Atomic Tom looks to blow up alternative rock charts
Lead singer Luke White discusses newest single, life on road
Since forming in Brooklyn in 2006, Atomic Tom steadily has been ascending to the top of the alternative rock world. Bolstered by radio-ready hit single "Take Me Out" and a clever viral video, the foursome's first full-length album The Moment garnered international attention and comparisons to Franz Ferdinand and The Killers. tableau caught up with lead singer and guitarist Luke White as the band tours the nation and adjusts to life as rock stars.
tableau: First off, congratulations on all of your recent success. How have you and the other band members [guitarist Eric Espiritu, bassist Philip Galitzine and drummer Tobias Smith] handled your rise to fame?
White: It's been good; everybody's handling it really well. It's great that we're in the back of a lot of people's minds, but we still want to get ourselves out there on the road and get ourselves on the forefront of people's mind.
tableau: How did you get the idea for playing "Take Me Out" on iPhones in a New York City subway car and posting the now-famous video on YouTube?
White: Well, we released the single in April 2010. We realized we had to create our own story; the environment in the music industry today is one where if you're not the top group you have to really put yourself out there to get the music heard, so we came up with the idea of playing our single on our iPhones. We wanted to do a public performance, and we found a B-train in New York City that goes over the Manhattan Bridge with a six-minute interval in between stops. The reaction was a lot of fun - we were definitely not expecting the reaction we got. We were expecting 10,000 views or so, but now it has over five million views on YouTube.
tableau: What is your favorite part about making a living as a musician?
White: It's definitely playing shows. Being on stage, there is a certain thrill to reaching out to new fans with performance and that interactive element. They're reacting because you're performing. There's an energy that you can't get anywhere else, and it's very spiritual and unique. I love that aspect of what we do.
tableau: How did you get involved with the soundtrack for Take Me Home Tonight, the upcoming romantic comedy starring Topher Grace and Anna Faris?
White: My manager called me and said, "Hey Luke, could you create a demo for how Atomic Tom would do [Human League's 80's hit] 'Don't You Want Me?' by 3 a.m. tonight?" I crammed until about four in the morning, and then sent it off to production. It was fun doing a cover of a song that we all enjoyed from that era.
tableau: What are your upcoming plans?
White: We're always working on new music and going into the studio to cut a couple songs. Really the goal for 2011 is to tour our asses off and keep playing the United States and reach out to as many people as possible. Basically, we want to conquer the music world. We want to be playing in arenas, and I think we have the right sound to do that.
Atomic Tom will be playing [at] Jammin' Java in Vienna, Va. March 4. The Take Me Home Tonight soundtrack drops March 4 as well.