WXTJ Writes! by Libby Eveland: “Interview with The Corduroy Blue”

Portions of this story have been edited and condensed for clarity.

I recently had the privilege to speak with Atticus Roness, frontman of Atlanta-based band The Corduroy Blue. The band, made up of Atticus and his brother Luke, released their debut album in November of 2022. In the bustling Atlanta music scene, this duo’s showmanship and spectacular music helps them stand out from the rest. Their self-titled album has a song for everyone—encompassing different aspects of the past few decades into one unique sound.

To begin, I broke out some of my favorite ice breakers (and disguised them as “warm up questions”) to have some fun. Luke was not there for the interview, so I figured Atticus could answer for the both of them.

Are you familiar with the M&M personalities? Which one are you most like?

I feel like the yellow one has always been mine. He’s aloof, and he’s kind of the happier one. Luke and I have a lot of similarities, but I think I’m gonna give him the blue one. I feel like if he were an M&M, he would be the oval shape rather than circular. It just looks like Lucas: the smartest, dumbest person I know. In so many ways, he’s the smartest person, but sometimes he’ll ask me silly questions. The blue one is giving me that energy.

I was looking through your YouTube channel, and I saw that a lot of your songs have music videos or live recordings of them. Is it important to you guys to have that visual aspect to your music?

For me, it’s super important. I think first of all, we’re in such a visual age. If you go back, there are old songs that we didn’t use videos for, and we always felt there should be some sort of visual pairing with everything. One of our best friends, Matthew, is a videographer and photographer who now lives in San Francisco. We grew up together and bounced off each other a lot. He was a great videographer, and I was also learning to write at the time. So I think us growing up and wanting to work together at such an early age gave us a reason to work together. He helped us find our visual identity and made us realize how important that was. We’ve also been praised a lot locally for our dedication to visuals. A lot of people are like, “Your visual are great; you guys really go out of your way to do that.” And we do! It’s cost us some money from time to time, but it’s definitely been worth it. 

Our single covers too. A lot of bands right now, they’ll basically come up with their album cover, and then every new single has the same cover leading up to the album. I don’t really like that because I feel that singles, if you release them individually, have a life of their own. When I listen to a song off of our record, like “Bye Bye Love,” it has a different feeling by itself, and it has a different feeling in the context of the record. I feel there should be an alternate cover just for that song. All that to say, visuals are definitely important.

I’ve been pitching the album to my friends as “the best of different decades thrown into one sound.” Were there certain sounds that you were trying to emulate?

Well, that’s a really cool way to describe it. I honestly think I would describe it similarly. This album is like the soundtrack to my life. I was really into 60s through 90s music, and I wanted to capture all of that in one record. Every song comes from a different inspiration down the line. “Fight the tears,” is totally 90s and 2000s. “Bye Bye Love” is new wave 80s. In “Nature of the Game,” I was pretty much trying to rip off ABBA. The song “Something in the Way,” has a Beatles reference in every verse. When I say “rip off”, I mean I’m trying to encompass the spirit of those artists through my vessel and see how it comes out. That’s kind of what I did on this record. I think it’s cohesive, but it’s also scatterbrained in a lot of ways. I don’t know if I’ll ever make a record that scatterbrained or that picky again. I try to be genuine, and I feel like if I did it now, it would be me trying to do it. When I was writing those songs, that was me doing it in the moment. Now I like being a little more concentrated, a little more lyrically driven. The sound is always going to be a TCB sound, but it’s a little more streamlined now than it was then. Still, it turned out to be a beautiful soundtrack.

Have you ever been to Disney’s Epcot? They have that ride called Soarin’?

A long time ago now, but yeah.

When I was making this record, we were messing with the tracklisting a lot. Soarin’ looks like one of our favorite childhood memories. They basically have you on a simulated flight and it has a nice descent. A lot of records start in one place, and then they have a mountain peak, and then they end you on a big, suspenseful moment. For us, I wanted the end of the record to be like the ride Soarin’. I wanted to have that descent—so you have “Hitman’s Request,”  “Passing Lane,” and “Her Majesty” bringing you in nicely.

Album cover for The Corduroy Blue.

