I first met the lead singer Ted Atkatz at a Google event in Venice, California where he was playing with his band at the Google art walk and auction. We were both loving the massive real crab balls that were being served, and he later gave me some of his CD’s. I became hooked on his music as I repeatedly listened to his tunes in my car. Next, I saw him play at the Irish bar O’Briens, a small venue in Santa Monica. He reminded of the insane passion of Chris Martin from Coldplay as he jammed with an intensity on the keyboards, and at one point sent the keys and instruments flying everywhere! Some of my favorite tunes have to do with Office Days and quitting work to pursue your dreams. Other songs I have been hooked on include Surrender, English Song, 2X21, and Jilli.
Recently, NYCO played a networking event at the new YoutubeSpace LA, where everyone around me was stopping to actually watch the band because they were so good. “Who is this?” I kept hearing. Their haunting rifts and soulful lyrics will engage you. Lucky us, Ted Atkatz had some time for us to answer some questions.
Q: What does NYCO stand for?
A: NYCO stands for New York (from which Atkatz hails) and Colorado, the home of co-founder Rob Kassinger, who recorded and performed live with the group.
Q: What are you most proud of in your career?
A: I am most proud of the three albums that I’ve worked on with NYCO. To have my music out in the world is the most empowering feeling, and to have recorded my songs by a great band and great producers is something I’d only dreamed of in the past.
Q: What are you most proud of personally?
A: Personally I’m most proud of finding my way out to Los Angeles. It wasn’t easy to quit my job with the Chicago Symphony, but it forced me to find my way musically, and literally! My wife and I moved out to LA five years ago, and we haven’t looked back.
Q: How would you describe your music?
A: NYCO’s music is soul music trapped inside a rock band still in the shadows of the Beatles. I like our music to combine sweet and savory, and if we ever go too far in either direction, I try to right the ship quickly.
Q: What musicians are you influenced most by?
A: I’ve been influenced a lot by Steely Dan because of their complex harmonies and cryptic lyrics. Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello and Neil Young are some of my favorite songwriters. Lately the music of Phoenix has had an impact on me.
Q: What are your favorite LA spots to dine? Do you have a secret spot?
A: For lunch: Ramen Yamadaya in Culver City, for dinner: La Seranata in West LA for great Mexican seafood. My favorite secret spot is an Izakaya restaurant in Torrance; it’s secret.
Q: What is your favorite song of your own? Who is your favorite band?
My favorite song of mine is “The Making Of Our Film”, it’s simple and honest. My favorite band is either the Beatles or Tower of Power; if I could only see one of the two bands live in their heyday, it would be a tossup.
Q: What music you are hooked on now, besides your own?
A: Right now I’m checking out Tame Impala; I’m so impressed with how they combined old school rock with something that sounds so fresh.
Q: Would you like to tell us the meaning behind one of your songs?
A: OK, I wrote a song called “Chaos” that is the first song on our new record. The idea behind it is that we usually don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone, and when it goes, it can go in a flash. We also live in fear of catastrophe, so logically we should learn to love what we have before it goes away.
NYCO just released its third album – ‘Future Imperfect’. Ted Atkatz said he think it’s their best effort to date. The music incorporates more loops and electronic elements, but still has roots in pop and soul.
He said he gets asked all the time, “How do you get a record deal?” But these days, the major labels only back bands they’ve deemed “a sure thing” through focus groups and testing. The net result is less creativity in popular music. Alternately the labels sign bands that have already established a large fan base and have generated sales of their music.
Atkatz explains that their goal is for NYCO to be successful as an independent band and they would prefer if their efforts generate enough sales and exposure that they can make a living without a record label taking 75% of our revenue! “We are very proud of this release, and with your help, NYCO’s ‘Future Imperfect’ will be a success.”
It’s just $10 and every purchase goes towards making more music.
To purchase an MP3 version on CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/nyco7
To purchase an MP3 version on ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/future-imperfect/id585107857
To purchase a hard copy CD: http://www.nycomusic.com/category/shop/