Interviews

Dark Moon Apache
Interview

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Dark Moon Apache are a New York based rock band blending various styles of music from grunge to metal, hard-rock, and punk. It’s a storm of fast riffs, slow grooves, and melodic ambiance to take you for a ride. We caught an interview with the band to find out more about them. Here’s how it went. 

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Hi guys. Thank you so much for your time today, and congrats on the album release. Is there an underlying concept or thread throughout this new project?

Hector: Thank you, we are incredibly happy with our first full-length album release. Our release show was a memorable experience that we will always treasure deep in our hearts.

I think we wanted to record an album that captured what we were feeling over the past few months after Christine had joined the band. We were re-energized and excited to write new songs and to finally complete songs we had already created. She joined Patric and I back in late June of 2016, and after a few rehearsals we knew we had a solid sound. So I think the concept was to write an album that contained songs that did not hold back. We wanted to send a message to the music world that solid rock is back.

Patric: Yes, lots of underlying concepts and threads. So many hidden themes and messages that Dan Brown is probably deciphering them as we speak.

Basically we write from the emotions we feel at the time. If we don’t feel it then we just don’t play it. And we felt a lot when those songs were put together. At that time the band had taken a few personal hits and we wanted to hit back. The kind of hits that normally cause groups to fall apart, but we are tougher that. It made us stronger, altered the line up, then created a bond and unspoken trust between us. I never felt this unity in a group before. So naturally the themes of survival, endurance, loss, Love, pain, hope, triumph, humility, injustice, pride, failer, and perseverance, made it into the songs. Then channeled as an audio phoenix to spread mosaics of sonic cries heard by your heart. You see, we found The Search Light Soul they say, and can always see him in the night. The album vibrates through those waves. My Wave. Your wave.

Christine: Yes. For me it’s connectedness. Feeling connected to this band, our music, and the NYC music scene in general. Regarding Hector’s mention of the release show, it was totally insane! I still have bruises from falling into Patric’s kick drum after colliding with the pit. Within seconds I’m pulled back up and keep rocking. It doesn’t get better than that.

Where do you begin when writing new music – do you write as a group, or each bring separate ideas along to jam it out? Do you ever disagree when it comes to creative stuff?

Hector: It’s a combination of that. For example our first single Blackout The Sun was written together during a jam session. We fed off each others energy and just kept coming up with ideas to make the song heavy and hauntingly melodic. I remember sitting down and thinking about the solo, when I first jammed on it, I heard a note that I had hit by accident, but it was that accidental note that kept calling me. I just tapped into the note and wanted to follow where it wanted me to go, so to speak. When writing music, and in particular lyrics, I think I tap into my subconscious mind since I really don’t know where it all comes from.

Patric: The members that disagreed are no longer in the band. Then all of a sudden Christine joins in May, we played our first show together in June, recorded in July, and finally got this band to a better platform. I am not making that up. Every year we had a false start, a set back, something to derail us, except for this year. The song writing reflects that a little. I think.

The writing process just sort of happens. We will walk in the room with the intention to work on a few established songs. But during the sound check something random is just played, so we end up working on that before we forget it. We probably forgot more than we wrote.

Black Out The Sun, Deadman Song, and Meliflouous, were created by Hector strumming around in between songs only to be interrupted by me saying “keep playing that, I got something for it!” Then we all kick in and learn what happened later. I didn’t have any original ideas for Kick Tomorrow until Christine wrote a bass line for the main riff that pointed me in the right direction. Fell Away From You was a song Hector had sitting around in his collection of songs none of us heard. One day he started playing it at rehearsal, Christine and I jumped in immediately, then we demanded it should be in our set. We reworked it a bit, made some creative mistakes that was captured during the recording session, kept those, and it is what you hear on the album. All three of us are writers and we’re of each other.

Christine: Our writing process is definitely organic. Hector and Patric are both extremely spontaneous, prolific writers. When I first joined the band it was a bit intimidating because I was used to writing on my own, working things out and then presenting ideas in a more polished form. I’ve definitely been pushed out of my comfort zone over the past year. Sometimes Hector randomly hands me his guitar and says “I’ll play bass on this one”. He and Patric put me in situations where I don’t have time to overthink things and it has really helped me grow as a musician.

We rarely disagree, but it is common for us to fine tune each other’s ideas.

The songs on the album are notably very honest and open about some of the deepest, even darkest of human emotions. Do you find it therapeutic to write in this way, and who are some of the songwriters that connected with or inspired you throughout your lives?

Hector: I mentioned my subconscious mind playing a role, perhaps even the bulk of the role, when channeling the music. I suppose that since the music one makes is essentially the vibration of your body with other bodies, that our emotions get sequenced into a melodic tapestry of sound that ultimately represents or captures our experience of being alive and living in our human ecological society. I suppose like any good therapy session being able to release and express these human emotions can prove to be therapeutic. I’m hoping that by continuing this music endeavour we can as a band move to another phase of consciousness and perhaps equally as important that the people who like our music can experience something similar or even the same. This is what I liked so much about bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden. When I was growing up and having a tough day at school, all I had to do was put on my headphones and listen to their music, and like magic I felt much better. I felt that they understood the vibe I needed to be in to feel better.

Patric: Well said. Definitely therapeutic. Why make music if it is not made with emotion and passion? I Love hearing when artists get out there and bring it. When they’re in their zone and you can look into their soul. If you’re lucky you’ll see who’s looking back.

Bob Marley & Kurt Cobain have a signature wail.

I can hear it in a Jimi Hendrix scale.

Dave Grohl’s hits always prevail.

It’s unique to them once they set sail.

