Bradford Cox

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Bradford Cox
Deerhunter(by Scott Dudelson).jpg
Background information
Birth name Bradford James Cox
Also known as Atlas Sound
Born (1982-05-15) May 15, 1982 (age 32)
Origin Marietta, Georgia
Genres Indie rock, shoegazing, ambient, noise rock, experimental rock
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician, actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar, percussion, bass guitar, drums, harmonica
Years active 2001-present
Labels HOSS, Rob's House, Kranky, 4AD, K
Associated acts Deerhunter, Atlas Sound, Lotus Plaza, Ghetto Cross, Black Lips, The Wet Dreams, Stereolab, MGMT

Bradford James Cox (born May 15, 1982) is an American musician, best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the indie rock band Deerhunter. He also pursues a solo career under the moniker Atlas Sound. Cox formed Deerhunter with drummer Moses Archuleta in 2001. The band has released 6 studio albums along with several singles and EPs. Atlas Sound is a name Cox has used since he was ten to refer to his own music, but his first full-length production under the name was Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel, released in 2008. Cox's method of creating music is stream-of-consciousness, and he does not write lyrics in advance. He made his film acting debut in 2013's Dallas Buyers Club.

Music career[edit]

Deerhunter[edit]

Main article: Deerhunter

Cox founded Deerhunter with bassist Paul Harper and drummer Dan Walton (who named the band) in early 2001. The band expanded after Cox met a teenage transient, Moses Archuleta, who was sleeping on the floor of Cox's friends. Archuleta initially played Acetone Organ and electronics. The band's first shows were experimental and based on improvisation. Cox continued recording slightly more structured material and releasing it on CD-R and cassette using the name Atlas Sound. Paul Harper moved to Ohio and was replaced by Justin Bosworth. At this point Colin Mee also joined the band on guitar. Dan Walton left and Cox suggested Archuleta move to drums. The band's live shows and recordings became more song-oriented. They recorded their debut 7" for Die Slaughterhaus. Josh Fauver joined the band in 2004 after Bosworth died in a freak skateboarding accident. This lineup recorded Deerhunter's debut LP on Atlanta label Stickfigure. Cox suggested Lockett Pundt, whom he befriended while attending Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Georgia, join the band on guitar so that he could concentrate on vocals and electronics. This lineup recorded their breakthrough record, 2007's Cryptograms until 2010's Halcyon Digest. Colin Mee left the band after failing to show up for a North American tour. Josh Fauver subsequently left the band and was replaced by Josh McKay. The band is now a five piece consisting of Cox on guitar and vocals, Pundt on guitar and occasional vocals, fellow Atlanta musician Frankie Broyles on guitar and occasional vocals, McKay on bass, and Archuleta on drums.

Atlas Sound[edit]

"Atlas Sound" is the musical solo project of Cox, although he has used the name to represent his music since he was a child. He had access to a cassette player with two tape decks, which he used to layer guitar and drum sounds, and his own voice. In listening to some of these old tapes (of which Cox believes he has over five hundred in storage) he found "Some of it is absolutely, terrifyingly bad, but sometimes I'm just like, 'Wow, that's cool.' That's actually how some Deerhunter songs happened. 'Spring Hall Convert' [from Cryptograms] was like that. That was a tape I made in ninth or tenth grade." Cox writes his music stream-of-consciousness, not writing lyrics in advance, and constructing songs by adding more parts until he feels "it's getting crowded."[1] The name of his project is derived from the brand of tape player he used, Atlas Sound.[2]

Cox began Atlas Sound in the wake of his work with Deerhunter because "I have ideas that I can't make work with a five piece rock band...There's kind of this palette of sounds that I use that I don't necessarily get to use with Deerhunter."[3] Because the music Deerhunter makes is a collaborative effort, Cox does not want to assert himself as its principal songwriter. "I might have an idea for a fragment of a song, but I want to leave it skeletal so the guys can fill it out. Whereas with Atlas Sound, everything is done in an hour." Cox created the music for his first record in the software Ableton Live, utilizing an array of computer-based instruments, as well as his own live recordings.[4]

