I, Apparatus: Stunning Adventures in Sound

Photo by Haley Conlin

The resourceful musicians who compose the stunning compositions of I, Apparatus certainly possess a sense of adventure and intrigue.  Presenting a sonic wall of sound with compelling lyrics to back it up, I, Apparatus is sure to excite all whom encounter their exhilarating refrains.  Ebola and The Botanist is their sonic full length debut, recently unleashed through the good folks at Hotfoot Records.   Here is a recent interview we conducted with one of the members to find out more about I, Apparatus and their grand symphonies of devastation.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in I, Apparatus, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Cody Hamm, I’m nineteen years old and I am the vocalist for I, Apparatus. Patrick Finnicum is 19 also and he plays guitar. I, Apparatus has been together for nearly four years. Tim Heck, who is the newest member of I, Apparatus is twenty three years old and plays drums. He loves basketball. BJ Moore is 32, an accomplished tinkerer, and he plays bass. Dennis Mikula, 21, plays guitar also, and is obsessed with Pokemon and old school sailor tattoos.

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
The band is based out of Minot, North Dakota and we have a very interesting scene here. Minot’s scene is a varied bunch bands spanning all genres. Bands play a lot of mixed bills here, that are either at the smaller DIY venue or in rented hotel halls, where the larger shows happen. The North Dakota scene in general consists of Minot, Bismarck, Fargo, and Grand Forks, Williston and sometimes shows happen in Dickinson. Among the bands playing shows right now in our area, we suggest checking out our friends in Tiny Moving Parts, Victor Shores, Baltic to Boardwalk, It Came From The Sea, Battlefields, Life Won’t Wait, Tribes, David Loves David, and Benefactor.

Is there any story or overall concept behind the CD title Ebola and The Botanist?
Basically, EBOLA stands for all of the corruption in the world. Big government, greed, complacency, religion as a means to control, and overall ignorance are like a disease to humanity as a whole. Only if we love and accept one another can we save ourselves. That’s where BOTANY comes in.

Please select two songs from Ebola and The Botanist and what inspired the lyrics.
Deatheater – The lyrics for this song discusses the hypocrisy in organized religion, and the idea that if people loved one another for the sake of humanity, and not a promise of an afterlife, acceptance among humanity would naturally occur.

Aluminati – This song is about questioning everything in your life. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but finding the truth in the things is much more rewarding. It’s so easy to live blinded by the ideas set out for you. Take a good, hard look at life and find out who you are, what you truly believe, instead of living a lie that’s been forced upon you.

How did you cooperation with Hotfoot Records come about?
We had talked with a few labels in the process of writing and recording Ebola and the Botanist, and Jeremy from Hotfoot was the one who we connected with the most. We’ve played shows with bands that were/are on Hotfoot and kept hearing great things. Jeremy’s been very supportive and helpful with the release of the record, and thats more than we could’ve asked for.

What could one expect from a live I, Apparatus show?
No shoes, that’s the only rule. A chaotic, high energy mix of flesh, noise, and random strangers that become your new, best friends.

Have you ever played in the Los Angeles area or plan to do so in the future?
We have yet to venture to southern California, but we hope to play in Los Angeles soon, as we want see what truths come out of certain myths of that city.

What kind of touring have you done in the past and do you have any unusual stories from the road you could share?
We’ve done multiple tours both to the east and west coasts, along with countless mini-tours around the midwest. We’re touring to Texas in January with our friends Victor Shores, and have more touring plans in spring/summer being worked on.

Patrick kept us from not being Cliff Burton clones on a super shitty winter drive to Rapid City, South Dakota. Run-in’s with other worldly people in the South, and “Chic-Fil-A’ing” are only a couple of things that have happened. What happens on the road stays an inside joke.

Are you or any of the other I, Apparatus members involved with any other bands or projects?
Combined with our work schedules and playing shows/touring, I, Apparatus is the main focus of the members. Side projects are always messed around with, but rarely take on lives of their own.

Who did the stunning cover art for Ebola and The Botanist and how much input did you have on it?
The cover art was a collaboration, with our friend Cera Pignet doing the initial artwork and our very own Dennis Mikula doing the coloring. All of the internal artwork was done by Dusty Finnicum, who is an amazing artist. The use of the ‘treeman’ is a reference to a person fighting to save himself, while losing his humanity to a disease overtaking his body. We were very verbal on how we wanted it to look and Cera, Dennis, and Dusty did an amazing job.

What was your favorite CD of 2011 and why?
CodyFormer Thievesthe language that we speak” – each song stands out from the next and has an original feel. the best No Sleep release by far.

TimThe Reptilianfull health” – because Russ is the man

DennisWolves in the Throne RoomCelestial Lineage” – it was put together very well, and you can easily get lost in it. The mixture of multiple instruments and voices blend together perfectly.

PatrickEmpire! Empire!Home after Three Months Away” – because it’s beautiful and lovely.

BJDefeaterEmpty Days and Sleepless Nights“-the song writing and the lyrics are top notch.The story line is amazing, the passionate but abrupt ending of ‘White Oak Doors.’ Combined with the four acoustic tracks, the record is packed with so much feeling that it’s hard to not be taken back by it’s whole.

What’s up next for I, Apparatus in the New Year?
Touring for two weeks in January with our friends Victor Shores, with more touring to follow in spring/summer hitting areas we haven’t been to yet. We’ve also got some new songs written for some splits that are in the works.

Any final words of wisdom?
We’re humbled by the support shown to our band, and continue to give thanks to those who give a damn about what we do.

Support your friends, support local/underground music. Support the DIY venues you have in you area. Don’t take shit for granted, because all that you love can be lost so quickly.

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

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