Alt-rock artist Atomic Bronco returns with the release of his third studio album, Bull in a China Shop.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Atomic Bronco has deftly becoming known for crafting songs that seamlessly blends a mixture of genres — from indie to garage rock to lo-fi — and melding them together to create something truly unique. The catalyst of that chemical reaction? Bull in a China Shop, his third studio album. With sky-soaring sonics and emotive, thought-provoking lyricism, Atomic Bronco’s latest body of work is equal parts cathartic and captivating.
1883 Magazine chats with Atomic Bronco about the release of Bull in a China Shop, his music progression, and more.
Austin, Texas has been incredibly influential in your artistry, how has the city and the creatives that live there shaped your sound?
Living in Austin has been great just for the sheer fact that there are great musicians around every corner. Legitimately, every other bar you walk into has a borderline virtuoso playing covers in a corner. It’s incredible. I find it simultaneously humbling and invigorating; Humbling in the sense that you think you can play a lick or two and then run into some truly out of this world talent to prove you wrong, but invigorating because it’s cool to be around that many true musicians who inspire you to keep improving your craft.
What is the inspiration for your new album ‘Bull in a China Shop’? Is there an overarching theme for the entire album?
Bull in a China Shop is mostly inspired by my own desire to improve on my previous work. I naively thought that people would be impressed just by the fact of putting out a self-produced album, but I quickly realized that no one cares unless there are good and catchy songs on that album. So I spent much more time focusing on writing quality songs rather than just putting out the first ideas that came to mind. And I identify with the imagery of Bull in a China Shop. I feel like someone with a lot of potential to shake things up.
Was there anything that you did differently during the writing of ‘Bull in a China Shop’ that surprised you about yourself?
With this album I made a conscious effort to either write songs that had nothing to do with my personal life or make them very personal. Previously it had been a mix of both within the same song which just dilutes the meaning a bit in my mind. I was surprised at how easy it was to write from other people’s perspective, and felt like I could write more interesting songs that way if I didn’t feel like the lyrics had to relate to me as I am in reality.
How has your artistry changed and developed since releasing your first album to now?
I think I’m more focused for sure, and sharper around the edges. I feel like my production has taken a big step, and I’ve started to write for my vocal range in a more effective way. Overall I think I’m putting more energy into songs, and that seems to be paying off.
What did you learn about yourself while writing and recording ‘Bull in a China Shop’?
I learned that this wasn’t just a Covid project, and that I’m a happier person when I get to work on things that turn into something like Bull in a China Shop.
Your sound blends genres, from alt to lo-fi to indie. Why is it important to you to not restrict yourself to one genre?
Most of the artists that I love cover a wide range of genres; Queens of the Stone Age, Tame Impala, Mark Ronson, The Shins, etc. Even Nirvana, who we’ve all decided is the quintessential grunge band, had a pretty wide range. Polly and Territorial Pissings might be the two most different songs to appear back to back on an album. None of these artists felt the need to only do one genre, even though they all have an unmistakable sound. That idea is much more interesting to me than making music that fits into a neat category.
What are some artists and tracks that influenced the album?
In addition to the artists from the previous answer, Interpol, Real Estate, The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood, Kurt Vile, Mac DeMarco and Beach Fossils to name a few.
What 3 songs would you choose to soundtrack your perfect day?
Green Aisles by Real Estate, See by Tycho, and South by Hippo Campus.
Lastly, what can we expect next from you?
I’m working on scheduling some shows around Austin this summer, and I’m already knee-deep in writing demos for the next album!
Bull in a China Shop is out now.