TMF meets Maps & Atlases

Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Maps & Atlases managed to find their way onto these shores last October to release their debut album Perch Patchwork which, somewhat appropriately, was at times a patchy effort but undoubtedly opened our eyes to their potential. Fresh from playing a five-date UK tour and releasing their latest single 'Living Decorations' this week (reviewed here), guitarist Dave Davison gave us five minutes of his time for a quick chat.

We like to have fanboy-esque knowledge of bands here on TMF, so can you tell us how you guys met?

We all went to Columbia College in Chicago. Chris and Erin had known each other from High School and they put up ads looking for musicians, which is how they met Shiraz. Erin worked with one of my friends at a record store so I had actually heard that this band was forming and looking for a singer/guitarist, but then Erin and I ended up having a 'Philosophical Issues in Film' class together and meeting through that.

You want to describe your sound to a stranger on the street, who do you compare yourself to?

That's always tough, usually we'll just say that we're experimental or progressive rock rather than comparing ourselves to other artists.

Would you say that your music has evolved over the years through the EPs and leading up to your debut album?

I think that we have been evolving toward making interesting, but accessible and fun songs that technically help us to grow as musicians.

Was the process of making your debut album, Perch Patchwork, a smooth ride or were there bumps along the way?

Obviously there are hurdles in any artistic endeavor, but for the most part it was a smooth ride. Jason Cupp, who produced the album, is a lot of fun to work with and is very talented so it was easy to try all types of things we'd never done before.

Does making a full-length album differ greatly to the process of making an EP, or is it just a case of creating more tracks?

I think it depends on the album. The process for making Perch Patchwork differed from the EPs that we released previously in that we were trying to make the record work as a full piece in addition to the tracks working independently, but there are certainly great albums that are just a collection of songs.

If we’re not mistaken, the majority of you have been involved in side projects, would you say that they have helped the band develop musically?

Definitely, in order for a band to grow I think that it's important for the individuals in the group to understand and explore their own musical identities.

You’ve played one of the biggest music festivals in America in SXSW, any plans to perform at one on our shores?

I really hope so, we have heard so much about how great the festivals here are so we'd love to experience some first hand.

On the subject of festivals, which three bands, current or split-up, would headline your dream festival?

The Talking Heads
Neutral Milk Hotel
The Smiths

You’ve toured with the likes of Rx Bandits and Foals, but what would your career highlight be so far?

We feel really lucky to have met and toured with so many bands that we love and to have gone to so many interesting places that it's really hard to decide on one specific highlight.

Looking into your crystal ball and to paraphrase Noah & The Whale, where do you see yourself in five years time?

It's really hard to say, I will definitely be making music and hopefully continuing to travel and do fun things.

Finally, and arguably most importantly, if we were to look at your MP3 player, what is the most embarrassing track or album we’d find?

I wouldn't necessarily be embarassed by any of the music on my Ipod. I've got a lot of 90's alternative hits on there which to some might be a guilty pleasure, but for me I genuinely, really enjoy.

Perch Patchwork is out now

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