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

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It has been five years since Northumberland’s Apache Viking have been on the musical radar; a combination of personnel changes, work and family commitments has put the band somewhat on the sidelines. With the release of their long-anticipated EP this month, the band’s strong DIY ethic is finally reaping rewards, both in the UK and across the pond.

Magic Dudes, released by EDILS Recordings and American outfit Bleeding Gold Records this month, showcases a distinct evolution in the band’s sound, which bassist and new band recruit Chris Stainthorpe puts down to their mixture of musical influences.

“The sound’s evolved massively,” he says. “Previously they were providing rhythm just with guitar sounds so it left it sounding a bit thin, but now you’ve got that low end coming from the bass and two guitarists who’ve played together for several years and know each other inside out. The new EP is recognisably Apache Viking, but with the addition of more rhythmic sensibilities to underpin it all.”

The band’s quirky alternative sound has been compared to the likes of Les Savy Fav and the Pixies, but inspiration has also come in other forms. “Sound’s only one part of it,” Chris says. “We’re very DIY, approachable and have a really strong work ethic which keeps us together. If you’re forcing yourself to make music you’re doing it wrong, if you’re making music because you absolutely have to then you’re in the right place.”

Genre-defining hip-hop act Run The Jewels also act as an unlikely inspirational source for Chris. “They’re both forty year old blokes with kids and wives. They’ve had huge underground careers but have distinguished themselves through plugging away at it and never giving up, refining their craft, putting practice in everyday. At the ripe old age of forty they pull out this astonishing, genre defining, unifying album.”

“If you’re forcing yourself to make music you’re doing it wrong, if you’re making music because you absolutely have to then you’re in the right place”

Apache Viking’s sound continues to evolve, and while the new EP combines the same quirky and at times anarchic attitude of their early music, it is now refined into a well-rounded entity. The introduction of bass on Magic Dudes demonstrates a pulsating and marauding rawness, while the short and sweet Sailboat is even more energised, giving Paul Cosgrove a chance to show off his vocal skills with some impressive, if at times unhinged vocal gymnastics. Shake provides the biggest surprise, demonstrating a more mature slowed-down approach, thanks to twanging guitars, a catchy chorus and scattergun drums.

Given that the band already have a US tour in the pipeline, as well as a slew of gigs in the UK, what is it they’re hoping their fans take from their refreshed and refined sound? “Sore feet from dancing! We want people who come to a show to get a big hug and a sloppy kiss afterwards. I guess that’s the formula behind successful rock music.”

Apache Viking’s Magic Dudes is released on 9th March via Bleeding Gold/EDILS Records. The band play Gateshead’s Central Bar on Friday 27th February.

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