INTERVIEW: Apologies | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Apologies are Newcastle’s newest enigmatic alt. rock band, but if you’re a follower of the local music scene, you’re probably already familiar with its three members. Featuring Joel Thomson of Young Liar on guitar, and Mark Brown and James King of sadly defunct local favourites Let’s Buy Happiness on bass and drums, the instrumental three-piece’s former expertise in creating richly textured walls of sound bodes well for their new outfit.

“We were just sat at the end of the bar complaining about how we weren’t doing many things exciting in music, so our good friend Johnny Hedley [Pigsx7, Blown Out] forced us into a show supporting Pigsx7 in December,” explains Brown. “We had a couple of weeks to get a set together and really enjoyed it, so we started jamming.”

From these relaxed origins, Apologies took “a more natural and less rigid approach” towards songwriting, as Thomson puts it. “With all three Young Liar EPs everything was written and demoed in full before taking it to the practice room. With Apologies, everything has been written entirely in the practice room with all three of us present, allowing us to refine the songs as we went along. The first 15 minutes of the EP were basically written within the first hour or two of us playing together for the first time. The fact that James and Mark have been a rhythm section together for years and years is a huge advantage. It basically means I’ve got a lot of space to try different things out on the guitar without the rest of the music falling to bits.”

“we didn’t want to overdo it and make it sound too polished”

The result of these “semi-improvised” sessions is Apologies’ debut release, A Disgrace To Modern Science. Recorded with Sam Grant at Blank Studios and consisting of just two tracks (although the first track, the record’s namesake, is over 15 minutes long), it’s less your stereotypical debut EP and more a statement of intent. The aforementioned opener is an intricate exploration of sound to truly get lost in, starting off spacious and somewhat ominous with relentless percussion and guitar squalls before changing pace around the eight minute mark into a more aggressive beast, reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It’s an earth-shaking behemoth of a track that is no doubt best heard live and at deafening volume. Outro track Pool Party Violence comes in at just over five minutes; an intensely layered soundscape with less breathing space than its predecessor, but still just as powerful. “What we really didn’t want was for it to just sound like a live recording, which could have been an easy route to go down for this sort of music,” says Thomson. “At the same time we didn’t want to overdo it and make it sound too polished. We basically just played through the whole thing three or four times then cut out bits we hated and kept bits we liked, then played it again.”

“It was nice to play it as a whole from start to finish as I think you sort of feel us getting more exhausted towards the end of it, but that feels more natural,” adds Brown.

Though Thomson states his goal for Apologies is to “move to Mexico”, his plans for the immediate future are perhaps a little more realistic. “We’re all keen to just be as productive as possible. So we’re in the process of writing our second release now which I’m sure you’ll be informed about as and when it’s finished!”

Apologies launch A Disgrace To Modern Science on Saturday 1st August at Newcastle’s Mining Institute.

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