To date, there have been four major releases by Cox as Atlas Sound: Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel (2008), Logos (2009), a four-album set of previously unreleased songs called Bedroom Databank (2010), and finally "Parallax" in 2011. The lyrics of Let the Blind Lead are autobiographical in nature, reflecting life experiences of Cox.[4] In discussing his second album, Cox characterized his first as being a "bedroom laptop type thing" and "Very introverted." In contrast, Logos was written in several parts of the world, and is "not about me. There are collaborations with other musicians. The lyrics are not autobiographical. The view is a lot more panoramic and less close-up. I became bored with introspection."[5] An unfinished version of Logos was leaked onto the internet in August 2008, over a year before its release date.[6] In response, Cox almost ceased production on the record, later saying "I did not react well to the leak, in retrospect. It became the kind of internet-fueled drama that I was quickly learning to despise."[5]

In late 2010, Cox published four volumes of demos on his blog, entitled "Bedroom Databank". These demos were taken down from Mediafire by Sony, but they later apologized to Cox, stating that the files "were mistakenly removed".[7][8] Atlas Sound was chosen by Animal Collective to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that they curated in May 2011.[9]

Other work[edit]

Cox has also recorded as part of other bands, such as the short lived "Wet Dreams", an otherwise all-girl garage / noise band in which he played drums. He also recorded several tracks on the Black Lips second album We Did Not Know the Forest Spirit Made the Flowers Grow, playing drums on the song "Notown Blues" from that album. Regarding this album, Bradford said in an interview: "People look at what's successful, and what's successful is what's easy on the ears, things that aren't challenging," he says. "Nobody wants to listen to something that sounds awkward and makes you cringe because it's real personal or idiosyncratic. People just want to hear things that sounds familiar already to them. I make really accessible pop stuff, but at the same time I have no problem making something creepy or just odd."[10]

He also is a part of the "Avant-Garage" band Ghetto Cross, with Cole Alexander from Black Lips, Frankie Broyles, and Asha Lakra.

Cox contributed to the Karen O-scored soundtrack for the 2009 film Where the Wild Things Are.[11]

In November 2012, it was announced that Cox would portray Jared Leto's lover in the feature film, Dallas Buyers Club, co-starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner; this is Cox's film debut.[12]

Equipment[edit]

Guitars[edit]

For the most part, Bradford favors vintage and modern Fender and Gibson guitars. Some of his guitars include:[13]

Effects and amplifiers[edit]

Pedalboard
[13][16][17]
  • Aria AOD-1 Overdrive
  • Behringer Reverb Machine RV600
  • Boss DS-1
  • Boss SD-1
  • Boss SL-20 Slicer
  • Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner
  • Danelectro Tuna Melt Tremolo
  • Digitech DigiVerb (through Mic for Vocals)
  • Digitech DigiDelay (through Mic for Vocals)
  • Eventide PitchFactor
  • Eventide TimeFactor
  • Home Brew Electronics Power Screamer
  • Ibanez DE7
  • Line 6 DL4
  • MXR Distortion +
  • Z.Vex Box of Rock

(this list is incomplete)

Amps

When playing with Deerhunter, Bradford will usually run his guitars through a Marshall JCM800 half-stack, and occasionally a Vox AC30 amplifier, or a Fender Hot Rod DeVille 410.[13]

Songwriting[edit]

