Circuit Sweet Interview, Feature, Reviews


September 9, 2018

Photo by I C Things

a-tota-so; a sublime and promising math rock/ grunge band from the East Midlands are certainly no strangers to Circuit Sweet and September will be a monumentally rewarding month for the trio. Having formed in 2016 as a result of bands Alright the Captain and Cheap Jazz going on hiatus. The trio are set to release their debut album on 17th September 2018.

Formed just a couple of years ago and remarkably in a short existence of time toured all over the UK and mainland Europe and played at festivals like ArcTanGent and Strangeforms. Supporting bands like Tera MelosAlpha Male Tea PartySix Hands (Belgium), Memory of Elephants, Chiyoda Ku and loads more.

At the end of April, start of May the trio put together a indiegogo pledge/campaign to get their musical dreams become a reality- their album pressed onto vinyl. The hard hitting three piece smashed their target in no time at all thanks to their dedicated fans. Their debut album will be released September 17th and you can get your hands on the physical release via Buttonpusher, Lonely Voyage Records and from our shop shelves.  We’ve known the respectable musicians and this outfit for some time and we are thrilled and honoured to be associated with this highly anticipated record.

The Derby based supergroup feating members of Alright The Captain and Cheap Jazz have created one of the most vital records 2018 will hear. A pivotal record for any math rock fans/ any fan of experimental music simply to indulge in. They’ve worked hard to create an explosive and truly compelling 9 track album that will instantly captivate it’s listeners from the first note. With Marty on Guitar, Chris on Bass and Jamie on Drums; together they move you throughout their progressive arrangements. It’s cleverly crafted intelligent instrumental music- they’ve honed their skills to create music that’s moving and melodic. The three musicians work well together, which is not only captured effortlessly in their album but also visible to witness in their unpredictable and enthralling live shows. a-tota-so are a utopian mix of math rock, prog rock, dynamic experimentation and they fuse their punk rock ethics and grungey attributes so favourably.

The journey this band have been on hasn’t been all smooth sailing but what they’ve endured has reflected into a flawless record.  The debut album documents a yin-yang year that included the band being robbed of all their gear as well as dealing with personal loss and lots of big changes in life, counteract that with monumental festival appearances (ArcTanGent) and an incredible European tour with Chiyoda Ku. The record captures emotional intensity, survival and uplifting direction.  This record is not only worth the wait, but it’s just the beginning for this act. A vividly expressionistic must hear album.

Debut Album Track Listing

1 – Black Market Broccoli
2 – Tea Leaf
3 – Double Deaf
4 – Notionology
5 – Acer
6 – Long Run
7 – Box Elder
8 – Future Finger
9 – Clever Liver


With the release just days away, we spent some time chatting to a-tota-so to discover more about their inspiration, their album release excitement, live shows, vinyl format and much more…

You really don’t need an introduction to our readers, but this is a new venture for yourselves with the forthcoming debut album release so give us a recap of a-tota-so, who you are, your musical talent and your latest journey.

Hi we’re a-tota-so from the East Midlands – Marty Toner (Guitar), Chris Marsh (Bass) & Jamie Cattermole (Drums), we formed in September 2016 and we’ll be releasing our debut album on the 17th September after taking hiatus’s from our other projects Alright the Captain & Cheap Jazz

A-tota-so came together a while ago whilst members of Alright The Captain/ Cheap Jazz were quietening down with those outfits- When you sat down and this new act was born, what did you originally want the band to convey and do you think you’ve achieved this?

We just wanted to carry on making music, there’s nothing in this world that would make us want to stop making noise but one thing we didn’t want was to sound too much like our other bands so initially we tried a 2 guitar and drums format and just sacked the bass off, it didnt take too long before we realised we needed the bass to thicken things up so we kinda forced Chris onto bass duties and we’re all much happier with the overall sound now.

What are your collective influences that you’ve portrayed within the style of your music? 

We all listen to a lot of different kinds of music but collectively we have a lot of love for bands like OXES, Chiyoda Ku, Giraffes? Giraffes! and loads of the grunge classics so they all make their influences known at times within our sound.

Casting back to when you were creating the record (it feels like a long time coming), enlighten us on your writing process and how you utilise your workmanship, what roles within material making did you all take? 

When we’re writing Marty generally brings a lot of the basic structures and ideas to the practice room and then we all get our heads together and expand upon those ideas until we’re happy with the end results, it takes us a while but being asked to play ArcTanGent last year really gave us something to work towards as we only had one demo online when they got in touch with us and it really forced us to get our shit together.

Tell us about the recording process 

We were still playing with the two guitars when we started recording the album at Nice weather for Airstrikes Studios so we headed into their residential studio and blitzed our way through everything live before doing any overdubs. This meant we did it without a click track much to Pete’s (Lambrou) annoyance. It wasn’t until we started mixing those initial recordings that we realised it was missing out on all the low end so we made the decision to go back to Snug Recording Co in Derby to work with Rich Collins (You Slut!) and re-record all of Chris’s parts on bass instead. We instantly knew we’d made the right decision doing so and are much happier with the end results now.

In terms of the record, what was the passion/inspiration behind each track that made the cut?

We just wanted to make a big, noisy record with plenty of hooks for people to latch on to and i think we’ve managed to get that across on this album, it’s much more stripped back from our previous bands and has more of a 90’s grunge vibe mixed with mathy riffs.

What does the final finished album mean to you and what do you feel the self titled record captures?

(Marty) : It’s a very personal album for me.  When ATC went on hiatus I felt a bit lost as we’d been doing that intensely for 10 years and that was my main focus for so long.  Jamie and I knew we wanted to carry on making music while Todd had some well earned rest so we started a-tota-so pretty quickly. After maybe our second or third gig we were robbed off all our gear which we then had to replace bit by bit just so we could carry on writing and prepare for ArcTanGent festival, then not long after ATG i lost my Dad unexpectedly and spent a lot of time back in Ireland before we started recording the album.

The track “Acer” in particular I had started writing as a sort of lullaby for my Godson Cillian but I ended up finishing writing it while my Dad was in hospital, his passing affected me deeply and I felt like I needed to do something as a little gesture for him and to put something out into the world in his memory.  The photograph we ended up using for the album cover is actually one my Dad took back at our house in Ireland and the release date is also his one year anniversary.  It was definitely a bit of a coping mechanism for me and got me through some tough times.

It’s going to be nice to finally have some new music out there after whats been a strange two years.

(Chris) : It’s also the first musical project I’ve been involved in that’s actually been released on Vinyl so i’m really chuffed to have this album out!

Which has been your own personal favourite track taken off the record?

(Marty): Black Market Broccoli and Acer are my favourites on the album.

(Chris) :  Notionology because i’m way more comfortable on the bass now and it’s a fun one to play live and Clever Liver because it was one of the first songs that we did together and i think it has a little bit of all the musical styles that we do within it.

(Jamie) : Tea leaf and Box elder are good  examples of Marty’s catchy noodling at its best. We found that if there’s a stupid idea you can’t stop coming back to, you may as well make a song out of it

With the forthcoming new release you’ve  joined forces with Lonely Voyage Records, Circuit Sweet and your own Buttonpusher- how did the collaborations come about? 

We’ve known all those guys for years and it felt like the right time to work together on a release so we just had a chat and everybody was on board with the idea so we went for it and now it’s a reality.

Since you announced details for your highly anticipated self titled album, how have you found the response of the record so far?

The response to the indiegogo campaign was great, we didn’t know how it was going to go as we are a new band in a country that’s filled with amazing math/post-rock bands so to have that level of support from the get go was really encouraging. It’s blown our minds that we’ve sent vinyl out to Japan, America, Canada and all over Europe before it’s even officially released. We just hope people are going to like it now 🙂

The physical release is being unleashed to the world September 17th, although some lucky people have already got their hands on the LP at ArcTanGent. Tell us why vinyl format you chose was right for you.

We’re all avid record collectors so we really wanted to put the album out on vinyl, it just feels more special to us as a format and you tend to sit down and actually listen to an album the full way through.

Are you currently supporting the release with any live shows? (If not do you have any planned)

We’ll be playing as many shows as we can from October onwards including Upgefukt Festival in London on 20th October and the Hockley Hustle Festival in Nottingham on the 28th October. There are lots more dates still to be announced too but if anyone does want us to come play for them we’d love to hear from you as we’re always on the lookout for new shows.

Tell us again where we can get/hear the record in September? 

The album will be available from Lonely Voyage Records, Circuit Sweethttp://a-tota-so.bandcamp.combUTTONpUSHER and of course all the usual places like Spotify, Amazon, iTunes etc from the 17th September

We wish all three of you the best with this standout release, we’ve watched you work so hard over the years and we hope that so many can discover this record. Any final words?

Yeah, come catch us at a show and say hello. We love meeting new people and bringing our noise to new places so don’t be shy 🙂

And again a huge THANK YOU! to everyone who helped us out with the indiegogo campaign, This album now exists because of your help and support.

a-tota-so debut album out September 17th via Buttonpusher, Circuit Sweet and Lonely Voyage Records

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