Talking Songwriting with Hard Rock band,
I usually like to leave my songs open to interpretation but I can tell you that this one ("Getting Nowhere") came from a situation I was in where someone couldn’t decide what they wanted, and I was too stubborn to walk away. One day I had enough and I snapped out of it. Music is a healthy way for me to vent so a lot of my songs come from some sort of situation I was in, or a situation that I was witness to."
By Kreig Marks, September 9, 2020
Calefactor, a rock band from Orlando, Florida, fronted by singer/songwriter/guitarist, Steve Atchison, is ready to take on the world as soon as the pandemic ends. Steve keeps busy not only by fronting Calefactor but as the guitarist for another band on the rise, Mature Musical Pictures. Taking some time off from writing and recording, Steve and I chatted a bit and I gained some insight to Calefactor and his journey.
TRR: H,i Steve. Calefactor was “born” in 2012 when you went to Brett Hestla’s studio to record an album. How did you and Brett meet?
SA: Long story short, I was working as a Roadie/Audio Tech for my buddy Ethan Kennett’s band (called Black Star Morning) back in 2005 - 2006 while I was going to school at A.R.T.I (Audio Recording Technical Institute). Brett had produced their album, All Rise about a year before. He introduced me to Brett at House of Blues one night when BSM had opened for Dark New Day, and told him that I was going to school to record and produce bands. Brett offered to take me under his wing and the rest is history.
TRR: Take me through that first recording session. How did it go down? Were you nervous?
SA: The first session was a lot of fun. I brought a few riffs into the studio with me and we just built the songs from there. I wasn’t really nervous because I knew I was in good hands. I had known Brett for a few years, and had seen many sessions with other bands happen at his studio.
TRR: Did Brett play any instruments for the recording or did he just stick to production?
SA: Yeah! He played bass and lead guitar. He also sang harmonies and did the effects programming. He’s a man of many skills, haha.
TRR: I know it was several years to complete the album and “Taken for Granted,” the first single, was released in 2019. On a scale of 1 to 10, how pleased were you with the final result, not just with "Taken for Granted" but the entire album?
SA: I’d say it’s a solid 10. I put a lot of work into these songs over the years and I feel I grew as a person and a musician. You can really hear that process take place over the course of the album.
TRR: How do you feel you’ve grown as a musician?
SA: I’ve learned better guitar playing techniques and how to build better song arrangements. I’ve also learned how to tap into a more honest side of what I try to express through the lyrics instead of trying to rhyme everything. I just think the songs I write now are at another level from my earlier days in the studio.
TRR: Now, moving ahead to 2020. What were your plans going into 2020 that were suddenly derailed because of the pandemic?
SA: 2020 was going to be the beginning of shows. I was planning to get the album out and have a huge CD release party. Now, we just have to see how long we wait until live music makes a return.
TRR: Hopefully things begin to return to some normalcy by the beginning of 2021. Tell me about the Rock music scene in Orlando, before the pandemic. Were you out there doing a lot of live gigs?
SA: I had started doing shows with Mature Musical Pictures (MMP). We only got a couple of shows in before the pandemic, so we didn’t really get to hit a stride or anything. There were bands playing at just about every venue every weekend. I did get out a bit and attend some shows. I really miss doing that.
TRR: Now that we are still dealing with the pandemic, what have you been doing musically?
SA: Practicing. Practicing MMP songs, practicing Calefactor songs, and filling up my computer’s hard drive with new ideas.
TRR: Going back in time, when did you first get interested in music? What music were you listening to?
SA: I’ve been interested in music for as long as I can remember. My dad is a guitar player, and he would always take me with him to his gigs when I was a kid. I grew up listening to rock, blues, metal and even some 90’s hip hop, haha.
TRR: Does your dad play in a band? Or, do you get together with him and jam or invite him on-stage?
SA: My dad is a solo acoustic guy. He tried doing a band once but I don’t think he liked it very much haha. He likes to do things on his own terms. We get together and jam from time to time, usually at family get-togethers or a weekend here and there. He might make an appearance with me on stage someday, who knows?
TRR: What’s the first song you wrote and what was going on in your life at the time?
SA: I use to write a lot of songs when I was a kid, well before I was even in a band. I can’t remember what my first song was called but I’m pretty sure it was about some girl that I was too shy to play it for at the time (laughing).
