The duo of Alex Lee and Brandon Spearman originally conceived Apparitions after their participation in various projects, the latest being This Twilight City. Now with a full on band membership and signed to Indianola Records, Apparitions is ready to hit the road and take on the world by storm. The debut album Kiss Me Sleeping is an explosive post hardcore effort, featuring introspective lyrical content and ultrasonic musical reveries. Here is an interview we recently conducted with guitarist Aaron to find out more about this dynamic band destined to explore your deepest of aural dreams. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Apparitions, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Aaron, and I play guitar in Apparitions. The band’s been together for almost two years, and I joined last year.
Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We’re actually from all over the place. I live in Atlanta, but the rest of the members hail from sea to shining sea, from Michigan to Washington State to South Carolina. We’re primarily based out of Clemson, SC where we rehearse. As for great local bands, I can’t speak for some of the members’ hometowns because I don’t live there, but we have a vibrant and thriving scene here in Atlanta. The collection of talent here is amazing and inspiring, plus the city is home to a lot of national bands as well. I play in a band from Atlanta called 1978 Champs that’s releasing their debut this week, so I’m excited about that, and there’s an art-punk band from here called Baby Baby that I really like. Their shows are lively and a lot of fun, so I’d recommend checking them out. We’re also friends with a band called Akira that’s based near where we rehearse and they’re like family to us, and there’s another band, Images, from that area that’s full of extremely talented musicians so both are definitely worth a listen.
How did the duo of Alex Lee and Brandon Spearman meet and where you involved with any other projects prior to Apparitions?
No, I hadn’t met them prior to joining Apparitions. Brandon and Alex have been playing together for a while, going from Anchors For Reality to This Twilight City to finally Apparitions. When I first met them, we were surprised at how many times we had crossed paths over the years and not known it. We turned out to know a lot of the same people.
In your early press pictures there only two members in the project. Now you have a whole army of musicians. Where did all of the new members come from and are they from any other known bands?
Like I said, we’re from all over, so we kind of had to come together gradually. It takes a lot to uproot your life and have to be gone all the time, so it was a process, and mostly done via referrals, mutual friends, and ads for auditions. Most of us have been in touring bands before, so it wasn’t a huge deal to get everyone on the same page. I used to play in The Rise of Science and Alex and Brandon had done the two bands I mentioned previously, but for some members this is their first foray into music.
Is there any story or concept behind the Kiss Me Sleeping title?
It’s a pretty introspective album, honestly. The title alludes to a state of unawareness in which recognition of emotional events is impossible, and hints at the somewhat dark overall theme of the record.
Select two songs from Kiss Me Sleeping and what inspired the lyrics.
“Modern Whorefare” is one of my favorites to play live because it’s so technical and has a lot of energy. Lyrically, the song explores the hypersexualized culture within popular music that’s always been present but only recently bubbled up to the surface again with the advent of the Millenial Age, where everything is digital, permanent, and global. Typically, it’s a suppressed mainstay of music that’s almost swept under the rug in a sense and only acknowledged whenever some controversy, manufactured or not, comes up. The song isn’t about banging groupies or anything like that; it’s more an acknowledgement, or I might even say casual analysis, of the connection between music and sites like isanyoneup.com and the occasional cultural flare-up it produces. We contend that the convergence of different forms of non-verbal communication between humans, much like the relationship between song and dance, is a testament to who we really are as a species and as individuals rather than something to be looked down upon.
“Burn Alive” is, in a nutshell, about all the things that can and often do go wrong in a relationship. It’s about wasting time, not understanding yourself, and losing your identity within a web of lies and deceit in a relationship with another person. The personal and moral battle we wage when telling a lie is a pretty big deal in the song, and whether you’re the victim of a lie or the liar, anything but the truth detracts from rather than enriches your character and identity. We are only who we are when we’re honest, and failure to be so robs us of ourselves and robs other people of the chance to truly know us. The song’s main character finds out that lies are flammable, and when they finally explode and burn violently, even he’s not safe from the inferno.
Who produced Kiss Me Sleeping and what was it like working with them?
We did, actually. I did the lead guitars and samples at my house and everything else was recorded at Alex’s place. It was very much a self-produced effort, and not like what people normally expect when they think of doing a record: there was a lot of sending files back and forth and a lot of teamwork in editing the instruments. We had Andrew Bayliss from Life on Repeat mix the album, and we think he did a fine job. As I said before, we did this album in pieces and from locations that were separated by hundreds of miles, so we didn’t so much work with Andrew personally, just enlisted his services to put the final touch on the record once we were done.
What could one expect from a live Apparitions show?
Well, I fall a lot, so if you come to more than a few shows chances are you’ll see that at least once. On the last tour I partially dislocated my shoulder, and we jump around so much that we almost always end up colliding with something onstage, from other members to drum kits to scrims. Usually we’re bloody by the end of performances; we’ve all gotten beat up by each others’ instruments and run into one another on a fairly regular basis. In other words, even if you hate the music, you’ll at least be entertained watching us play it.
Has Apparitions ever played in the Los Angeles area or plan to do so in the future?
We haven’t yet, but since world domination is our ultimate goal, obviously LA is on the list of places to play.
Any strange or unusual happenings while out on the road or at a live show?
You could have started the interview with this question and never need to ask anything else; our band has notoriously bad luck and those stories could fill multiple interviews. We manage to injure ourselves a lot during performance, but that’s sort of an everyday thing. The most recent thing I can think of is the power steering going out in the van on the last tour. We had to make it from Jacksonville FL to Raleigh NC the next day and couldn’t wait around in Jax to repair it, so we took turns muscling that enormous van and trailer up the interstate 6 hours to NC without any power steering. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to drive a large vehicle without it, but it takes more strength than moving three pianos at the same time (I had no idea it was even possible) and now I think it should be made into an Olympic Event.
Has Apparitions ever played Warped Tour and if so, what was the experience like?
No, we haven’t done Warped Tour yet.
While at a show, some drunk guy offers you $100 cash to play What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction in your set. He is obviously serious and wants to hear the song. What do you do?
When I read this question I laughed out loud and thought “Dude, we’d do it for less than that…”.
If the music of Apparitions was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
A dozen Dunkin Donuts blueberry munchkins. Not really sure why that was the first thing I thought of, but I’m sure it has very little to do with the fact that I’d really like some right now. And some of their coffee.
What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
Probably the raw emotion behind the themes of the songs. I think it’s an album that’s easy to identify with, both lyrically and musically, so I would want listeners to find the phrases and the melodies that mean something to them and hold on to them for support or inspiration. Music is such a primal and universal language that even the timbre of an instrument or a collection of melodies will elicit strong emotional responses, and in some ways it’s a window into the intent of the artist as well as something the listener can apply to their own lives, whether it’s comfort in hard times or even the simple enjoyment of hearing something they like. To us, it’s a way to connect with people in ways we ordinarily couldn’t, and we want to find that commonality with the listener and give them something they can take with them. Our music comes from a place of love, respect, and camaraderie so we hope the listener is able to gather that and benefit as a result.
Any final words of wisdom?
May the Force be with you.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Hope to see your band out here in Los Angeles soon.
Absolutely, thank you for having me.
Alex – Vocals
Brandon – Vocals/Electronics
Corey Ku – Bass/Vocals
Cooper – Drums
Dylan – Guitar
Aaron – Guitar
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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