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The Apollo Four - 3/7/14

The Apollo Four - Interviewed 3/7/2014

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The Apollo Four:
·Steve - Drums
·Cliff - Bass
·Scot - Guitar
·Jordan - Guitar
 
The Continental: When did you start the 
band? What made you decide to play
surf/instrumental music? Do you even
call yourself a surf band?
  Steve- We all sort of knew each other from
the Portland surf/roots scene, and one day
in March 2012, we got to talking and
decided it would be fun to play music
together. Scot- I think the only “rule” we had while forming was that we were going to play
instrumental music in the form of classic bands from the 50’s and 60’s- no vocals, loud
punchy drums and bass, with predominantly clean (save for a few fuzz-filled frenzies)
twangy and jangly reverb drenched guitars. Cliff- Some of us have a punk/metal background, and as the old adage goes, “If you
don’t make it as a punk/metal band, you eventually play either rockabilly or surf.” As a
surf-based instrumental band, we play for a broad demographic. We have skater kids
as well as WWII era fans- sometimes at the same show! There are no vocals, so there
is no way to offend people.
Jordan- We call ourselves, “Instrumentalists”. Surf is definitely part of our foundation,
but we pull from many different genres. We call it Surf, Spy-Fi, Hot Rod, Lounge,
Action and Adventure Music. If there were a Secret Agent Go-Go Lounge at Cape
Canaveral, it would sound like The Apollo Four!   The Continental: Were there any particular bands or musicians that influenced
your music in those early days?
  Steve- We started with common ground bands like The Shadows, The Spotniks and
Satan’s Pilgrims. Personally, I’m influenced by drummers like Dusty Watson
(Slacktone, Agent Orange, Dick Dale), Ted Miller (Satan’s Pilgrims), Keith Strickland
(The B-52’s), Alan Myers (Devo), Joe Morello (Dave Brubeck Quartet), Earl Palmer
(everything) and many others. Scot- We also are influenced by Takeshi Terauchi, The Challengers, Davey Allan
and the Arrows, Martin Denny, Esquivel, The Ventures… Cliff- As well as Dick Dale, YeYe, 60’s French Soul Pop… Jordan- I agree with the above! We could probably list artists and bands for weeks!
Guitar wise, I grew up on a steady diet of 50’s and 60’s oldies. This may be
blasphemous for an instrumental musician to say, but I was definitely influenced by
The Beach Boys! Also, the guitar playing of Evan Foster (Boss Martians) was a
heavy influence on me when I began playing instrumental surf music.   The Continental: What was the first song you played or wrote as a band?   Steve- We played Apache at our first rehearsal and everything just clicked. Scot- We write and arrange songs as a whole band. Cliff- The first originals we wrote were Caboose, Nitro Twist and Sugar Cube. Jordan- All three are featured on our EP- “Blast Off!”.   The Continental: What is a typical Apollo Four show like?   Jordan- Our shows have been called very Gallagher-esque, with the front row
usually covered in watermelon. Scot- Yup, lots of nudity, riots and stage diving and often ending badly with
someone being handcuffed or tazed. Cliff- Seriously though, we love playing live and it is why we started the band
in the first place. Steve- We have some great musicians in this band. It’s really awesome to see
how we push each other musically. These guys freak me out at every show. Jordan- Ditto! Scot- We’re hoping to venture out of PDX and make it up to Seattle or down
to SoCal to perform in the near future. Stay tuned for summer 2014!   The Continental: Do you like to play with other surf bands? If not, what
kind of bands do you like to pair yourselves up with?
  Steve- We’ve played with punk rock bands, soul ensembles, 100% surf bands,
exotica orchestras, tribute bands, surf nights, hot rod shows and tiki themed
events… so far, so good! Scot- With that being said, we love to catch people off guard by playing
with other genres. Jordan- Lots of times, people don’t know what to expect when you tell them
you’re in a surf/instrumental band. Cliff- It’s a great feeling to make a new Apollo Four fan, and an even better
