Interview: Apostle

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Last month Eenzy caught up with Atlanta-based chaotic hardcore luminaries Apostle for a heartfelt hobnob after a show. The band gets into how they adapted to losing a member and becoming a trio, how they support each other creatively and emotionally in the band, and they land some solid burns at the expense of jazz and black metal (genres famous for their sense of humor). They’re currently supporting their latest release Liminal. Listen to the interview down at the bottom or on our Spoofy channel and read the edited transcription below.

[Fan crashes interview to tell the band how great the show was]

Eenz: Hey guys, Eenzy here outside 529 once again, this time with Apostle.  You guys wanna introduce yourselves?

Michael: Hello my name is Michael and I play bass in the band.
Murice: I’m Murice I do guitar and vocals.
Evan: I’m Evan – I play drums.

Eenz: I just sat through a pretty bitchin’ show with you guys, Malevich which is another local blackened grind band, Hexis –  a great band from Denmark, and.. I forget the last band actually.  But I have questions about your band so it doesn’t matter. My first question is about the name: where did the name Apostle come from? Is there a story behind it? Did you just pick a word out of the dictionary like Health? What’s up?

Evan: It was kinda something I was sitting on in my early 20’s, I was going through my kind of angsty, atheist-phase. To be totally honest I was like ‘Yeah, it’d be cool to have a band in a chaotic and abrasive style kind of tongue-in-cheek named Apostle’. Honestly, I just thought it sounded kinda cool at the time, and it stuck. When we started playing with Cam when the band actually formed, I had that name in my back pocket from over the years and was like ‘what if we just named it Apostle?’ and it just kinda stuck.

Eenz: Cool, I like it – the bible’s pretty metal in certain parts.  Other parts are pretty fucked up, but whatever [editorial note: dude, the metal parts are super fucked up too]
Second question: You guys blend a lot of different metal genres. I hear like grindcore, maybe some crust, definitely blackgaze, maybe some mathy parts. How would you describe your style of music and the bands you’re influenced by in this project?

Murice: I always just like put us in the category of like chaotic hardcore, just cause it’s an easy catch-all term. I’m sure all of our influences vary, but mine are stuff like Yaujta, Sumac, Infernal Coil, Iron LungCoke BustThe Chariot. Just names like that – listening to them really pushed me to like try to do something more with the music I’m making.
Michael: One of the cool things about this band is that we all have different influences and we listen to a lot of stuff.  For me, especially when I started playing bass instead of guitar, a lot of like Glassjaw – the Material Control record especially, and things like Botch and Russian Circles – just Brian Cook’s bass tone and how he uses a lot of chords, even like Jawbreaker, how their bass player would use a lot of chords to get a thicker sound. When we went down to a three-piece I just wanted to fill as much sound as possible, so for me it was more of a tonal thing, like this band with just a guitar and bass player were able to bring a thick sound I want to try to bring to this band.
Evan: Not to sound cliché, but it really is just like expression. I myself am a huge jazz nerd to a certain extent, I mean Tony Williams is my favorite drummer and probably my biggest source of inspiration. But like Murice was saying, the more extreme forms of punk – grindcore and powerviolence-type bands. You mentioned blackgaze, like yeah the atmosphere is indicative of a little black metal in there, but I’m really just trying to push myself as a drummer and get faster at playing blast beats cleanly just hoping to support the songs and further create an atmosphere for the melting pot of shit we have, the stew we have going.
Michael: Just to jump in there, Evan is a secret weapon in the sense that Tony Williams is his favorite drummer but then he loves black metal and grind and stuff. Especially on this new record, his drumming style really comes through and Liminal really lets what he’s capable of with his influences and ability shine a bit more and me and Murice follow a bit more – let him change the rhythm.
Evan: These guys really give me the freedom to be able to do stuff like that. And it’s definitely an exercise in trust between all of us. We wrote Liminal largely in the rehearsal space, very organically, and so when we allow ourselves to totally immerse within each other creatively, I think some magic can definitely happen and hopefully happened with [the LP]. It’s just a testament to my love for these guys and how they push me and inspire me.

