Interview: Apologies, I Have None
Despite having been together since the late Cretaceous period, this month sees the release of Apologies, I Have None’s debut album ‘London’. After a selection of EPs recorded as a two-piece and a 7″ single put out on Household Name last year, it’s great to see a full length finally surface. Guitarist, vocalist and founding member Josh talks about ‘London’ the record, London the city, and life as a four-piece…
It seems like it’s taken a while for ‘London’ to come together. Were there creative reasons involved with that or practical ones?
We take a very long time to write songs that we’re happy with. This is really the only reason that it took so long to get ‘London’ together. Loads of bands seem to write a lot of songs and then choose the best for their record, I’d like to be able to do that but we just can’t seem to. Between Dan(other singer/guitarist) and I we probably drop more songs before they even get to the practice room than we do manage to complete songs. This works for us though, and we’re getting better so it definitely won’t be as long a wait until the next record as it has been leading up to this one.
It isn’t hard to see that the city of London has for one reason or another been a massive influence on the band and maybe even the four of you as individuals. Is that relationship a straight romantic kind of appreciation, or is there a deeper love/hate kind of level?
We all love this city and it definitely has influenced us I think in terms of the band and also as individuals. Personally it is a love/hate kind of thing, but certainly leaning more towards the love side. I can’t imagine living anywhere else, except maybe Paris.
I read somewhere that you recorded ‘London’ down in Devon with Peter Miles? He must be the busiest producer in independent music right now. What made you decide to record such a long way from home in such a remote location? Particularly as the rural landscapes of Devon couldn’t be further from a lot of the places you reference in the lyrics.
Yeah Pete is pretty busy, he seems to have a neverending stream of bands recording with him and he does looooong days, i’m not sure how he manages it. Pete’s recorded a lot of albums we like, and friends bands and bands that we respect so it seemed like an easy decision to speak to him about doing our record. The studio is remote, at times you’re driving down small lanes that you’re not even sure the van will fit down but it was peaceful and the counrtyside around it is amazing which is a good counter to spending long hours inside getting picky over small details.
Also, I notice both the tracks from your last 7″ have made it onto the album. Are they new versions?
They are re-recorded versions and sound a lot better than on the 7″, but in terms of arrangement they are pretty much the same. There are some small details that have changed but nothing very obvious. We we’re a bit torn at first on whether to redo them and have them on ‘London’, but I think they’re good songs and in the end we just wanted them on our debut record so they’re there. As mentioned, they do sound way better.
Obviously this is kind of a big year for the city. Are you keen for the Olympics or are you making plans to get out on tour and avoid the crush?
I’m a mix of excited and dreading. I don’t really follow any olympic sports and so am not too bothered with the actual competition side of things, but I’m quite excited just to see what life’s going to be like round here during the games. Dan and I both live and work in East London so it’s probably going to have a big effect on our daily living, we’re also due to be moving out of our flat right in the middle of the Olympics so i’m not too sure how that’s going to go with rent prices and all?!?!?
You’ve already produced videos for ’60 Miles’ and ‘Clapton Pond’, and they’re both stylistically really quite different. I personally probably preferred ‘Clapton Pond’, just because I really enjoyed the narrative element. What were the themes behind both of those? Also, I notice the band doesn’t appear in either video. Are you reluctant to produce a traditional staged performance video?
The video for ’60 Miles’ was sort of influenced by the Free Cinema movement of documentary films from the 1950′s, and also visually by the film ‘Killer of Sheep’ by Charles Burnett. The guy who made it is very into old documentaries and had a strong idea of how he thought it should look. He came up with the idea of just following this kid he knows around hackney with a camera and basically just letting the kid dictate where they went and what they filmed. It’s doesn’t tell a story or anything and is definitely all about the visual style, it’s quite scrappy looking and I think suits the song.
‘Clapton Pond’ like you mention does have a narrative element to it. JG Harding who made the video is great at capturing beautiful shots so we knew it would look amazing, and between himself and Sam Russo (the dude in the video) they refined a loose narrative kind of based on the groove of a record which follows a path to it’s inevitable end, picking up dust on the way. It turned out better than we could have hoped.