TRR: How has your writing style evolved since the first song?
SA: Well, I can play more than 3 chords now, ha. My lyrics are more mature and song structure has developed quite a bit.
TRR: Who’s does most of the writing for Calefactor?
SA: The songwriting is very collaborative. I usually bring in a guitar riff, a rough vocal melody idea, and what the lyrics will be about. We all just build it from there. Jason can also play guitar quite wel,l and is a really good songwriter, too. We all toss ideas around and see what sticks.
TRR: You turn on the radio and hear a song and think to yourself, “Damn, that song kicks ass. I wish I wrote that.” What’s that song?
SA: “End Transmission” by Fire From The Gods.
TRR: Why that particular song? What does it for you?
SA: I just love the low tuning of the guitar,s and how aggressive they sound with the vocal melody. AJ Channer’s voice sits beautifully in that song and the lyrics are really well written. They really fit the times. It just makes me go “Damn! This song is awesome!”
TRR: Quarantine roulette. What have you learned about yourself the past several months?
SA: I’ve learned that I took too many things for granted (no pun intended) and I really need to appreciate things a little more.
TRR: What type of things?
SA: That I’m lucky to still live close to most of my family and should spend a little more time with them, how important live music is and how easily it can be taken away, and how everything I have in general could be taken away in an instant. I need to appreciate what I have and where I’m at in life more. I have to focus more on the positives and try to make each day the best it can be.
TRR: Besides the obvious, music, what have you missed being able to do the most the past several months?
SA: Going out with friends and family. I miss hanging out with people in a bar or restaurant without a mask or without worrying if there will be too many people in the building.
TRR: I hear ya. Strangest quarantine moment?
SA: I stepped outside after quite a few days in a row of being inside working on things. It must’ve been close to a week or so. It felt pretty weird to be outside and realize that I hadn’t seen sunshine for much longer than I thought. It was so quiet too, like everyone had vanished. Super weird.
TRR: Yeah, I can relate. I would go outside with my kids and watch them ride their bikes and you could hear the wind, birds, but no people, no cars. Was very apocalyptic. How many times during the pandemic have you found yourself driving somewhere, getting out of your car, walking toward a store and suddenly you stop, turn around, say to yourself, "Fuck!" because you forgot your mask?
SA: Way too many times haha. I do it almost daily.
TRR: Have you experienced the “you’re going the wrong way!” lecture from another shopper at Publix?
SA: Thankfully no. It sounds like that won’t be an issue anymore anyway.
TRR: Your band gets to play with any idol doing a LIVE HOUSE CONCERT, which one or two artists do you guys jam with?
SA: Dave Grohl for sure. He’s the coolest guy in music! That would be a blast. The other would be Chris Cornell if he were still with us.
TRR: Two great choices. Strangest habit of one of your band members?
SA: Haha this is a good question. I’m not really sure of any strange habits. Brett strokes his beard when he’s deep in thought about something. Gado makes some really funny faces when he’s tracking drums. He’s really entertaining to watch haha.
TRR: Rock music never existed. What style of music would you be doing?
SA: Probably the Blues or Folk music. I really enjoy some of the great blues artists. Keb Mo, Jeff Healey, BB King, etc.
TRR: If all goes as planned, take me through the next 6 months for the band.
SA: If all goes well, playing lots of shows and getting our band out there for people to get to know us. Hopefully gearing up to record a second album.
TRR: Anyone you’d like to give a shout out to or thank?
SA: Yeah, I just want to thank Brett Hestla, Jason Delgado, and all my friends and family who have always supported me in every project. Bryant August and my other MMP bandmates for all the support and love for Calefactor. I’d also like to thank all the new Calefactor fans who have been sharing us with their friends. Thank you to Kreig Marks, Bandivious, and TRR for all that you do for unsigned bands! You guys are awesome!
Publisher Tru Rock Revival
Founder of Tru Rock Revival Magazine, and Bandivious.com, Kreig Marks is a mover and a shaker promoting Rock Music, bands, and the Rock 'n Roll community. In his spare time he is a top Neurological Fitness trainer in South Florida; sometimes lending some advice to various Rock or Sports legends. His other love is his family, as the father of four kids.