Tagged: pixies

Interview: Appletop

All the way from Toulon, in the sun-kissed South of France, Appletop have been pleasing our ears lately with their forthcoming album, Brave Mountains which will be released through Armellodie Records, on March 10th. Drawing on influences from Teenage Fanclub to Pavement, this is alt-rock at it’s most catchy. It’s easy to see why not only I love it, but also why 6music have taken an interest too.

Appletop - Promo 3

We had a chat to singer Pierre (in impressive written English, très bien!) who told us a bit about their music, their forthcoming album release and details of a Glasgow gig which is happening in April (further details to follow soon). You can also grab yourself a download of Madonna in Love, taken from their forthcoming album, at the bottom of the interview.

This is your first UK release, how long have you guys been making music together, and how did you meet?

We have been making music together for a looong time. We’ve been friends since high school, and released our first EPs in 2008/2009 and our debut album in 2010. Quite a classic story. Friends before bandmates, meeting at schools and gigs we were going to.

What’s your local music scene like?

It’s…unexpected. In the south of France, there is not quite a genuine rock n roll tradition. To be honest, not many people are into indie music or just music (if they are, it’s mainly reggae/rap), so it’s quite hard to find an audience, and in this respect, we’ve been relatively lucky I’d say. On the other hand, we’ve seen some quite amazing bands (in quite different styles), coming from our hometown, writing/playing fantastic music : Mina May, Mystik Motorcycles, Hifiklub, Tatiana Sauvage and Bokanosvky. Well, okay, even if they have remained (for now) rather confidential, these are brilliant bands, we grew up amongst them, which is definitely an inspiration.

On top of this, we now have good festivals, and in particular two great festivals directly in our hometown (Midi Festival and Rockorama) with outstanding line-ups every year.

You’re co-releasing the album on A Quick One Records in France and Armellodie in the UK. How did the link with Armellodie come up and why did you want to work with them?

Our first album was released on quite respected French label, but for reasons beyond our control it closed. At the same time, we were playing our first gigs in the UK, and somehow, we felt like we really wanted to give it try over there. Olivier Cancellieri (bass), who has also been mixing most of the album, is a total nerd. He’s often buying and selling gear online, and I think at some point he traded something with Scott Maple from Armellodie, and we started checking out their roster, so finally sent some sounds. They were cool enough to give us a shot.

We reckon we can hear a bit of Teenage Fanclub in your sound, which for us is never a bad thing. Are they an influence? Who else influences your musical style?

There is probably no point hiding that we are HUGE Teenage Fanclub/Pixies/Breeders fans. Well, we grew up in the 90’s, and it’s definitely the kind of music we all love, and where we met. At the same time, I don’t think we are really trying to write/play/produce music from the 90’s. We don’t make music to pay tribute to the past. To us, we are just trying to make music we like, it’s not like we thought about it and gathered saying “let’s make this kind of music”. Its just what happened, it’s selfish : us making music we like!

What are you listening to right now?

We all really dug the latest Mac Demarco, all three of us fell in love with St Vincent, so we’ve been checking out her new album. I heard Olivier (Cancellieri, Bass) is into Holograms, and Nicolas (Faou, drums) really enjoyed the latest Kurt Vile and Violators. (I also recently discovered Vampire Weekend, years later, so it’s a bit in my ears right now)

Have you got any plans to visit the UK? What about a summer holiday to Scotland?

This is happening pretty soon. I heard we might play Glasgow on Monday April 14th – check out www.appletop.eu, we’ll put that on very soon!

Finally, we have to ask, where does the name come from?

This is too silly to give an honest answer. For the most curious reader, the answer is inside our new album “Brave Mountains”, so I guess if you purchase it, you’ll know. HA! (Or maybe I’m just lying, and then you’ll never know. I guess you’ll just have to give it a try)

Brave Mountains is released by Armellodie Records on March 10th. You can pre order your copy here.

Appletop will also be playing in Glasgow on April 14th but as this is just ‘hot of the press’ news, we’re not entirely sure of all the details, I think it’ll be in The Roxy though! So yeah, keep your eyes peeled and definitely go along.

