to likes on facebook or similar seems like a waste of time to me really. If someone I don’t know talks to me about the band at a gig it’s usually in reference to some youtube footage they have seen, or less frequently about the 7” we released.
12. Shortly before your GK debut, you also put a split 7” with Paucities jumping ship from your previous endeavours of CD and digital releases to vinyl, do you feel this release as a rite of passage or a sign of more seriousness for the band’s commitment (given the cost of putting out physical), or do you have a “take it as it comes” attitude to your releases?
The honest answer is I prefer to release in formats people prefer to buy, because that is the entire point of having a physical object to sell in the first place. With the grind audience that’s vinyl, which is cool with me. A cd release certainly seems less ‘special’ via it being commonplace technology, but ultimately it’s about creating something nice that people want to buy from you.
13. On the subject of releases you have two in the works, what can you tell us about them?
We recorded an entire album with Marek about a year ago. We did it because he had to leave us and return to his native Czech Republic so we felt we wanted to capture that lineup properly. We can’t afford to put it out properly so it will probably go on bandcamp soon. After that we have a couple of splits to organise with some very good UK bands.
14. As already seen last year was a busy year, putting out a vinyl release, full length on Grindcore Karoake, numerous shows, but you also did a Euro tour with your grindbrothers The Atrocity Exhibit, what was that like and can we expect to see you back on the continent for another bash at a euro tour?
It was great fun, travelling from show to show with good friends and basically not giving a fuck about anything for a couple of weeks. Like having a holiday in a dream about being a rock star.
We’ll tour Europe again as soon as possible basically. Get in touch, world.
15. Any funny tour/gig stories you can tell us?
Isn’t there a popular platitude that gets trotted out here? Something about what goes on tour...
16. You guys have played a lot a lot of gigs in your time, playing with luminaries like Weekend Nachos, Insect Warfare, Bloody Phoenix and Wormrot to name but a few, could you tell us from a first person perspective how you feel the live scene has changed?
When we started out the only gigs we could get onto were metal oriented, and no-one came to those shows. Gradually we became a better and better band and people got more responsive to what we were doing and started to care whatsoever. Then eventually we found a suitable audience somewhere between the metal and punk scenes. I guess it comes down to fashion really, the Weekend Nachos gig was rammed full of teenagers who I would not normally see, and that is good because it’s a better opportunity for a good time than playing to the same five college bros every week.
17. Aside from being a round about town grind man, you are also a professional artist by trade what can you tell me about that?
I’m perpetually broke and tormented, of course.
Also anyone interested can have a look here: http://lukeoram.com
18. Do you think there is any correlation between artists and musicians or quality of musicianship?
Not really, other than both benefit from a disciplined approach to practice and get any good at the respective technical aspects. Music is a far more spontaneous form of expression that painting, and they come from very different places within me.
19. Who or what would be your immediate influences when it comes down to your art?
Many things, British comic book and fantasy art of the 80s was my primary exposure to art and I guess that is fairly evident. I also have great respect for the classical masters, vorticists, abstract expressionists etc... it’s a language with many pleasant dialects.
20. Having followed your art work for a while (and for those who didn’t know he made the Grind to Death part of our logo, the other parts being consensually approved from MITB and Backslider accordingly) your artwork often incorporates themes of fantasy, does literature play a big part in your creations?
I’d say so. I love reading all kinds of books; folklore, sci fi, factual science stuff etc, I just have a general interest in things and influence flows naturally from that. I draw what I imagine, I don’t consciously apply a style attribute to it beyond selecting a technique or method of production that I think will suit.
21. You have also made an award winning film and worked for TV, what can you tell us about them, and do you crafting static images or animated ones? And tell us the legend of this elusive L. Dram
I studied animation at university, my 3rd year project went on to win a couple of awards and stuff. This was obviously very nice but I haven’t animated anything since as I have been unable to find work in that field. I’ve done all kinds of jobs in the film/tv production world over the years.
These days I prefer to make static art as the working style suits me better - getting on with it by myself etc. L. Dram started as a ‘tuttle/buttle’ style confusion (from the film Brazil) and was spread over the internet by my own university via their press releases about my film award. It seems the surname ‘Oram’ fosters only confusion, despite being a mere four letters.
22. In your opinion what are some home acts our readers should be keeping a keen eye on?
All of them really, people need to get over this obsession with American bands being more legitimate, but if you are looking for a list of cool groups then check out THE ATROCITY EXHIBIT, HUMAN CULL, SHOOT THE BASTARD, FETUS (although I wish they would use the English spelling) CHRIST, SELFLESS, HUMAN JUNK, VICIOUS BASTARD, GETS WORSE, HORSE BASTARD and many more.
23. Random Question: David Cameron comes at you with a machete, your choice of weapon are Rock, Paper or Scissors? Which do you choose and care to narrate how you kill him off?
Paper. I’d write ‘state benefits for the disabled’ on it, he’d been too busy trying to take it away to attack me then.