Eenz: That’s awesome, you guys seem like you’re really emotionally intelligent as a band, and you care about each other not just musically, but also appreciate each other. And it’s cool that you are influenced by jazz and also like black metal, cause when I think of black metal the first think I think of is shitty drums. What was your approach to writing and recording the record – you answer a part of this already, and what are you hoping listeners will connect with on the album?

Murice: Our approach was… weed! And just showing up. Just making sure we’re consistent and come to practice and really just invest in each other. What was the second half [of the question]?  Even though like the music is obviously really important, I really hope people check out the lyrics when we get them up and everything. It just feels like everyone is kind of feeling the same way as me, and I don’t know that until I talk to people, and some people don’t necessarily reach out or anything, and I’d just like them to know that somebody feels like you feel. A lot of those lyrics I wrote staring at a buck hoist on my break at work, hating my fucking life, and I didn’t really do much to ‘clean up’ the lyrics or anything, it just kind of is what it is.
Michael:  I think with writing it we were just intentional about what we were doing. Like we came to practice with intention, but we also knew when we needed to not have practice and just like go grab dinner or just meet up and smoke a bowl or a joint. Because we’re friends, and we’re really big on an energy thing – when you go and record this, what the vibe is is what’s gonna be on that record.  So we wanted it to just feel really good and organic, and because there was a change in the dynamic of the band, [with them] losing a member… you know, what is it gonna sound like?

Eenz: Actually that’s my next question, but I wanna say I really appreciate bands that try to be there for people to connect with. One of the things I like about going to shows is that it’s one of the only ways I can reach some emotions that I have and [grapple with] them if I’m seeing a band I really connect with. You guys had a lineup change, you lost I think a founding member, between your last release and this one. How has that affected your songwriting process and your live performances?

Evan: It’s definitely brought us all closer as friends and creatives. In all the bands that Mike and I have been playing in, it seems like three is the magic number in all of them. Having a stripped down sound with just guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, it’s kinda hard to mess that up, but also because we’re so honest with each other with how we’re feeling creatively, mentally, emotionally – I feel like that kind of honesty is reflected in the music as well. Because it’s just the three of us, it’s a lot more close-knit than it has been, really ever. Being the only other founding member of Apostle I can definitely say that. In terms of how it’s affected our writing style? I’m gonna have to pass it to Murice here.
Murice: Damnit, I was gonna skip this one. I think that like Evan said, it’s just an exercise in trust. Having fewer people in the band, we kinda have to trust each other more. You can’t really hide behind anything else. I mean Mike used to play [guitar] and it was like a cushion. But if you’re going to do something, you really just have to commit to it and do it, and this has really taught me that I need to trust myself and the way I’m writing and that it will connect with someone.
Michael:  Yeah you have to trust yourself, but also it’s trusting these other two people have my best interest at heart and the best interest for what we’re doing at heart. So it’s like I can fuck up or bring something to the table and if it doesn’t work, it’s ok and they’re not gonna make me feel stupid for it. Or bringing things to the table like, I literally did this on this record, but saying like ‘I have this riff Murice, do you have any other riffs you could put with it?’ And it’s really cool when Murice can, in the moment, be like ‘What if we just did this [with the riff]?’ and it’s just like sick.

Eenz: Two of you are in another band called Ladybird, and I guess another two of you are in another band [FNTM]. I’ve seen Ladybird live too and you guys rocked. Is there any shared influence between Apostle and Ladybird? It sounds like there is at least a little…

Murice: Yeah, I used to be the frontman of Ladybird, and don’t ever do that first of all that’s the dumbest shit you could do, but the guitarist is also my best friend. He moved to Connecticut and he started building cellos up there and now he does like massage therapy. But his playing style, the way he could just pull riffs out of his ass, and I was like ‘Let’s make a song out of that!’ and he was like ‘Oh I forgot it already’. I still use the tuning he uses because of how much he influenced me and pushed me creatively to try to say something on a mic that can measure up to that. I’m heavily influenced by Connor in Malevich and Christian, as well as both of these guys.
Evan: They had maybe two, three… four other drummers before me, so it’s been a good exercise in learning how other people play and their approach. Now that I’m fairly comfortable with the songs – I still fuck up every once in a while – I try to bring what I’m doing to Apostle to [Ladybird] as well just to make them my own. But listening to Ladybird songs has inspired a lot of the drumming on Liminal. I can hear some guitar influence between Ladybird and Apostle, but that’s just cause it’s you Murice and what you’re bringing to the table.
Murice: He was just looking in my eyes, and I just, I…. *laughs*
Evan: We’re an intimate band.