Christine: Hector’s lyrics definitely resonated with me right away. I’ve always gravitated toward lyrics with deeper meaning and outright vulnerability. Other songwriters whose words have rocked me to the core include the late Chris Cornell, Jerry Cantrell, Trent Reznor, and so many more. Have you ever listened to Courtney Love’s Letter to God?

I have, it’s powerful – especially the live version! How has the album been received so far, and how does it feel to listen to these songs out in the world – as opposed to when they were merely an idea or a snippet of melody or lyricism?

Hector: It’s been amazing. Looking back and realizing that all these songs came from one chord and then the truth is just incredible. Every time someone tells us how much they enjoy our album it’s a wonderful feeling. One of my favourite comments on social media was by Brandan Regan “I love the new album it makes me so happy.” He is actually in one of my favourite bands Wonder Muff, they are sonic feel.

Patric: The album has been received through the ears so far to my knowledge. If received any other way, I do not know. Okay seriously, we have heard a lot of good reviews from some peers and it means a lot to us! I know certain people won’t like our music but that’s okay. I haven’t processed any of this yet.

Christine: We’ve had a lot of positive support surrounding the new album and we are so grateful. This whole experience has felt surreal yet familiar and intended.

How important is live music to you as a band?

Hector: From a scale of 1 to 10? 100! We have to play live! The best part about making music is sharing it with people that want to listen and want to jump, dance, and mosh! It feeds our musical souls. We always appreciate the people that take the time out of their busy (or not) lives to spend it with us rocking out. I also enjoy very much being a part of the audience. It’s one thing to be on stage feeling your own music and having a blast. It’s another experience losing your mind and enjoying yourself to Swinging Riot’s or Alouth’s set. Both promising and rising bands from the South Brooklyn New York scene.

Patric: We Live Love Music! I mean we Love Live Music! Wait, I meant Both!

There is a specific thrill and rush that kicks in when you’re playing live without a safety net. Anything can go wrong and sometimes do, hopefully mostly unnoticed. Details are often improvised because you can do that LIVE as opposed to only recreating a pre recorded performance. It is also amazing to be in the audience at a great live show where something unique happens and You Were There!

Christine: We met at a Dark Moon Apache show! That is how important.

How do you find the live music scene around New York – are there plenty of opportunities, have things changed in recent years, and if so, is it for better or for worse?

Hector: As I mentioned before South Brooklyn has many talented bands like Passive Aggressive, Field Goal, Forlorne, and Kevin Rawdon. They are all part of Basement Dwellers which include the other bands I mentioned before (Wonder Muff, Swinging Riot, and Alouth) In terms of opportunities, we are thankful to the Basement Dwellers founder Cody Hell frontman of Alouth, for giving us the opportunity to play this past Punk Island 2017 event at Randall’s Island in NYC. Since joining the Basement Dweller community we have felt a sense of excitement and enthusiasm that we hadn’t felt prior to meeting them all.

Patric: I honestly don’t know anymore. I’m sure there are plenty of opportunities out there but NYC is not as rock and roll friendly as it was several years ago. We used to have K Rock, CBGB’s and a list of other things I won’t get into. A lot of artists seem to be doing it themselves these days when “the scene” is nowhere to be found. When bands support each other and work together little scenes and communities start to happen. But sadly I’ve seen too many groups work against each other in selfish competitions. Crabs in a barrel. Jealousy. That toxic nature destroys everything. Selfish artists who infiltrate music circles to exploit it while causing drama where there wasn’t drama before. You know who you are.

Anyway, The Basement Dwellers are a bunch of bands and friends who didn’t have anywhere to play in south Brooklyn so they got together hosting DIY shows themselves. I Love those guys. Dark Moon Apache no longer feel alone swimming in this sea of rock, looking for a home.

Speaking of bands trying to navigate this scene we call NY, I have to name drop a few groups who’ve shown us Love.

Skum City, Catilina Shortwave, The Bloody Muffs, Castle Black, our buddies in Sincopath, The Beri Beri, Danielle Cardona, Handsome Pete, Between The Rain, Butt Pyrites, Winter Wolf, Bed Pan Fight, Bad Citizen, Minus The Love, everybody that Hector mentioned, I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. . .
You should definitely check out those bands. If you never saw them then you’re missing some great shows.

Christine: As Hector and Patric mentioned, there are so many great bands in and around the city. As far as the scene goes, rock clubs are closing on the regular and it’s still very much “pay to play”. The underground scene is definitely where it’s at in my opinion. That is where you find bands who support each other, fans that appreciate the music, and musicians who are genuinely interested in creating a sustainable rock community.

What are your plans for the coming months as a band?

Hector: We plan on continuing to rock our bodies to death and back in order to continue this cycle of love. We are doing some out of state shows, first one is coming up on October 28, 2017 at Sammy’s Patio in Revere, MA. We are also going to shoot another video in support of our album.

Patric: Definitely want to make more videos. They’re so much fun and we have so many ideas. Go to more shows. Play outside of NY more. Continue to write these new tunes and test them live. Maybe record a second album before the year is out. . maybe. We are playing Rocker Stalker Fest on Friday The Thirteenth which is right around the corner. Further shows will be announced on our social media.

Christine: Playing live as much as we can, continuing to write the next album, and valuing every day as a gift.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Hector: We are ecstatic that the world hasn’t ended, but we do want the world as we know it to end. We have come to Blackout the Sun in order to hit the reset button. The pendulum always swings back, watch your head.

Patric: Yes. But it is probably too late to tell her.

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Huge thanks to Hector, Patric, & Christine. Download the album via Bandcamp. Find & follow Dark Moon Apache on Facebook.

Rebecca CullenMusician & writer with an MA in Songwriting.


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