Meet Aatmaa

Are you ready to dive into the dark and intense world of Aatmaa? Meet the Chicago-based alternative rock outfit that is taking the music scene by storm.

Divine Magazine
Divine Magazine 8 Min Read
Photo credit: Aaron Ehinger

Founded by the talented duo Ashwin and Shara Deepankar during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aatmaa is not just a band – it’s a soulful journey through personal upheaval, loss, and the struggles of navigating depression and anxiety.

Their debut album, Cataclysm, is a quintessential headphones record that will transport you to another world. With moody alternative rock that balances atmospheric arrangements with moments of aggression, Aatmaa’s music is both intimate and dynamic. As you listen, you’ll uncover detailed layers of sonic texture that will leave you craving more.

Drawing inspiration from the likes of Dead Can Dance and The Cure, Aatmaa brings a raw edge to their music that sets them apart from the rest. While their sound may call to mind the foggy Disintegration of The Cure, there is a contemporary twist that keeps their music fresh and relevant.

So, if you’re looking for a musical escape that will speak to your soul, look no further than Aatmaa. Dive into the depths of Cataclysm and let their haunting melodies and powerful lyrics wash over you. Meet Aatmaa – the band that is redefining alternative rock one song at a time.

AATMAA Main 2 credit Aaron Ehinger
Photo credit: Aaron Ehinger

Did you find the isolation of the pandemic conducive to your writing, or did it hinder the experiences about which you can write? 

We found it to be conducive to our writing, for sure. We’ve been together for over 12 years, 7 years married, and the pandemic was the longest amount of time we had ever spent together. Ashwin has been a touring person our entire relationship, so this was a really big chunk of time that we were together. Alone. It was hard and incredibly rewarding to have that time. Our project started really organically. Ashwin wasn’t working since the touring world was on pause, so he started making music to pass the time. He was trying to collaborate with others, and it was really difficult to do with our friends so I had him play me a song to sing on. Here we are an album later. We had plenty to write about, considering the state of the world and the art we were consuming daily.  

What is the best advice you have been given? 

Write the music that you want to hear. We’ve both learned that we have to give a shit about the music that we are putting out into the world in order for others to give a shit about it. All humbleness aside, we really like what we’ve created. We have found a lot of value in creating space for us to make music together to put out. 

How do you deal with writer’s block? 

Consume art in any medium. Especially art that you wouldn’t typically consume. For instance, heavy rock is not my jam, but I often listen when I’m experiencing writer’s block. Ironically, I do enjoy heavy rock now, so I’ll have to find a new genre to consume. 

Where was your current project recorded? 

Our whole album was written and recorded in our tiny Chicago condo. During the pandemic, we turned our second bedroom into a home studio. We figured we wouldn’t be having guests over anytime soon, so we decided to make it a functional room for us. The ability to write and record at any time day or night was the only way this project was able to keep moving forward. A lot of this music was written on headphones at 3 in the morning from insomnia and anxiety driven pockets of time.

What is next for you? 

Next is to do a show and continue writing. Ashwin has already started on record number 2 so there are more songs in store for sure. 

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

All the time. Most of them are made up. It could be whatever I’m physically doing (“jumping in the shower”) or it could start from a conversation in my head that I’m working through. Outside of that, I’m stuck on “Paprika” by Japanese Breakfast at the moment.

What would be the ideal food to have cooked for you on a date night? 

Tacos or pizza. We’ve already had both of those this week and I could go for either one of those again. For tacos, a solid steak taco with cilantro, onion and verde salsa is perfect. For pizza, classic cheese, thin crust, red sauce with red sauce and hot honey for dipping. 

What was the last TV series you watched on TV? 

Currently, watching Abbott Elementary. What a great show. The writing and acting is so good.

If you had to describe yourself as a flavour, what would it be?

Garlic, turmeric, honey with the optional chili flakes.

If you were talking to a younger version of you, what advice would you give yourself? 

Probably to take more chances, follow through with ideas, and stop being so judgmental of others. I spent a lot of time worrying about what everyone else thought of me that it really limited me. Then those who were taking chances were easy to judge. Not a great way to live. Younger me would be so proud of how far we’ve come. 

AATMAA Catalclysm cover art

June 7 marked a monumental day in the world of independent music as Aatmaa released their highly anticipated debut album, Cataclysm. This 9-song collection is a true labor of love, with every lyric, melody, and production detail crafted by the talented members of Aatmaa themselves.

Featuring previously released singles such as the haunting Hidden Bruises and the powerful The Worst In People, Cataclysm takes listeners on a sonic journey through the depths of emotion and introspection. But the real gem of the album is the brand new single, It Sleeps, a roaring track that showcases Aatmaa’s raw talent and musical prowess.

We are really excited to share Cataclysm with the world, says Aatmaa. This record is incredibly personal to us, but we believe it holds a universal message that will resonate with listeners from all walks of life. Whether you’re taking a peaceful stroll through the forest or enjoying a cool evening by the lake, Cataclysm is the perfect companion.

AATMAA - It Sleeps (Official Music Video)


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