feeling to make a new surf/instrumental music fan.   The Continental: Are there any modern surf bands that you especially
like?
  Steve- I’m a big fan of Bambi Molesters, Slacktone, Tikiyaki Orchestra… this
could turn into a very long list. Scot- All of the above, plus Daikaiju, Thunderchiefs, The Mobsmen, Los
Kahunas… Cliff- and Los Straitjackets, The Surfites, the Secret Samurai, the Ghastly
Ones… Jordan- and Captain Geech & the Shrimp Shack Shooters ;-). I have found
a lot of great music through Double Crown Records! I love The Volcanics,
The Sinisters and the A-Phonics! Steve- My secret sources for new music are Surf Guitar 101, Clint
Beechwood’s “A Day at the Beach”, JonPaul’s “Fiberglass Jungle” and of
course The Continental CD sampler!   a4001.jpgThe Continental: The “Blast Off!” EP is
awesome, and it’s been a good seller in
the Double Crown webshop. Have you
started working on a new CD?
  Steve- Thanks! We had lots of fun recording
it, and it’s rewarding to hear that people are
digging it! Scot- We have about 6-7 new originals that
are ready to record. Cliff- Typically one of us will bring an idea to
rehearsal, and all four of us work on it
together. We are hoping to get into the studio in the next month or so to
release something by summer. Jordan- In addition to a potential summer release, we are also working on
something with a holiday vibe. You can always stay up to date through our
Facebook page.   The Continental: What gear do you use live and for your recordings?   Steve- 60’s Slingerland and Ludwig drums with Zildian Cymbals. Scot- Custom built Jazzmaster or Stratocaster through a Reverb Tank into
a ‘66 Fender Bandmaster head and 1x12 piggyback cabinet. Cliff- ’62 Fender Jazz Bass piped through a ’72 Fender Bassman 100 with
2x15’s. Jordan- Fender Jaguar into a Reverb Tank into a ’61 Fender Pro Amp head
and 2x12 piggyback cabinet. Scot- Our EP was recorded and mixed by the band at our “Launchpad”
home studio. We recorded live (all of us in the same room, no click tracks,
no overdubs) to 8 ProTools tracks of 24/44.1 digital through vintage style
mics (shure, AKG, Blue, MXL, GLS) and preamps (GA pre-73, Focusrite ISA,
BLA Auteur) as our only outboard gear. Cliff- Our approach to recording is to capture the band’s live sound as
accurately as possible without using a ton of effects or post-processing…
and we do it like they did in the ‘60s, with the entire band playing
together in the same room, at the same time.   The Continental: What are your favorite beers and/or cocktails?   Cliff- Our favorite drinks are the cold ones! Scot- Our second favorite drinks are the free ones, or whatever our
free drink tickets get us when we play venues! Steve- We are working Tang and Kool-aid as potential sponsors, but
they haven’t returned our calls. Jordan- We also enjoy Pabst, Rainer and anything from the Tiki bar!   The Continental: I’m not too far away from you, but unfortunately
it’s a 4-5 hour drive, so day trips aren’t possible. My family and I
have some favorite spots to hit- McMinnemin’s, Voodoo Donuts,
Trader Vic’s, Pok Pok and others. What are a few of your favorite
must see spots- restaurants, shops, bars, clubs, etc.?
  Steve- Well, you’ll see members of The Apollo Four all over town. I like
Dot’s, Voodoo Donuts, Hale Pele, and Trader Vic’s for food and drink. Scot- As far as venues, I like the Spare Room, Duff’s Garage, Starday
Tavern and Dante’s to name just a few. Cliff- Portland has an ever changing landscape of favorite spots that
seem to have a 3-6 year cycle. Currently I’m a fan of Club 21, Beaches
Cruise-In at PIR and See See Motor Coffee Co. I really miss Satyricon! Jordan- There are also several events throughout the year which are a
must see! Tiki Kon is a great Tiki Kon-vention, The Cape Kiwanda
Longboard Classic in Pacific City is a great weekend getaway and The
One Motorcycle Show is amazing! Also, Lardo is a great place to stuff
your face with some mind-blowingly good sandwiches!

To get the full scoop on this awesome band, check out their Bandcamp
and Facebook pages. You can also order their CD through
Double Crown Records:

The Apollo Four - Blast Off! CD-EP - A4001 - $5.75 (Click To Order)