Having us feature really wouldn’t have worked for either video. I am quite reluctant to produce a performance video purely as I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of staring down a camera, miming to one of our songs. It may be something that we do at some point though.
You’ve been a four piece for a few years now, but you originally started out as a duo. If you’ll excuse the lazy comparison just for a second, another band that went down that route is Great Cynics. Whereas they’ve revisited a lot of the older songs with a full band, you’ve more or less opted not to re-record old material. Is there a reason for that?
We did actually record a few older songs from our ‘Two Sticks and Six Strings’ ep but they were never intended for the album. We gave two away as a donwload with preorders of the album and another one is on the physical copy of the Clapton Pond single we put out last month. They sound better and I like them a lot, but I think our songwriting has improved drastically in the last few years and the new stuff is just way better. I guess it’s the same with most bands, you’re always more excited about your new songs. I can’t imagine we’ll be revisiting any older stuff again really.
As I’m writing this I know you’re out on tour with Crazy Arm and Great Cynics. I think you’re playing Leicester tonight. How’s that been going? It’s kind of a neat coincidence actually, as the first and only time I’ve seen you play was with Crazy Arm in Plymouth, maybe around a year ago.
We finished this tour last week, it was only short but I’d have loved to keep going for weeks. It was great, we’re big fans of both bands and we’ve all been friends for many years so it was good times all round. I never get tired of watching Crazy Arm or Great Cynics.
I was kind of taken by surprise when I saw your name added to the bill in support of Touche Amore and Pianos Become The Teeth later this month. I think it’s a great lineup and it’s always a positive thing when bands that don’t sound the same can play on the same bill, but I certainly wasn’t expecting the announcement. How did that come about? How do you think you’ll go down with the TA fans?
I’m not too sure how it came about really. We’re not old friends of either band or anything so I guess they were just looking for some support bands and our agent contacted them and they went for it. I’m really excited for these gigs, I love playing with bands that are quite different from us, and we’ve been listening to ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me’ a lot recently, so I can’t wait. I went to see Touche Amore a few weeks ago when they played in London and they were amazing, it’s exciting to watch good bands play well.
I’m not too sure how well we’ll go down to be honest. There’s something quite liberating about playing first on a lineup that you don’t quite fit stylistically on though. You’re playing pretty early and to a crowd that possibly won’t really be into what you’re doing, but if you know this and accept it beforehand you can just go out a smash it and it makes playing really really fun.
Pretty much wherever you search on the internet, you’ll find more than a few places with kind words to say about you (even the NME). Are you particularly concerned with that side of things?
Everyone likes a bit of flattery now and then so it’s good to know that quite a few people think our shits not shit. It’s not something that is of particular concern though, yeah it’s good when there’s a bit of praise but you can’t get bummed out if someone says something bad or can’t stand what you’re doing. People like different stuff and there is almost certainly people out in internet land that hate Apologies, luckily they don’t seem to be writing much though.
What records, new or old, are you currently listening to a lot?
I’ve been listening a lot to Taking Back Sunday recently, the first two albums are so good. Also quite a bit of old Thursday, and a lot of Nina Simone. I don’t really like jazz much at all, but her whole style is quite varied and I love everything about her voice. For more recent stuff, I can’t stop listening to Ghetts’ new mixtape Momentum.
What plans do you have for 2012? Obviously ‘London’ is only just seeing the light of day, so I’m assuming there won’t be much in the way of new material? What about touring, festivals, etc? Obviously there’s Crash Doubt, which looks like it’s got a cracking lineup…
Crashdoubt will be great, we played last year and it was one of the most fun shows we’ve done. We’re going to be touring as much as possible, we’re still planning most of it so i’ve not got much to say at the moment but we’ll definitely be out a lot, and hopefully going to mainland Europe at some point.
I’d like to get something new out at some point towards the end of this year, not sure what yet and I guess it depends on how much new stuff we write. Whatever happens we won’t be waiting as long to put out another record as we have done for ‘London’.
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