Atomic Tom has made music for roughly three years, but the Brooklyn four-piece only started making headlines over the past three days. In a video posted to YouTube last Friday (Oct. 15), the group performed its single "Take Me Out" on a New York subway using just iPhones. Since then, the clip has earned nearly 1.3 million YouTube hits and helped the song jump to No. 86 on the iTunes singles chart.
"Since this video launched, it immediately became the most intense thing this band has ever experienced press-wise," says lead singer Luke White. "The response has been incredible, and beyond our wildest expectations."
White says that guitarist Eric Espiritu's brother Ben originally came up with the idea for the performance over a month ago. Treating the project as another entry in the band's series of video blogs, Atomic Tom used four different iPhone applications (Shred, Drum Meister, Pocket Guitar and Microphone) to recreate their respective instruments.
After rehearsing for nearly a month, the group filmed the performance on three different iPhones on Oct. 8 as the B train crossed the Manhattan Bridge. "We were on the last take, and people started getting out of their seats and crowding around," says White.
Although White swears that the project was "completely top-secret," with no label or publicity involvement whatsoever, he has no problem admitting that the performance was a calculated publicity stunt. "We're a band that is trying to reach out to new fans," he says. "Of course it was intentional. Of course we rehearsed it. We're creating our own story and get ourselves out there."
The singer says that Atomic Tom's label, Universal Republic, was approached by Apple soon after the "Take Me Out" clip began earning thousands of YouTube views over the weekend, and a partnership is being discussed. The group's debut album, "The Moment," was featured on the iTunes Store home page and hit No. 11 on the iTunes albums chart.
"That's been so meaningful to us, to see that people actually appreciate the performance enough to go buy the record," says White. "The Moment" was released digitally in July, but White says that Universal Republic will give the album a physical release in the next few months.
Before the release, Atomic Tom will capitalize on the video's success by heading out on the road this fall. Although the group will play "Take Me Out," and the rest of "The Moment," using real instruments, White would not be opposed to the group performing on their iPhones in concert. "I'm sure we'll be requested to do so, and we'd be happy to oblige," says White.