Maps & Atlasses - Photo by Chris Hainey

Photo by Chris Hainey

Prog rock or post rock or math rock or pop? Chicago based band MAPS AND ATLASES brings a lot of styles into their music, all with humor and the ambition to entertain. Last Month we had the chance to catch them on their tour through Germany with their 2012 released longplayer Beware and Be Grateful. We talked to singer and guitarist Dave Davison about art schools, work flows and a sudden passion for tennis.


Information about you always points out, that you all met on art school. What exactly did you study?
I went for cultural studies actually, Erin and Chris studied film and Shiraz studied sound engineering.


Was there ever the ambition to do a special interdisciplinary art project? Like a short film with self made soundtrack or something?
Yes of course, I would love to do that, Erin has made several of our videos and also directed our most recently video for Fever, and Chris helped with this videos too. So, I think in that way we realised that, and Shiraz recorded our first songs, what was definitely helpful. So working on a short film would be something i’d love to do.


Did you learned something helpful in art school, outside the typical studies, that you can use for your work as a musician? Like a special way of project management skills or something about your own workflow?
Especially when our band started it influenced our way of combining and employing all our ideas. When I was in school I took a lot of art history and theory classes, that still helps me today to refine and express my ideas. On the other hand, the band always worked really well as an extracurricular ground for trying out ideas and thoughts.


Do you believe in music as a real full time job?
[one_half last=”no”][/one_half]

I’m definitely enjoying being able to do it, I never really think about it as a job or a career. But in a lot of ways, once you start touring enough, it’s kind of difficult to actually have any other job which is more continual. We toured a lot and had all sort of crazy jobs but the last few years I’m sometimes just home for three weeks or something, so who will give you a job for three weeks? I’ve barely thought about it as a job but I guess that’s the sign of having a good job, it doesn’t ever seem like work. There are bad days as well as good ones, ups and downs, but mainly it’s a gift.


Your new record brings a bit more pop appeal. Even if it’s sometimes harder to manage all your ideas in a pop song than play an expansive Postrock tune, fans of earlier experimental stuff could be a bit disappointed maybe. What do you think about this kind of difference in writing pop music?
Already when we first come together, just  jamming, we have the desire to make everything fit in a kind of package, that people hopefully can connect with. It has always been a challenge to us, driving our music to something more experimental but stay accessible on a high level too.


What do hope and passion mean to you?
I guess it’s hard to say what both mean. What I like about a lot of my best friends and people I care about, is how passionate they are. And also just like the fun aspect of life is getting people fired up about stuff. Like you like listen to a song and you love it and then you want other people to listen to it and getting them fired up about it. That kind of passion, like where people are just so excited about things is such a reviving quality to be around. I really love being around people who can be passionate about anything. Have you heard about the author David Foster Wallace for example?


No, not really.
He wrote these essays about tennis and he played tennis when he was young and he just loved it. And his essays about tennis are just so passionate, using all this technical terms about tennis. And I know very little about tennis, but just hearing him be so passionate about gets me pumped up. Like I seriously wanted to play tennis the next day. And I tried. So regardless of the subject, just the fact that someone is able to be so passionate about something is what feels good about life.