I made you a mixtape…fifteen

Sold out shows seem to be the order of this last week. I’m a little sore about not getting a Bill Callahan ticket for this Saturday’s Celtic Connections appearance. Similar tardiness led to missing out on The National’s docu-tour-fam-dram Mistaken For Strangers at the Glasgow Music and Film Festival, which has a delightful musical accompaniment from the second artist on this, our newest mixtape. Not all is lost though because many a Celtic Connections show has been enjoyed by ourselves, including a couple courtesy of BBC Scotland’s live sessions, plus payday rolled around and now there’s a stack of gig tickets waiting to be taken and torn, leaving stubs to be used as bookmarks. Does anyone else do that, or is it just we two (potentially three)?

Mogwai – Hexon Bogon []

Kim: Mogwai made the top ten!

Mogwai made the top ten!

Mogwai made the top ten!

The band’s scoring of Les Revenants may have been a catalyst for recent popularity, amongst which this week there has been a sold out show at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall as well as their single cask whisky selling out at The Good Spirit Co. Whatever the instigator, it is overdue and long may it continue. Enjoy the swift dramatic rumble of Rave Tapes’ album art-track Hexon Bogon.

Mogwai made the top ten!

Rozi Plain – Humans []

Kim: The last entry I made on Elba was a post packed full of information about the Glasgow Music and Film Festival. There was so much detail that the articulation of my overall enthusiasm may have been drowned out. It’s not often that my giddy chatter will be interrupted by such seriousness but I’ll allow it once again here. One of the most desirable events, as expected, was Mistaken For Strangers at The Glad Cafe. Lost Map Records’ Rozi Plain will play after the screening. Alas it’s now sold out but if you are unfamiliar with last year’s Joined Sometimes Unjoined then Humans should unite you.

Richmond Fontaine – Moving Back Home #2

Phil: This weeks excuse to shoehorn an old Richmond Fontaine track on to the mixtape comes in the form of a new piece of writing. Willy Vlautin, frontman of RF has just had his 4th book, ‘The Free’ published in the US and UK so I thought it was a good excuse to put on one of my favourite tracks. Vlautin’s writing is pretty reminiscent of his songwriting, tales of America set against (mostly) bleak backgrounds. I love reading his books and strangely, for all the gloom and hardship that he writes about, it really makes me want to go on a midwest road trip. Not only is his fourth book released this year, his first book, The Motel Life, has been made into a film. You can see the trailer here.

Kid Canaveral – Who Would Want to be Loved – []

Phil: I’m still muddling through my albums of 2013 for the Scottish BAMS vote and Kid Canaveral’s ‘Now That You’re A Dancer’ is sure to be in the reckoning. They’re releasing this track on hot pink heart shaped vinyl and if that wasn’t romantic enough, they’re having a Lumber Party at Stereo on February 14th ably assisted by Lost Map label mates, Randolph’s Leap, Malcolm Middleton and on the wheels of steel, The Twilight Sad. Hawt!

Pixies – Greens and Blues

Phil: People seem to be a bit down on the Pixies at the moment. Lamenting the passing of a bass player named Kim, saying they aren’t what they were, yes, there may be some truth in these statements but I couldn’t help listening to their latest EP and thinking that this unashamedly poppy hum-along wouldn’t have been out of place when they were in their celebrated prime. In fact, I’m pretty sure it would have been an indie club floorfiller.

Joanna Gruesome – Wussy Void []

Kim: Hey dreamy vocals over punky sounds. You please me. The Weird Sister LP is rich with such style and also has a track entitled Lemonade Grrrl, which has my heart aflutter. Wussy Plain is toned down Joanna Gruesome and still tries to rip apart your eardrums on the chorus. Joanna Gruesome play alongside Speedy Ortiz and Pinact on 15 February at Broadcast. Ear protection is advisable.

PLANK! -Aphidelity []

Kim: Procrastination has its value. I have discovered that when reading through guidelines and policy gets you down, Twitter is always there to while away the hours. I think it was the artist name and title that first stirred me into further investigation. Then I saw the artwork and HOLY CRAP I WANT TO SEE THAT MOVIE WHERE A GIANT BUG DESTROYS A CITY TO A SCORE OF INTERGALACTIC PROGGY-KRAUT-DISCO! So, PLANK! have written a Moroder meets Murphy instrumental. Now we just need a modern day Carpenter (this might not delight many but Rodriguez springs to mind) to make that film.

I made you a mixtape…fifteen by Elbasessions on Mixcloud