Cox describes his mode of songwriting as 'automatic or stream-of-consciousness'. "Usually I go into a sort of trance and I'll have five or six songs afterwards", he said, speaking to Victoria Segal of Q in November 2010. "What is interesting is seeing how the band adapts them and mutates them into the final product. Lots of accidents and primitive irrational things happen. It can be difficult trying to explain the process to a producer or engineer. They generally want to help you polish things and I tend to want to sabotage that", he added.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Cox was born with the genetic disorder Marfan syndrome.[19] As a teenager, he dropped out of high school (although later earned a GED) and his parents divorced, leaving him "to live in my childhood home alone. I literally lived in this large suburban house by myself." Cox has called his changing music taste growing up reflective of his life and mental state. Around the age of ten, Cox's disorder began to affect his body in more visible ways; this is the point at which he "first started looking awkward." With no friends, Cox became interested in how music could sound "heartbreaking or nostalgic or melancholy"; he identified with the title character of the film Edward Scissorhands, and especially enjoyed the soundtrack, which was composed by Danny Elfman. Cox's tastes shifted to music that was more "monotonous or hypnotic", such as the Stereolab album Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements. Around twenty years of age, his life situation brought about "a period", during which he became "only interested in this certain sort of suburban psychedelic pastoral thing. It was escapism. I didn't want as much emotional manipulation. It's kind of the opposite of Edward Scissorhands."[20] Cox has previously described himself as gay,[21] though he has stated that he leads a non-sexual/asexual lifestyle.[22][23] However, in a 2011 interview with Hipster Runoff, Cox said that he no longer identifies as asexual but rather as queer: "For a long time I just said I was asexual, but now I just realized that… I'm still, I guess… I mean, I'm queer."[24]

Discography[edit]

With Deerhunter:

As Atlas Sound:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Klingman, Jeff (2008-02-20). "Atlas Sound: Interview". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  2. ^ Cox, Bradford. ATLAS SOUND in series: SXSW - All Roads Lead to Austin 2008. Dig For Fire, Vimeo. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  3. ^ Thompson, Paul; Tyler Grisham (2007-05-15). "Deerhunter's Cox Talks LP3, Atlas Sound, Dresses". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2009-11-24. 
  4. ^ a b Hogan, Marc (2008-01-14). "Interviews: Atlas Sound". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2009-11-24. 
  5. ^ a b Dombal, Ryan (2009-07-09). "Deerhunter's Bradford Cox Announces New Atlas Sound Album". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2009-11-24. 
  6. ^ Thompson, Paul (2008-08-19). "Deerhunter's Microcastle Now Available Now on iTunes". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2009-11-24. 
  7. ^ "Atlas Sound Demos Taken Down by Sony". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  8. ^ "Sony Apologizes to Bradford Cox". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  9. ^ ATP: All Tomorrow's Parties
  10. ^ Lindsay, Cam (May 2008). "Atlas Sound's Imperfect Prescription". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  11. ^ "Karen O and the Kids: The Rockers of "Where the Wild Things Are"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  12. ^ Pelly, Jenn (November 27, 2012). "Bradford Cox to Play Jared Leto's Lover in New Movie". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 27, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c "Deerhunter - Bradford Cox Guitar Rig Gear and Equipment". Uberproaudio.com. 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  14. ^ "Deerhunter Live @ Noise Pop 2009". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  15. ^ "Deerhunter - Nothing Ever Happened (live)". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  16. ^ "Atlas Sound : Kid Klimax @ The Bottom Lounge". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  17. ^ "Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 - Saturday". YouTube. 2012-07-14. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  18. ^ Victoria Segal. Q magazine, November 2010. Q & A. Halcyon Digest album review. p. 113.
  19. ^ Leahey, Andrew. "((( Atlas Sound > Biography )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  20. ^ Breihan, Tom (2009-04-10). "5-10-15-20: Bradford Cox". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  21. ^ Aaron, Charles (2008). "Pretzel Logic". Spin Magazine (Spin Media LLC) (April 2008): 76–82. 
  22. ^ Reeves, Mosi. "Bradford Cox: Boy wonder." Creative Loafing. February 13, 2008. [1]
  23. ^ Logan K. Young. Deerhunter @ Trouser Press. - ...a non-practicing homosexual.
  24. ^ http://hipsterrunoff.com/altreport/2011/11/bradford-cox-press-tour-continues-says-he-no-longer-asexual-now-queer.html

External links[edit]