With a sound that straddles rock, punk, and hip-hop, and an ever-changing roster that has included members of local groups such as the Gates of Berlin, Snowden, and Second Shift, the Constellations are in many ways the voice of the Atlanta music scene. In 2008, vocalist Elijah Jones and his seven-person band teamed up with Grammy-winning local producer Ben Allen to create the group’s first album, Southern Gothic, which is thick with shout-outs to hometown mainstays such as the Clermont Lounge. Since then, the Constellations have caught the attention of record executives at Virgin, who recently signed the band to a four-album deal within days of president Rob Stevenson hearing them play. Jones took a moment to reflect on the band’s path to success:
» When we decided what songs were going to be on Southern Gothic, it was obvious that it was an Atlanta record, but other cities embrace it just as much. We talk about the people in our scene, but everybody’s got those characters.
» Tom Waits and Cee-Lo—those are my idols.
» These guys have been with me from nothing. I’ve gone into debt, putting us out on the road, and these guys have played for free. That’s what it takes nowadays because nobody buys records.
» Write about your drug addiction; write about your affection for your neighborhood babysitter. Make it a story, make it real, make it something that I care about listening to.
» Last night I walked off stage and threw up, not because I drank too much, but because I put it all out on stage. Give everything you’ve got and your fans will appreciate it.
>> Want to read the full interview with the Constellations? Click here.
Photograph courtesy of A Horse with No Name Photography