Every now and then, in this particular line of work, one gets the chance to have a chat with a band that just takes interesting to another level. Apate fit that mould quite well, as the time was taken to discuss the ins and outs of their fantastic new EP, Spit You Out, as well as their wonderful world and that never-ending stream of Asahi, one such as they would discover backstage at their shows. Straight away, you get the vibe that these Brisbane boys aren’t your typical “Core” act, as the many that are out there today are. No, these boys have a distinct personality and sense of wit that certainly made this chat pleasurable, as the curiosity around their band name came up straight off the bat. “Apate is actually the name of a Greek deity. She is the personification of deceit,” Zakk Ludwig ( vocalist) so elegantly describes, which immediately takes one back to that famous scene in the movie Wayne’s World, where the duo go backstage at an Alice Cooper concert to be educated on the American Indian culture of that region. Yes, the belief is there. Zakk knows how to party, as he giggles to further explain, “Originally we were called Genesis, unaware of the fact that Phil Collins kind of already had that one covered.” Ah, the blessed naivete of youth, but hey, at least these guys have great taste, as Zakk laughs and further explains, “And the song ‘Pandora’s Box’ from our first EP was supposed to be called ‘Apate.’ After being made aware of the fact that Genesis was already a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, we picked Apate last minute to be our band name. We stuck with it because it’s really unique, and also people struggle to pronounce it which is a good topic of discussion, haha.” This discussion, let me tell you, is off to a beautiful start. I like these guys even more now, as the laughter does its wonderful job of breaking any and all ice that was there to make this chat nothing but warmth from here on in.
You see, the boys from Brisbane, who have just dropped one hell of a new EP in Spit You Out, best describe their sound as “raw, unsettling and super heavy.” Zakk then follows about themselves live, “our live show is just an extension of that. It is full of violent energy and movement. I don’t think there’s even a second that any of us are standing still on stage.” You really get the vibe these guys are serious and Ludwig’s description is quite believable. Before we got into discussing the new EP, the need to learn more about the live show was a curious itch, as the question was asked what it is about the live show that gets these guys pumped.
“Just the energy and infectious good vibes that is always present at shows. It’s hard not to enjoy seeing so many people enjoy the music that you have spent such a long time working on and investing yourself into. Seeing people scream the lyrics in Zakk’s face or get riled up by a riff that I wrote one night in my bedroom all that time ago is just such a rewarding experience and none of us would trade it for the world,” describes guitarist Caleb Patch, who along with Kurt Doglione on guitar, Tim Wheaton on bass, and David Hensler on the big bad drums make a hell of a chemistry that creates a musical spark.
Conversation shifted as discussion of the new EP Spit You Out transpired, with a nod to the impressive production that really brings this band full circle on a sonic assault level, and one ponders how tough of an effort this was, as my question was adequately answered, “The main contributing factor is probably the fact that our guitars are tuned to pretty stupidly low tunings, double drop D is our lowest note. Cody, our producer, is an absolute wizard. You’d think the dude came out of the womb mixing tracks. He’s insane.” So much experimentation involved with amps, guitars etc? “We leave most of that up to our producer Cody. We give him an idea of the sound we want and he makes it happen. So far he’s nailed it every time so that’s why we keep going back to him,” the band joyously responds. And on the overall studio experience, lessons were indeed learnt. “This is the third time we’ve recorded with Dan Field so we were pretty comfortable coming into this record. We kind of stretched it out over a really long period of time though and looking back we would most likely get it done a lot quicker if we had to do it over. Oh well, another lesson learned.”
