Hello to everyone on this day November 11th as us folks in the USA are honoring veterans I want to say thanks to all service members all over the world. We all face very serious and dangerous enemies and we must unite. So lets get to the music scene as lots is going on. UK Music publishes Measuring Music 2015, an annual economic study that reveals the true scale of the UK music’s vast contribution to the UK economy. 2014 proved to be a buoyant year for music with increased growth across the sector contributing to a staggering £4.1bn overall contribution to the UK’s economy. That is so awesome! In other news, Billboard, the leading global destination for news, charts, trends and innovations in music, announced plans to create and launch the first ever “User Generated” chart in China with YinYueTai (YYT), a leading Chinese music video service with more than 50 million registered users and real-time access to music video data. Now lets get to my guest today who is a fellow New Englander by the name Atlantica Vox. Atlantica Vox is the solo project of Kyle Fiske. Not only do I like the music he is putting out but I also like how he went from putting out albums to releasing singles and offering a subscription service via Bandcamp. Join us today as we salute all veterans and talk to Atlantica Vox about Boston sports success, how did Kyle Fiske turn into Atlantica Vox, albums verse singles, and so much more!
Stoli: Where are we talking from today and will you dress up for Halloween?
Hi Stoli. I’m at home in Rockport, which is a quaint little seaside town in Cape Ann, about 30 miles north of Boston, MA. For Halloween, I’ll probably dress up in a shirt and tie, and pretend to be a middle-aged office worker. Which is pretty much what I do every weekday.
Stoli: Being that you are based in Massachusetts, are you a Boston sports fan like myself?
I am indeed. Wow, the last 10-12 years have been the golden age for Boston sports—it seems like something’s amiss if we don’t get a championship parade of some sort every year! The Bruins and Red Sox are my favorites, as I played hockey and baseball as kid. I watch the Revolution (soccer) and Patriots pretty faithfully, too.
Stoli: Are you nervous that we will have to endure another crazy winter like this year?
I can’t imagine that we’ll ever see a month like last February again, with those giant snowbanks everywhere. At least I hope not!
Stoli: Growing up how much did music play in your home and what two bands/artists did you grow up admiring?
I was a very late bloomer when it came to music. I really didn’t grow up in a musical household, and wasn’t interested in band or chorus in high school. My aunt Rita fronted a country rock band in Northern N.Y., and one Christmas my parents had her pick out a guitar for me when I expressed an interest. It was really my freshman year of college when I started playing seriously, and there I met a great friend who was a fantastic guitar player, and who liked a lot of the same music as me. He showed me how to play and use effects like all my favorite guitar players, and that’s when I started to take things more seriously.
What really got me into music was early MTV, and all the new wave bands they played. I’d watch those videos endlessly as a teenager! Especially bands like U2, The Police, Ultravox, The Clash, Simple Minds, Big Country, The Alarm, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths. I liked the way a lot of the new wave bands dealt with more interesting subjects than the tired old “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll”. U2 was overtly Christian, Big Country had a lot of traditional folk influences, The Clash was quite political. Those bands really gave me an idea that rock music was a serious art form. My musical tastes expanded after that, but music from that era is still my biggest influence. I also like classic country, synth-pop, rockabilly, Irish traditional, reggae and dub—lots of stuff. Regardless of genre, I do tend to gravitate towards tight, structured, melodic songwriting. I like the 3-minute single, not the 17-minute jam!
Stoli: So when did Kyle Fiske turn into Atlantica Vox and how did you choose that musical alias?
Well, I guess I had envisioned that I would just be a guitar player/songwriter in some cool new wave band. For various reasons, that never happened, but I was obsessed with songwriting and just learned to do everything myself—with varying degrees of success! Singing is indeed a challenge for me. For the name Atlantica Vox, among my influences there was Ultravox, and the fact that Bono of U2 was originally nicknamed Bono Vox. And I always liked the ocean, so Atlantica—and I just thought the name sounded cool, and linked me to some of my musical influences. And I guess I liked having some distance between myself as an individual and my music. Atlantica Vox is kind of an alter-ego, one that may or may not include other people in the future.
