Bradford Cox

Bradford James Cox (born May 15, 1982) is an American singer-songwriter and 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.

Bradford Cox
Cox in 2013
Background information
Birth nameBradford James Cox
Also known asAtlas Sound
Born (1982-05-15) May 15, 1982
OriginMarietta, Georgia, United States
Years active2001–present
Associated acts

Cox formed Deerhunter with drummer Moses Archuleta in 2001. The band has released 7 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 (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


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 Ace Tone 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 Records. 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 four piece consisting of Cox on guitar and vocals, Pundt on guitar and occasional vocals, McKay on bass, and Archuleta on drums.

Atlas Sound

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."[6] The name of his project is derived from the brand of tape player he used, Atlas Sound.[7]

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."[8] 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.[9]

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.[9] 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."[10] An unfinished version of Logos was leaked onto the internet in August 2008, over a year before its release date.[11] 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."[10]

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".[12][13] Atlas Sound was chosen by Animal Collective to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that they curated in May 2011.[14]

Other work

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.

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.[15]

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.[16]



For the most part, Bradford favors vintage and modern Fender and Gibson guitars. Some of his guitars include:[17]

  • Fender Jaguar (1964 Fiesta Red, Formerly owned by Stereolab's Tim Gane)
  • Fender Jazzmaster (1966, Block Inlays Originally white, has aged to a yellow color)
  • Fender Stratocaster[18]
  • '74 Gibson Les Paul Signature[19]
  • Fender Bronco (70s stripped natural finish)
  • Teisco Del-Rey EV-2, Humbuckers, Blue (possibly modified)
  • Various Gibson Acoustics
  • EKO 60's 12 String Acoustic
  • Epiphone Small Body Acoustic strung in "Nashville Tuning"

Effects and amplifiers


Bradford Cox's Deerhunter Pedalboard as of 2016 Tours

1966 Fender Jazzmaster into - (signal chain as follows)

  • Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner
  • Fairfield Circuitry Unpleasant Surprise (Used for Lead Parts, Noise)
  • Henretta Engineering Chord Blaster (Used For Overdrive)
  • Eventide PitchFactor
  • Behringer Reverb Machine RV600
  • Ibanez CF7 Chorus / Flanger (Rarely Used)
  • Ibanez DE7
  • Line 6 DL4
  • Boss Noise Suppressor

Out to Fender Hot Rod DeVille 4x10

Cox Also Uses an Exposed Spring Reverb Tank / Filter Unit for Noise and Effects

Vocal Effects Pedal Board Beyerdynamic M69 Mic Into:

  • Digitech DigiVerb (through Mic for Backwards Vocals Only)
  • Digitech DigiDelay (through Mic for Vocal Loops Only)
  • Eventide Mixing Link Pre Amp / FX Loop

When playing live with Deerhunter, Bradford previously used Univox U-1226 Head into a vintage Marshall 4x10 Cabinet. He has also used a Marshall JCM800 half-stack, and occasionally a 70's Peavey Classic combo amplifier. He Currently uses a Fender Hot Rod DeVille 410.[17]


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.[22]

Personal life

Cox was born with the genetic disorder Marfan syndrome.[2] 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."[23]

Cox has described himself as gay,[24] though he previously has stated that he leads a non-sexual/asexual lifestyle.[25][26] However, in a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone, 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. I just sort of, don't really have a very big self-esteem, so asexuality is sort of like a comfort zone where you don't get rejected."[27] Cox stated in an October 19, 2016 radio interview: "There's so many types of sexuality, but one that I think is overlooked is to be asexual. I am absolutely asexual. I am a virgin at 34 years old."[28]

In December 2014, Cox was hospitalized after being hit by a car.[29]


With Deerhunter:

As Atlas Sound:

With Cate Le Bon


  1. Fitzmaurice, Larry (April 29, 2013). "Featured: Deerhunter". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  2. Leahey, Andrew. "((( Atlas Sound > Biography )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  3. "The 50 Best Rock Bands Right Now". Spin. October 16, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  4. Sherburne, Phillip (January 5, 2010). "Hey Dude, You Got Chillwave In My Glo-Fi". Rhapsody. Archived from the original on March 24, 2010.
  5. Goodman, William (November 11, 2009). "Deerhunter Frontman Goes Acoustic". Spin. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  6. Klingman, Jeff (2008-02-20). "Atlas Sound: Interview". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  7. Cox, Bradford. ATLAS SOUND in series: SXSW - All Roads Lead to Austin 2008. Dig For Fire, Vimeo. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  8. 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.
  9. Hogan, Marc (2008-01-14). "Interviews: Atlas Sound". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  10. Dombal, Ryan (2009-07-09). "Deerhunter's Bradford Cox Announces New Atlas Sound Album". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  11. Thompson, Paul (2008-08-19). "Deerhunter's Microcastle Now Available Now on iTunes". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
  12. "Atlas Sound Demos Taken Down by Sony". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
  13. "Sony Apologizes to Bradford Cox". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
  14. ATP: All Tomorrow's Parties
  15. "Karen O and the Kids: The Rockers of "Where the Wild Things Are"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  16. Pelly, Jenn (November 27, 2012). "Bradford Cox to Play Jared Leto's Lover in New Movie". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  17. "Deerhunter - Bradford Cox Guitar Rig Gear and Equipment". 2009-06-05. Archived from the original on 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
  18. "Deerhunter Live @ Noise Pop 2009". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
  19. "Deerhunter - Nothing Ever Happened (live)". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
  20. "Atlas Sound : Kid Klimax @ The Bottom Lounge". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
  21. "Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 - Saturday". YouTube. 2012-07-14. Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  22. Victoria Segal. Q magazine, November 2010. Q & A. Halcyon Digest album review. p. 113.
  23. Breihan, Tom (2009-04-10). "5-10-15-20: Bradford Cox". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  24. Aaron, Charles (2008). "Pretzel Logic". Spin Magazine. Spin Media LLC (April 2008): 76–82.
  25. Reeves, Mosi. "Bradford Cox: Boy wonder." Creative Loafing. February 13, 2008.
  26. Logan K. Young. Deerhunter @ Trouser Press. - ...a non-practicing homosexual.
  29. Gordon, Jeremy (December 5, 2014). "Bradford Cox Hospitalized After Being Hit By Car". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  30. Minsker, Evan (September 24, 2019). "Cate Le Bon and Deerhunter's Bradford Cox Announce New EP, Share Song: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
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