Eric Fisher and Arlie Carstons (Atoms and Void)
SPB: When collaborating with so many artists, how do you draw the determine when to allow a “guest improv” vs pre-composed music?
Atoms and Void: Our approach to recording is both guided and spontaneous, and our reasons for working with a specific musician (or combination of musicians) are always very intentional. There are really no “guest improv” moments. Rather, in some ways we sort of work like conductors. We always have an idea of what we want the mood, tempo and arrangement of a song to be— often writing and recording the song’s basic structure and then talking with each other about which session player(s) would be best for additional instrumentation on certain songs and in specific spots. Each musician approaches his/her instrument differently, which makes it possible for our songs to sidestep easy categorizations of genre or style. We strive to record with folks that can interpret our ideas in ways that allow for spontaneity and stylistic nuances. Basically, it’s all about trust and communication. We’re blessed to have these people and their creative minds in our lives.