Exclusive Interview: The Cartographer talk writing and recording “Mind Atlas”!

The second of our two interviews with Derby Tech-Metallers The Cartographer sees them joining the likes of My Latest Failure, Penny Coffin, Akkadian and of course Weaponry in talking about the method behind the madness, the work that goes in behind the scenes when it comes to writing and recording their precious works. They’ve delivered the goods with their new EP “Mind Atlas“, it comes highly recommended by us and they deserve all the plaudits they get for it and you only need to hear first single “Overcome” to understand why. But it’s not just their own work; they had a trio of guests on board for it in Ash Currie (Vantablack, ex-Sworn Amongst), Patrick ‘Patch’ Pinion (ex-Carcer City) and Dave Stewart (ex-Skies in Motion, ex-The Cartographer). Here’s what they had to say…

How does the writing process of a new The Cartographer track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? “Our writing process usually starts with the baseline of rhythms including drum patterns which we will demo and send to one another, melody is incorporated in later when we know the direction of the track so far. A lot of the time it’s very much a spur of the moment creativity which can be a single riff or the foundation of a full track, however we tend to find that we work best when we all write together as we can all add ideas much more easily and productively”

In an age where a good proportion of bands are recording in home studios, how did you find recording “Mind Atlas” at Abbey Lane Studios? Do you feel you benefited from the recording studio environment? Working with Ben at Abbey Lane Studios was probably one of the better recording experiences Jay has personally done vocally. Everything was done to help me sound better, most producers just tend to have a standard vocal set up, but working with Ben, we made the sessions very personal, even tackling the smaller things like mood lighting and bringing in my own stage riser to make it that bit more immersive.”

Before you entered the studio did you do any pre-production work or record demos or was it all about rehearsing your parts to get them as sharp as possible before entering the Studio? “We are lucky to have a few members in the band that can record at home, which helps massively not just in the writing process but also in the demo and pre-production stage of the recording. All songs are demoed at home ready to be taken to the studio for proper recording and on top of that, regular practices help massively in keeping songs tight and to work out anything that needs re-working”

For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound?

Dan (guitars) – “The guitars I use are 3 Mayones Setius GTM 7’s (blue, green and black). All with similar setups but with different pickups and built with different woods, my main guitar is the blue Setius with a Seymour Duncan Nazgul bridge pickup and a Jazz 7 in the neck. For strings I tend to bounce back between D’Addrio NYXL (11-64) and DR DDT (11-65) and the picks I use are Jim Dunlop Petrucci jazz III. For my sound I use a Line 6 Helix rack (usually using the Line 6 Badonk amp sim) and an Engl 840/50 tube power amp with an Engl 2×12 with Celestion v-30 speakers”

Josh (drums) – “For the shells I’ve had a Mapex Saturn IV kit with a Deep Water Ash Burl finish for a number of years and couldn’t be happier with it, it packs a hell of a punch, this is alongside a Mapex Black Panther ‘The Panther’ snare. For the cymbals I use all Meinl, I use a mixture between Byzance and Dark Classics Custom models. I use Pearl for all my hardware except for pedals which are Tama Iron Cobra 900 series and to top it off I use Evans heads and Vic Firth 2B sticks”

What was it like working with Loki Films for the music video for “Overcome“? We know them as a friend of Tech-Fest with a fair few bands who have appeared at the festival using their skills, so how did you come to use them? “We have loved Loki Films’ work for a while and have become good friends through Tech-Fest where he had filmed us performing and was always our first choice for the music video for ‘Overcome’. Due to Covid-19 restrictions it was difficult to plan what could be done for a music video and we eventually decided to do something a little different which wasn’t what we had originally planned. With guidance and ideas from our camp, the brilliant Loki Films and model Amymarluca was able to create something we couldn’t be happier with.”

What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “For us it would definitely help us out financially as we spend an absolute fortune on gear and equipment! Overall if we were to land some endorsement deals it would hugely benefit us and give us an extra push to achieve our goals for the band”

Mind Atlas” by The Cartographer is out now and available here.

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