GET TO KNOW: Grand Apollo
After spending the last few months building and cultivating their sound, Tulsa-based duo Grand Apollo have now unveiled their shimmering debut single 'New Mexico'.
Filled with a broad and textured direction, 'New Mexico' makes for an impressive introduction to their sound. With its rich and uplifting tones, and a heavy dose of 80s synthpop influence for good measure, these two look set for great things in the years to come.
So with the new single out now, we joined them in a chat to find out more about their origins and what has inspired them most over the years.
What's the first instrument you learned to play?
Andrew: I actually didn't play any instruments until we started our first band just a few years ago. I thought Preston just wanted me to sing until he shoved a keyboard at me.
Preston: I first played piano when I was 9, but hated lessons so I quit. I got a cheap Stratocaster when I was 11 but it wasn’t until I was 15 I picked up the guitar. I was at my grandparents house and my uncle showed me Eddie Van Halen Eruption live from 1986 and in the next couple weeks I learned the whole thing. Turns out actual guitar was easier than guitar hero. I practiced 6 hours a day in our garage with no air conditioning. I was either sweating or shivering, but I just couldn’t stop playing.
What was the first album you remember owning?
Preston: I actually don’t remember the first album I owned, but I do remember the first album Andrew bought. It was the Daft Punk album Random Access Memories. One of the coolest looking and sounding albums of the 2010’s. He had it the plastic wrapping for years and when he took it out he instantly regretted it. So much for a collectors item I guess.
Andrew: I'm gonna be completely honest I think I stole a Celtic Women album from my parents when I was 5. Prestons the only other person I've ever met who knows who they are (he still listens to them too)
Did you ever form a band when you were younger? What did they sound like?
Andrew: It was called The Playoff. The name sucked and we sounded worse.
Preston: I named it The Playoff and we were great!
What is a song you wish you had written yourself?
Andrew: Our song "No Pressure" was me trying to write a song like "Somebody Else" by The 1975, which at the time I thought was the perfect song.
Preston: Boys of Summer by Don Henley. It’s not only one of my favourites songs of all time, but it’s the perfect driving song. If I get a speeding ticket, it’s probably while listening to that.
What has been the most thrilling moment about creating your own music?
Andrew: I think the first time I realised that I actually liked the music we were making really hit me. I've been writing/producing music for years and before this band I had never been proud of anything I had made. When we put out New Mexico, I hadn't heard it in a month and I thought "I wrote that!?" It was pretty humbling.
Preston: There’s been a couple moments. When there’s nobody is around and the song just comes out with no limitation is probably one of the most thrilling things in the world. It helps that we don’t have to worry about creative differences very often cause the sound seems to always come from what we agree on.
And what about the most frustrating part?
Andrew: I've realised that when I hear something I love, I try to make something that sounds exactly like it. Taking inspiration and making it my own is really hard for me.
Preston: Probably when people keep walking in asking “what are you doing”. It’s not on purpose so you can’t be mad at them, but it’s like putting a dam in a river.
Which artist would you most love to share the stage with?
Andrew: I know it's completely left field but me and Preston have always wanted to collaborate with the Game Grumps. Having them on stage would be sick.
Preston: What Andrew said
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Andrew: I have never known how to answer this question! To be completely honest I just want to make good music for the rest of my life. Along with Grand Apollo, I want to work with other artists, helping them write and produce their own records.
Preston: Wow! With luck I can make music that saves someone’s life. Music is powerful and I’ve always wanted to travel the world playing songs that people can relate to and that give them hope. You never know what people are going through and in 5 years I hope the songs are loud enough to be heard everywhere around the world.
Grand Apollo's debut single 'New Mexico' is available to stream now. Check it out below.