The EP itself is a hell of a blast to check out, as these guys certainly bring something vibrant to a pretty abundant population of acts in this genre, and one track in particular really stood out with ‘Spit You Out.’ When asked about this track, there was surprise from the description with a real sense that these guys are truly passionate about the songs they create. “The vibe is pretty dark and sinister really, it’s just an outpouring of all our raw emotion built up from very real and confronting personal experiences throughout our lives. A big part of the concept of the record is the distortion of who you are as a person that can be caused by situations and experiences that you are exposed to and made to deal with as you go through life. This is really all tied together with the artwork, depicting a beautiful yet unsettling image of a girl who’s face is morphed and distorted to create quite a disturbing look that seems to draw the viewer in.” Safe to say this song is one of many that really hits home then for the listener? A slight pause, and then this thought offered, “Although it touches on some extremely heavy subjects, the whole idea behind ‘Spit You Out’ is not to leave the listener depressed or distressed, it’s more a way of us to reach out to anyone going through a hard time and let them know they aren’t alone. Each and every person will experience hurt and low points in their lives that are just an unfortunate fact. We just hope that anyone who listens to this record is able to relate in some way and know that there are other people going through the motions the same way they are.”
You really cannot help but like these guys for their intense honesty. The other highlight of the track ‘Spit You Out’ is Zakk’s clean vocal in the chorus, that could just well be a contender for song of the year in my book, but hey, the listeners of the universe can be the judge. The way the melody floats and soars over the power of the track is hypnotic. One wonders if there’ll be more of this. “Yeah for sure! We intend to have more cleans on future material. We had them in a few songs on our first EP Pandora’s Box, but then they just didn’t seem to fit in the few songs we put out after that, so when it came to recording Spit You Out we decided we’d give them another crack and really liked how they turned out. The original version of the song actually didn’t have cleans in it, but I had a melody stuck in my head and told them to let me give it a go, so that’s how those cleans came to be,” Zakk triumphantly and merrily responds, as he should and a high five is in order for determination. What’s great from here is the question of how these guys see themselves in comparison to other acts of the genre. “We try to not really compare ourselves to other bands, but we think our diverse range of influences is what really sets us apart. We blend a multitude of nods to 90s and early 2000s Nu Metal and grunge bands like Korn, Deftones and even some Silverchair with really heavy breakdowns (because who doesn’t love a good breakdown here and there), ridiculously low tuned guitars and also in this record we tried to incorporate more faster, jiggy riffs to make sure it doesn’t just blend into one big breakdown.” So obviously a bit of thought involved and even visually then? “We try and set ourselves apart with our very bright and striking visual imagery, particularly the artwork for this record. The second we found Drömsjel’s art we knew he was the perfect artist for our concept we had in mind. His artwork is bold and makes a statement, which is really what we were after. We kept the theme going with our music videos and all our pictures and promos being very bright and bold,” answers the band with a depth and thought that is impressive.
Getting back into the sound of Apate, their lean towards Nu Metal is very interesting with a real Korn-flavoured heaviness. Intentional? asked with an eyebrow raised. “That was 100% was done purposely, haha. Korn is definitely one of if not the main influence of this band and our music. We grew up listening to records like Follow the Leader and their self-titled, so naturally that influence has carried through into our writing process and production choices. When we were thinking about how we wanted the EP to sound as a whole we just kept finding ourselves coming back to that same style that had been ingrained into our minds.”
So, as conversation turns to the live aspect and discussion of “a never-ending stream of Asahi and Guzman Y Gomez burritos,” backstage amongst other things, one imagines what’s on the band’s mind for the year. “Touring, and as much of it as possible. We’re trying our best to see as much of the country as we possibly can through the means of music. We have our tour in support of the release of Spit You Out starting on the 25th of August and it definitely won’t be stopping at just that run of shows.” And touring is great. As the band agrees, “Playing to different cities and different crowds of people is definitely the best part about travelling, and just getting to check out a whole different scene from what we have up here in Brisbane. Also, some of our closest friends as a band have been made on the road. Whether it’s bands we have toured with, or shared the stage with, or even just people we’ve met at shows and along the way. You never know what to expect when you have a tonne of testosterone packed into an enclosed area for extended periods of time, but one thing you can count on is that it’s never boring.”
As we bring this fun chat to a close a reflection back to discussing the vibe of the EP with Apate, who are a great bunch of guys and well worth checking out live. “Ultimately it’s a tool for us to spread a message of positivity, and that’s what we’re all about.”
Spit You Out will be available August 25 via Bandcamp. Preorder HERE!