Stoli: You have released 2 albums and now you are currently releasing stand-alone singles every couple of months. I happen to applaud that model, but when & why did you decide to go that route?
A couple reasons. Of course the album format is simply less crucial in the music business today. People consume music differently than they did in the past, and not everyone is going to sit down and listen to an album beginning to end. And I guess I’ve always gravitated more towards writing catchy singles rather than doing some deep concept album, anyways. Also, I got a bit burnt out doing my last album, Lights and Rare Things, when I was doing EVERYTHING myself. It took much longer than I thought it would, and it was kind of exhausting. Doing singles is much more manageable and less stressful. And, my listeners get new stuff every couple months, instead of every couple years. I also figure that I can always put those singles together in a compilation album down the road if I’m so inclined.
Stoli: You are going to launch a subscription service. Explain how that came to be and how will that work for fans?
It’s a great new feature that Bandcamp is offering. For a small annual fee, a fan can get all of my back catalog, plus all my new releases, as well as exclusive content, like B-sides, live tracks, videos, etc. I think it’s set up quite well, and should be a cool option for fans.
Stoli: When you consume music what do you use most such as streaming, downloads, Youtube, etc?
I’m a bit old-school, in that the vast bulk of my purchasing and listening is still CDs. I usually browse and explore new stuff on Youtube or Soundcloud online.
Stoli: I love your song “Ovation” – https://youtu.be/2pRXqC7r08c. When did you write/record that and what does that single mean to you personally?
Thanks a lot—I like that one, too. I wrote that in late 2012, I think. I was really happy when “Ovation” was selected last year for inclusion in an online “mix tape” by The Joe Strummer Foundation, a London-based charity set up by Joe’s estate to support new music. It’s kind of a reggae/dub track, with some new wave influences. To me, the real trick of songwriting is to be inspired by your influences, but to not get overpowered by them. I love roots reggae and dub. But the reality is that I’m not a Jamaican guy living in Kingston in 1972. If I just try to sound exactly like King Tubby, it’s not going to come across as authentic at all. So I tried to filter what I like about dub music through my own personality, environment, ability and “sound”. I think The Clash were absolute masters of writing in different genres and with wildly different influences—but still sounding like The Clash. That’s something I aspire to. As far as the lyrics, like most of my songs they’re partly autobiographical and partly fictional. I don’t like to explain them in detail, as I think that takes away from the mystery. And stay tuned—I plan on releasing a full dub remix of “Ovation” in the near future.
Stoli: When you are not making music what other hobbies/interests do you have?
I like writing (mostly fiction), cooking, fencing, kayaking, martial arts, painting. I actually have too many hobbies that cost money and don’t make money!
Stoli: There is so much suffering, poverty, & violence in the world. How can musicians help ease the pain and what issue for humanity really concerns you?
Just to offer an alternate, positive vision, I think—to inspire the spirit. I’m a Christian, and while I don’t tend to write overtly “Christian” songs, I try to subtly insert my values and worldview in the lyrics. Just like religion, I don’t think music should align itself with a specific political movement. I really admire the way Bob Dylan resisted becoming a left-wing “spokesman” in the sixties. His values and worldview were more fully expressed in his music, not in his political party. A musician’s work should not be subservient to political ideologies, IMO. I know that artists like Dylan, U2, The Clash and Bob Marley influenced my worldview a lot, and in a very positive way—and they usually didn’t tell you who to vote for.
What issue concerns me most? In my opinion, the current trend towards political correctness and the fear of “offending” is already having an extremely detrimental effect on artists, writers and thinkers of all types. Freedom of speech means freedom to offend, if it means anything at all.
Stoli: What is coming up for Atlantica Vox and where you @ online?
More singles, a compilation album—and possibly some live dates, if I can rework some of my songs to be suitable for a live solo performance. I just did a collaboration on a cool track with the artist Open World, and will probably do some more video work with Daniel Andrews of Trickle Down Productions. I’m a very prolific songwriter, and probably have more than a hundred songs half-written. Finishing them is the hard part, however!
I’m online at: