Atlanta-based band, All The Locals are shaped and molded out of the very bricks that make up their Southern metropolis. With a soulful backbone, a rock n’ roll attitude, and a shaky blues breakdown of heartfelt lyrics written by John Schmarkey, these five locals, including their unique horn section and crew, bring out the best of Atlanta’s real image.
Living by the motif, “Everybody likes a new groove or place to hang out. So, why not where the locals go?” This band presents their lively persona in a sonic excursion set in their music.
In the depths of their most recent single, “Blown Away,” reverberated guitar chords chug along as All The Locals commence, the ethereal atmosphere radiated in this record. Recorded in the summer heat of 2020, the band touches on themes of making the best of any situation life throws your way. As they place prominence on their hope for the future with a lack of misunderstanding, we are greeted in the soulful grooves that create an infectious strobe of melodies delving into the significance of their tones.
Engineered and mixed by masterminds John Briglevich and Darrick Atwater, there is something so immense in the portrayed sound that All The Locals exude. The vibrations in each note that the horns emit, the mellow and soothing essence carried in the bassline, and the effervescent drum hits pulsing through your speakers, mesh together in an effortless manner as the opulent guitar chords and magnetic vocals coincide in what we call; utter bliss. The difference between good and great is in the details, and the effort put into this composition might as well be the sixth unspoken band member at this point because that is a more felt piece than heard.
All The Local’s leave a little piece of themselves everywhere they go, and that is a bread crumb that we would follow until the end of time.
It’s always a good time when we get to chat it up with you! Congratulations on the release of your latest single, “Blown Away.” Could you please take us into what the creative process looked like when you brought, “Blown Away,” to life?
The process was much like it always is with ATL, just with a side of pandemic. We have a good ole' time hanging out in the studio, and coming up with ideas as a group off the top of our heads. Often, a weekday night or a Sunday. Something interesting always comes out of nothing. Having good chemistry is something we take pride in as a band family. In the case of this song, our bass player (Glenn Stout), had an addicting bass line (the main chordal progression you hear), and we built off that. We recorded most of the song at Skytop studio below Ty Barksdale's house (ATL guitars and co-founder). The only thing we didn't record at Skytop was the drums (Justin Bradford), which we did with our producer and mentor, John Briglevich at Sonica Studios. After getting the core of the song down, we called in our incredible horn ensemble (Malik Henry, Michael Meo, Chandler Greer), and they did an amazing job over the course of a couple of sessions. After we tracked all the instruments and vocals (Nikki Brickhouse/John Schmarkey), we had our good friend and producer (Darrick Atwater, who also produced our track 'Fighting For') mix the tune remotely with us. The Lyrics (written by John Schmarkey/Ty Barksdale) for 'Blown Away' were inspired by a combo of a few thoughts. First off, the overall pandemic we're all facing..who knew going in, how we would be affected. I like going down a slide backward, but it's more assuring if you go down facing forward the first time around. Everyone went in blind through the storm and hoped to be led correctly. Whether you had a great year, terrible year, or both, how are you going to take what you've experienced or learned, and apply it moving forward? The song is a prayer with the hope that no matter what happens you can live authentically and your purpose be understood. The reference to the little bird, throughout the song, was inspired by a bird that was accidentally hit on a busy ATL street. "Why are you in the middle of the road when you could just fly..?" Sometimes we find ourselves jumping out of our norm to nourish what we need in life. We feel like many people this year contemplated what a new normal might feel like. But as in all life, good and bad times eventually get "blown away"...
Did you find that this creative process had any challenges that you had to overcome because of the time that you recorded it during 2020?
The creative process itself did not present any challenges, we can write a song in any paradise or storm. However, the production process was a little more lengthy because we wanted to have smaller group sessions, dates were rescheduled, people had health scares, and lockdowns created preventive measures. It was annoying and depressing that the music industry was screwed over. It is an industry that is already risky, everchanging, highly demanded, with very hardworking people who hustle. It wouldn't be as interesting or desirable if it didn't have these challenges, issues most people outside the biz do not ever consider. It's very unfortunate to see some friends, colleagues, or other creatives you look up to, forced to step back or even retire because of this silent stalking virus. Much like other industries, the music sector could really use some major bandaids, especially the venues, who have supported it for generations. Most of us in the group have been playing shows our entire lives, it was very strange to not perform publicly, and still haven't since March 2020.
How do you, as a band, know when a song is finished? What does it take for you to all say; ‘This is it!’?
A song is never really finished until it's set in stone or finally mastered. Rarely are the lyrics not amended or a musical element not altered throughout the process. Everyone in the group is very talented at writing and producing music, so we have some good brains in the mix to help paint the picture. The feeling of "this is it" typically comes at the beginning of the creative process, often when the band is in an ensemble and literally creating the idea off the top of our head. We know an idea is going to be worth working on or good when we can simultaneously feel the vibe or get it stuck in our head. It is one of the best feelings when creating a song. Much like catching a fish, there is a sense of accomplishment when you're able to create art out of nothing with a group of unique individuals. Most often, the song is created with the group improvisationally. We will record a demo, and then start finalizing individual parts. Often, Johnny, or in this songs' case, Johnny and Ty, will come up with the lyrics as the process goes on. The freestyled lyrics in early demos are interesting to hear because the song can either stay close to the original idea or stray afar.
What have been the best words of advice that you have received as a band?
The best words of advice were to "stay original artistically," "be kind on the road and never burn bridges in the business because it is often a small world." This advice has steered us to great connections, continued referrals, and a unique sound amongst other acts.
What do you want listeners to know about you and the music that you create?
We are an amalgamation of genres and vibes, often called alternative or roots rock. We are from Atlanta, hence our name, All The Locals.ATL. We remain original with writing while taking roots in genres we love, which you can find within our hometown. Another thing we want others to know is that we don't have a giant money pot, we're independently funded currently, and our fan base and sound is completely organic and not arranged or facade by anyone other than our own company. The sounds you hear in our songs were handmade. Lastly, we don't have any crazy egos, we love to meet our listeners and dancers at the shows. We may even invite you to our homes to the party (unless we're in a pandemic or something).