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- Genre: Pop, Rock, Alternative, Alternative Rock, Britpop, Dreamo, Emo, Experimental, Indie, Indie Rock, Math Rock, Pop Punk, Post Hardcore
Picture Atlantic is an American alternative rock band from Santa Clara, California, that has been active from early 2006.
Picture Atlantic was formed in early 2006 in Santa Clara, CA. The band was founded by John Tran and Ryan Blair, ex-members of San Jose Metalcore band Dance Floor Murder, as well as Patrick Chu of San Jose pop punk band October Sky. Unhappy with their musical situations in both bands, the three friends began to write music in Ryan Blair's Santa Clara garage. Seeking the vocal talents of a singer, they recruited longtime friend and musician Nikolaus Bartunek, who was at that time playing solo folk and acoustic music in Bay Area coffee shops.
In interviews the band has explained that the origin of the band's name was from their love of beach trips made in the summer, and a similar love for the song "Atlantic" by the post-hardcore band Thrice.
Change is Welcome (2006):
By late June 2006, the band had written enough material to warrant the recording of their first EP, Change is Welcome. The EP was recorded over the course of a single weekend at Castle Ultimate studios in Oakland, CA. During this period, the band went through numerous guitar players including past October Sky member Andy Tran, Chris Sturm, Kevin Davis, and Nick Dunn. The band also began enlisting the help of live keyboardist Brian Graves.
After having spent time on the road playing shows, the band developed enough material to record a full-length album. They headed back to Castle Ultimate to record Kleos. Shortly before starting the first session, Tran left the band to continue school. Without a drummer, the band continued production until Bartunek's friend, Rico Rodriguez, offered his services for the recording in mid-2008. The album was released on June 20, 2008. Seeking the finger talents of a guitarist, Hellam joined the band full-time as second guitarist, as well as Graves joining full-time on keyboard.
The album holds elements and themes having to do with Greek mythology, and takes the name Kleos directly from the Iliad. Bartunek has stated in interviews that "...the reason I chose kleos is, I think every musician, nowadays especially, wants to be remembered, and everybody is trying so hard to stamp their face on the music industry and not be forgotten."
During the initial release of Kleos, Picture Atlantic topped in Absolutepunk.net's Top 100 Bands of 2008.
In July 2008, one month after the release of their album, Picture Atlantic won the chance through the Bay Area radio station Live 105.3 to open for alternative rock act Coldplay at the San Jose HP Pavilion.
Shortly after, former producer and now guitarist Aaron Hellam parted ways with the band. Hellam remains the band's primary producer.
Dulce Et Decorum Est and When Everything is Numbers EPs (2010):
On April 21, 2010, the band released a new EP, Dulce Et Decorum Est. This EP was recorded solely by the band at Red Rock Studios in Mountain View, California. Headed by Bartunek and Graves, all engineering was handled by Graves, who had previously been an engineer for seven years at the same studio, and production was head mostly by Bartunek with input by Graves. This EP was originally intended to be a quick easy project, but became a much more expanded and arranged, and stripped down album. Taking its name from the poem Dulce et Decorum est by war poet Wilfred Owen, the album had a heavy influence and some lyrical references to World War I. Although a break away from their more arranged electric sound, the album still received favorable reviews.
At the end of 2010, Picture Atlantic released another EP entitled When Everything is Numbers, which was recorded by their friend, past band member and producer Aaron Hellam. This album featured more electric arrangements, and also brought the band into some new musical territory. Longtime drummer, Rico Rodriguez, and guitarist Patrick Chu departed from the band at this time bringing Picture Atlantic to a smaller line up of Graves, Bartunek, and Blair. It was at this time on March 11, 2011, that Picture Atlantic was announced as the winner for Best Local Band as voted by readers of MetroActive Magazine. Picture Atlantic was also included on Live 105.3's 'Top 20 Bands of The Bay Area' list for 2011, with favorable reviews.
The Amalgamash EP (2011):
On July 17, 2011, the group released The Amalgamash EP, which consisted of five previously unreleased tracks the band had recorded in 2010. Among the songs is the Christmas single, "Parliament of Two" and "I Am Not the King of Anything," which the band recorded during one day off on their West Coast Rumble tour in August 2010.
Digital Tension (2012):
On November 8, 2011, seeking the limb talents of a drummer, Daniel Hernandez Martinez was officially added to the band's line-up via announcements on the group's website.
On December 5, 2011, the band announced via their Twitter account that their next record would be titled Digital Tension, with a tentative release date for 2012. It has been suggested via the band's Instagram account that Aaron Hellam will again return to produce the record. Mention of Digital Tension was also made in a December interview with the music website 101 Distribution.
On March 3, 2012, Digital Tension's recording dates were announced via the band's Tumblr page, with the album to be finished in June.
Plans to begin recording the third Picture Atlantic album were announced via a post on the band's Tumblr page on September 19, 2013. The album has a tentative release of 2014, with the exact date unspecified. Blair confirmed that the band would continue to work with long-time produce Aaron Hellam for this record.
On October 4, 2013, the band posted a photo of their first production session of the new album on their Tumblr page. Following up with a post on December 12, the working titles of some songs were revealed, including "Evil", "Arabian Disco", "Sober Angel" and "Something New". The band would continue to demo in the studio with Hellam through March 2014.
On March 25, 2014, a statement by Bartunek on the band's Facebook page announced that Brian Graves would be departing the group, with a schedule of his last performances with the band. "This decision has been a long process for the band, but ultimately we all feel like this is the right decision for the band to make in order to continue on for the future," Bartunek explained.
Official tracking for the album began on July 12, 2014, announced via a photo on the band's Facebook page of Martinez preparing a drum set at Hellam Sound studios. Blair also used Facebook to announce the band would be releasing new music in the summer of 2014, specifically beginning in August.