If you had to choose a favorite song on the album, what would it be and why? 

It honestly changes every day, and it also depends on why I’m listening to it.  I find “Fight the Tears” to be the most listenable. There’s something about that song that I really like. It’s also one of the latest songs written for the album, so it’s kind of more indicative of how I write now. I’m still getting to know that one in a way. I find that the best parts of a song really have to be the beginning and the end. “Fight the Tears” has one of the best endings on the whole record.

There’s also one that I think is criminally underrated, since it’s the only one that hasn’t had a thousand streams yet, and that’s the song “Passing Lane.” I think that maybe it’s hidden away in there, but it’s a beautiful song. It’s one of my favorite melodies on the album, and it’s probably the prettiest song. Because it doesn’t get a lot of love, I decided to love it more.

Were there any songs that almost didn’t make the record? 

We knew of the ones that we were sure of. We were literally about to put “Gimme Love” and “Could it Be?” on the record. We actually have vinyl artwork that we got made with those two songs on the back of the record. It was going to be a 13 track record and everything. And then I was like, “That’s just too long.” I also wanted to give those other songs space. The two specifically that were game time decisions were “Fight the Tears” and “Something in the Way.” There were four songs in contention, and we got to the point where we weren’t sure so we brought all of our friends together. We played them altogether and everybody was like, “Are you kidding me? It’s obviously ‘Fight the Tears’ and ‘Something in the Way,’ obviously those two.” And so I was like, “Cool, cool, cool.” We didn’t look back.

Luke and I had to sit down and we’re like, “If you could pick one that you want, which one do you want?” Luke picked “Something in the Way,” and I picked “Fight the Tears.” That was how those came to be, but they were very game-end decisions overall.

What’s the biggest crowd you’ve played for and what’s the smallest? What were those experiences like in contrast to each other? 

I mean, we’re riding high off of it. It’s not the biggest in terms of people, but I’d say the biggest one was a 400 person packed out. We opened up for somebody and everybody was there when we started. I thrive in those moments. I’m better in front of a bunch of people.

I’ll also tell you the story of one that sticks out to me, because it was when I started becoming a good stage performer. We played downstairs at one of the venues we always play at, called Ole Smith Bar. I think there were five people, and three of them were my sister, my mom, and my dad. Me, our other older bass player, and Luke were all in the back and I was really pissed off about it. We promoted this, man!  I remember I had this moment in the bathroom, and I came back and said, “I don’t care if it’s 15 or 1500 people, I’m going to put on the best show that they’ve ever seen.” Matthew even told me: “That was different than any show you’ve ever played before.” You don’t go to a TCB show unless I’m wearing something crazy and I’m on the floor, eating my guitar or something. That’s kind of what you expect from a TCB show, this very pop-rock melodic music. If I give you some pictures of us, you’d think I’m playing Motorhead or something. Besides “Gimme Love,” there’s no song where I needed to go like this, but I’m going that hard because it’s what I think is appealing about our live show.

What is your dream gig? What would your dream collaboration be?

Well, obviously, my dream collaboration is being in the same room with Paul McCartney. He is the only artist I can think of who has done all of the genres that we’ve done. He’s my blueprint for what can be done in music… He has a song called “Fool on the Hill” with the Beatles, and there’s a line that mentions “the man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud.” I tend to think that’s an autobiographical line about himself, because he really does have all these amazing different voices that he uses. I try to emulate that. I can go on and on about Paul McCartney, but that would be my dream collaboration. 

My dream gig would be Madison Square Garden, opening for the 1975. Obviously, it probably won’t ever happen, but the idea of that would be my dream gig. I would also love to open up for the Black Crowes, or the Lemon Twigs, or some of these bands that I really like and admire. I also want to play the Tabernacle, because that’s one of the biggest venues here in Atlanta. I mean, you say dream, I dream big.

The Corduroy Blue’s self-titled album is available to stream on all major music platforms.

By Libby Eveland, co-host of “Word of the Week” on Fridays from 4-6pm.

WXTJ Writes! is brought to you by a team of writers—our mission is to make our website come alive by diving even deeper into some of our favorite music and music culture. Read special stories told by radio-loving students every other week, here on wxtj.fm/articles.

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