Dave Davison doesn’t really understand the label “math rock” that some people have given his band Maps and Atlases. Math rock the music, like mathematics the subject, after all, requires “coldness and calculation,” according to Davison. But the four members of Maps and Atlases met at Columbia College in Chicago—an art school. Davison majored in cultural studies, Erin Elders and Chris Hainey were film majors, and Shiraz Dada majored in sound engineering. As a band, they’ve been called math rock because of their complex rhythmic structures and unconventional time signatures. But with their debut release Perch Patchwork (Barsuk Records), they’ve written what critics have called a more accessible sound. Regardless, Maps & Atlases plays some wonderfully unique and creative music. But that’s what you get when four guys from art school start a band.
After the video, read more about Davison and his writing process, including how poetry affects his songwriting, how a good long walk is the perfect way to write a Maps & Atlases song, and his penchant for leaving long voice mail messages for friends.
Two of you were film majors. How does that background inform the band’s songs?