It’s time for the second edition of my new blog series #LocalFolk-Us and this month we have local band, Apollo Junction. This electro-indie band from Leeds first came to my attention just before I blogged for Bingley Music Live festival this year. Immediately after listening to a few of their songs, I really liked them. Their catchy lyrics and synth-laden, dance worthy sound reminded me of music from my past.. electronic sounds but with a modern, experimental twist, I felt right at home!
The band formed back in 2012 and include Jamie Williamson on vocals, Matt Wilson on guitar, Johnny Thornton on drums, Ben Hope on bass and Sam Potter on keyboards. Apollo Junction have secured national airplay despite no record deal and have been played on BBC Radio 2 (Graham Norton’s, BBC Radio 6 Music, XFM being hailed by the likes of Steve Lamacq, Chris Hawkins, Alan Raw (BBC), Graham Norton, Hattie Pearson (XFM) and Tom Robinson. Their single ‘If I Fell’ has also been featured in The Times and the Metro and was debuted on BBC Radio 2 as well as having spot plays by XFM and BBC Radio 6 DJs.
Judging by the band’s social media and online music presence, they have some serious ambition, with great personalities to match. I decided to interview the guys and find out more.. I even got an ‘Ode to Yorkshire’ out of them. Enjoy!
Tell us about Apollo Junction. Who’s involved ?
Right now it’s us five against the world we DIY everything. But, we have had some amazing help from Darren and Alan at BBC Radio Leeds, the wonderful people who play us at Radio 2 and the kind people at Yorkshire Evening Post. Honestly, we would be lost without people who care.
You’re all Leeds based. What are the greatest thing about Leeds and/or Yorkshire in your opinion?
Ode to Yorkshire (sorry we couldn’t resist)
Fat rascals at Betty’s.
The green that surrounds us,
The cricket team,
Alan Bennett & our music scene.
Our reluctance to change,
Our fear of what’s new,
Our history of keeping opinions and views.
An ode to fields of green,
And skies so blue,
An ode to Yorkshire,
Apollo Junction loves you
I first came across you at Bingley Music Live this year; did you enjoy opening the festival?
Aww man it was the best, we go every year and to open it was so amazing it felt like we had arrived, we had taken a massive step to where we want to be. So proud to be there and want to thank everyone at Bingley for being so kind.
Born in the 80’s influenced by the 90’s you say.. Who specifically, are your influences?
Well it’s a tough one, obviously we love bands like The Beatles, The Stones, Oasis, Cast, James basically all the bands we were brought up on or discovered in our youth. But we take influences from everywhere I think music gets stale when you stop listening to different things.
Who writes the lyrics? Where do you usually gather song-writing inspiration?
We all do. We inspire each other, we are team. We get inspiration from everywhere.
What’s each members favourite song and why?
If you mean ever or favourite AJ song? If it’s band songs we love the next single 😉 you need to check it out! If it is our favourite songs ever…… wow well there are lots of great songs The Beatles – A Day in the Life is a good one, Elvis – Suspicious Minds is another, Redemption Song – Bob Marley and Friday I’m in love – The Cure. But there are millions of stunning songs…
Your songs are definitely dance worthy! I see from your videos that you all like a dance too.. who’s the best dancer of the group?
None of us can dance really….maybe Ben but sometimes he looks a bit like my granddad being shocked by a cattle-prod. It’s all a bit embarrassing really.
You guys seem fairly social-media savvy. Do you think that on-line presence is important for your band?
Yeah I think so, we love having a closer relationship with our fans. It’s also lovely when you get a message from someone in Russia say they love your tunes. The internet gives you the chance for that to happen. So please get on Twitter and Facebook and say Hi!
The official video for your song ‘Begin’ has around 67,500 views on YouTube, that’s a great achievement. Did you enjoy making the it, I heard you almost got arrested…?
Did you get that information from the West Yorkshire Police? Basically we ‘found a way’ into an abandoned warehouse and we had a mannequin in bits in a black bin liner as a prop. Basically someone complained about the noise disturbance. The police turned up to see us with a black bin liner with arms and legs sticking out of it. We were put up against the wall, backup and dogs were instantly called.
Tell us about your favourite gig/s Also, do you get nervous? Do you have any pre gig traditions?
Got to be opening Bingley Festival, we have played some amazing festivals this year we have been so lucky, Apollo, Oakwell and Yorfest were phenomenal and we loved every second of those. But we go to Bingley ever year and have dreamt to be on that stage, and then being back stage with Cast and James was just remarkable. Hmmm pre gig traditions, we just also give it 100%, leave nothing on stage we always come off stage shattered!
How do you balance your music with the other obligations in your lives?
Music is our lives so no- we don’t balance it well at all.
Graham Norton on BBC Radio 2 said ‘These guys are very handsome and their music is tremendous’ How do you feel about that?!
Well humbled by the comment about our music and arrogant about the comment of our looks. I must admit 50% of the above statement is true… I am not sure our music is tremendous.
Who would you must like to tour with, and why?
Oh it has to be Oasis, one of the biggest bands of all time; we have listened and loved them for years and if they go on tour it means they are back together!
What would you all like the future to hold for Apollo Junction?
There is no middle ground on this, we want to be the biggest band in the world.
Finally, anything you would like share with us, any upcoming gigs/tours or songs/albums?
There is always loads going on in our world, you just need to get on Facebook, twitter, and go download some songs for free on our website www.apollojunction.com We’ll then keep you updated with everything going on in our world!
You can also watch Apollo Junction’s latest single In Your Arms here..