Eenz: It’s cool that you guys put so much of yourselves in your music, at least that’s what it sounds like to me. Do you guys plan on touring in support of Liminal?

Evan:  That would be great yeah!  Our plan for 2024 is to play some weekenders, but if we can get like a week long tour worked in there somewhere – if anyone has any recommendations send them our way please. @apostlesucks is our handle on IG. But we definitely want to take it on the road and share it with people, we will literally drive to you!

Eenz:  So this is one question for each of you: what is your favorite shared experience as a band?

Murice:  My favorite experience is when we just did our little weekender last month [November 2023]. We kept seeing really cool areas travelling [from Nashville to Richmond] and just nerding out, like just being nature boys. I dunno what the hell was happening, maybe it was the altitude, I gotta blame it on something…
Michael: It was the weed…
Murice: Yeah the weed or something. We just kept like taking pictures and really appreciating the time we were getting to spend together. We’d love to hang out more, but most of the time we just fuck around at practice, so it was like damn, we’re finally getting to hang out plus we’re on the road plus we’re playing music. It was just awesome.
Michael: All of what you said, but the first night when we drove to Knoxville for our AirBnB at like four in the morning and Evan doesn’t have the code to get into the AirBnB, so we have to like just go and knock on the front door of the main house.
Murice: And it is cooooooooooooooold.
Michael: And luckily the dude was super chill and came out in his robe at 4:30 in the morning to let us in so we could get to bed. At the time I was like ‘you gotta be kidding me’, but of course they let us in, but it was hilarious. Only Evan Price – that’s an Evan Price [move]. A Tony Williams right there.
Murice: Evan has this face when he starts getting frustrated and I know some shit’s about to get done.

Eenz: I should point out that he’s like maybe one of the friendliest people I’ve met. So like, that scares me a bit.

Evan: That definitely was hilarious. Lucky for us they ran a yoga studio so they were just naturally chilled out. Verbatim the guy was like ‘you know, we all make mistakes’.
Michael: I would’ve told us to go fuck ourselves at 4:30 in the morning.

Eenz: [Evan] what’s your answer?

Evan:  Ah man.  Honestly there’s just been so many of them. I know that’s so fucking lame, but just being able to do this with these guys is more than enough. I think probably when we started to see a lot of the rough drafts from some of the artwork around Liminal come in – that sort of solidified the direction that we’re going in, just seeing it all in a physical format was really good personally.

Eenz: Yeah I think you guys have great album artwork generally.

Evan: Shoutout to Fabio Rincones, he’s an incredibly talented person, check his artwork out.

Eenz: Ok, I got one question left.  This is a question that I started asking and thought was dumb but people like it cause I get weird answers. Atlanta recently just got some new Michelin starred restaurants, but fuck them cause they’re expensive (probably), so what’s your favorite place to eat around town?

Murice: I can give you my top three for sure. Nam Phuong which is this really good Vietnamese spot off Buford Highway [editorial note: Eenzy seconds this pick]. E Ramen which is a cool, kinda different ramen place in Midtown. And I wanna say La Cubana in Marietta square, those people are super nice every time. Just get the Media Noche and the Guava juice ok?
Evan: La Calavera, it’s a pizza place in this very unassuming house. My girlfriend has a gluten intolerance and they have sourdough crust she can eat – they’re just great people and they make a delicious pie. Can’t go wrong with them.
Michael: For me, I’m gonna say Prison Tacos, or El Progreso over by the prison, it’s a little stand in the back of the bodega. Fucking, so good. Also elmyriachi where I love to get a chicken burrito with just lettuce and chicken, you heard that right. And a bit more north of the city, Hearth Pizza, they do wood-fired pizza – it’s fucking great and it’s a good hang. And then The Earl [down the street] has a great burger in my opinion, every time we play there I eat, and usually I don’t eat when we play.

Stream Apostle’s latest release Liminal on Spoofy or via BC embed below and peep their cool shit on IG

And if you’re really fucking cool, and in the Atlanta area, come rage at Liminal’s release show at Star Bar on Feb 1st

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