MUSIC FEATURE: Five Minutes With…a-tota-so
A band not afraid to experiment, instrumental math/noise rock trio a-tota-so invited vocalist friends from the UK and Irish music scene to feature on their new album Lights Out – something that fuelled them on over the last two years. We caught up with guitarist Marty Toner following the release, to discuss the band’s formation, influences, ambitions and more.
Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and your band.
Hi I’m Marty and I play guitar in a-tota-so. We’re usually an instrumental band playing math/noise rock kinda stuff with a grunge vibe, our new album features loads of our friends from the UK and Irish music scene on vocals this time round though, which has been very exciting and fuelled us on the past two years.
How did the band form and how long have you been together?
We formed around 2011 as a two-piece. Jamie used to play in Cheap Jazz and I used to play in a band called Alright the Captain. We used to tour together a lot and Jamie and I lived together, so we decided to write a bunch of songs together as a two-piece just for fun, but when both our main projects took a bit of a break we decided to focus more on this and we got Chris (also from Cheap Jazz) to join us on bass, to fill out the sound a bit more, in 2016 I think.
Can you remember the first time you realised you wanted to make music?
When I first heard Nirvana, they definitely inspired me to teach myself how to play guitar and start a band. We also had a load of cool local bands like Gardenia, Pepperbook and Yakuza who showed me that it was possible to start a band, even if you did grow up in rural countryside Ireland.
Who and what are the band’s main influences?
We all listen to wildly different music, which I think helps with our sound a lot as we aren’t trying to do any one thing in particular. I’m probably the one who listens to the most mathy/ experimental stuff, while Chris listens to a lot of northern soul and Jamie listens to a lot of classical music, so it’s an eclectic mix of stuff.
What do you aim to achieve as a band?
We just enjoy making music together and making noise in front of people. It’s a great way to travel, we’re really missing touring Europe at the moment as we generally tried to get out there as much as possible before COVID, so hopefully that will be back on the cards again soon.
For those who are yet to see you live, what can they expect from an a-tota-so show?
You might get a noisy punk rock show, you might get a quieter, more chill show, you might get no singers or you might get six! At this point we’re gonna take each show as it comes and see what happens.
What’s next for a-tota-so?
Our new album, Lights Out, was released on 11th March 2022 via bUTTONpUSHER. We will be playing at Strangeforms Festival in Leeds next month too.
a-tota-so‘s new album Lights Out is out now via bUTTONpUSHER, available to purchase HERE.
See a-tota-so live at Strangeforms Festival in Leeds on 24th April 2022.