Thursday, August 4, 2011

Apeshit Interview

1. Can you give us a brief history of the band?
We formed in 2005. Partly a product of being bored with the bands saw, and there being such a small scene for the music that ¡Apeshit! would go on to create, so we really wanted to do something ourselves. We are all originally from Richmond, VA, and were aware of each other’s bands there, but really became friends in New York. Richmond has a great DIY scene with lots of bands doing really creative and ambitious things, and we were used to that. To us, it felt at the time that this wasn’t happening in New York, what we were used participating in, so it was easy for us to step in and fill that void.

2. How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you before?
This is always the answer that changes constantly, isn’t it? Spastic, thrashy, grindcore punk that is reminiscent of the energy of early eighties eastcoast hardcore bands. We feel that we bring a newly evolved set of elements to each sub-genre that has developed since then, and we touch on our enthusiasm for them. Our individual influences vary from every spectrum of the scale, from Kurasawa soundtracks and world music to three chord punk songs and blinding fast death metal. Early on we got compared to a lot of 90’s SD bands, and in some way there is a connection sonically.

3. What is the meaning behind the band's name?
We had a lot of different names, ¡Apeshit! just simply fit. There were so many bands with exclamation points at the time, why not have Spanish exclamation points?! It's really about the live show, the experience of that, and we think it exemplifies that notion of excitement that we feel.

4.What releases have you put out so far?
When we first formed, we put out a self-titled demo of 13 tracks in both CD and cassette. Two years ago, we released a split 12" with an amazing band called Tiger Shark on Molsook Records. Chimp Attack! from Ohio is releasing our side of that record on cassette as well...releasing this June. Side A plays forward, and Side B is mastered backward, so the tape only plays in a single direction. Our new release is a 7 song 7" coming out on Mother Chorizo Records this June, which we are supporting with a West Coast tour.

5. How would you describe the musical progress over the years?
We write to a point where the songs make sense to us, sometimes it’s a direct route; others are more of a journey. It’s always been an aggressive band, now things are clearer for us yet getting more complicated and uncanny…where as it used to be more of a cathartic experience. The songs manifest in a way that capitalize on our previous work; we tend to write in batches and try to manipulate and shape them according to how they sound as or in a set. There are no real goals or expectations, just persistence and movement. This band consistently works in the present, and we judge our progress by pushing each other, listening for what we haven’t heard.

6. How would you describe the lyrical content of the music?
They are weird metaphorical conversations, that come off pretty abstract on paper...and live you can't understand anything, so it all kind of makes sense within itself as a component to the music. They are about chopping away at something, something that deems control or power.

7. What direction do you see the band moving into during the future?
Definitely acting. We have a pitch for three movies involving the band in unusual comic situations, like ¡Apeshit! at Cheerleading Camp, ¡Apeshit! Gets a Desk Job, and ¡Apeshit! in Afghanistan. Other than that we’ll just keep writing and playing as much as possible, that’s very important to us.

8. What are some of the best live shows that you have played?
It’s crazy, when we first started playing there were staple venues to play in the city, and some smaller satellite places in Brooklyn and Queens. Now there are so many venues in Brooklyn, and the city is pretty dead right now. Although there are some places making it cool again like Santo’s, but there has been an explosion of possibilities mainly in the Bushwick, W-Burg, and Greenpoint areas like Dead Herring, The Charleston, DBA, Lost & Found, and tons of other lofts, warehouses, and basements; there are too many to list. Richmond and DC are always favorites of ours, and we have grown really affectionate to Charleston SC. We tour every year, we were in the mid-west for about a month last year, and have been to Europe, which is an experience every band should look to do. It is very passionate there and really rewarding. It’s hard to say what constitutes a good show, each audience activates with us so differently depending on the town or venue. We have played some small shows where kids have gone fucking crazy as well as larger venues and festivals with thousands of attendants. Some times a Brooklyn bar, Richmond basement, or Charleston house can be more intense than a well promoted arts space or festival, and those really are our favorite gigs. We are on the floor, it’s hot as fuck and louder than hell, and you can’t see shit. We’re in the middle of the crowd, in the middle of chaos, with people flying overhead. The Whitney gig is always a funny story, but the real shout-out has to go to Skatopia. Those boys are fucking maniacs!

9. Are there any touring plans?
This June we will be on the West Coast from June 16th-28th w/ Litany for the Whale.
We like to do short tours around the NY tri-state area. 3 day weekends down South, 4 days North...those types of tours. Its great to get out of the city when we can.

10. What are your main influences music wise or non-music wise?
There are so many, it’s hard to list. In this particular genre we’re trying to breathe the life back into this type of music, giving it a fresher course and expanding on it. We feel this type of music has taken too many steps backward and we want to evolve on it and move forward. Bands that have become popular in this genre are simply biting old material; who is bringing anything new to the table?

11. What are you listening to nowadays and what are some bands or releases that you would recommend?
Brainworms, Failures, Antilles, Straight No Chaser, Uber, SnackTruck, TigerShark, LFTW, Pygmylush, Dead Milkmen, Modern Creatures, Gull, Pink Razors, Hail Hydra, TurboSlut, Ultra Dolphins, Rapeman, Spires, Des Ark, Towers, Capsule

12. What are some good films or books that you would recommend?
As a band we would say everyone should watch the Metallica documentary, "Some Kind of Monster." It is like Spinal Tap for real. Fucking hilarious.

13. How does your home state react to your music?
There isn’t really any state recognition that we are aware of, we haven’t played any upstate shows as much as we would like to. We consider ourselves strictly a Brooklyn NY band. It has taken close to 4 years to get the recognition we were looking for in NYC... for the first couple of years most audiences looked at us in shock and bewilderment. We were definitely not part of the mainstream scene at the time, and so there was not much participation, or it was very wary anyway, until near the end of the set when they got it and the confusion was over. But for the last year or two our audience has become more engaged and people feel more free to dance and let loose, which is what it is all about and what we set out to achieve originally. People have become more familiar with what we do and the small, but dedicated, crowd seems to thoroughly enjoy it. The name is also more familiar around town. There is a considerable increase of people who have heard us, or at least heard of, or about us; it is a very easy name to catch onto, which works to our advantage. But we haven’t been asked to play the state fair or anything, that’s not the blue ribbon most frequently offered to us.

14. Any final words?
No, not really. We are a gigging band and that’s our passion. We write and work for the show. So if you want to book us, we will come to your town.
15. Thanks for the interview?
Thank you!

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