APEX BREAKS - "Ultimately, what really matters is not the size of the crowd but how engaged they are." - Stereo Stickman

APEX BREAKS “Ultimately, what really matters is not the size of the crowd but how engaged they are.”


Live-show extraordinaire act APEX BREAKS are quickly rising up through the ranks with their unique twist of Psychedelic Jungle Funk. The devoted 10-piece are carving out a lasting career for themselves, and kindly took part in an interview to delve a little deeper into that journey and their songwriting process. Here’s how it went.

Hi guys – what a pleasure, thanks for your time! Loving the music. To introduce things, what prompted the inception of APEX BREAKS? 

Thanks so much! We’re musicians who have all played in bands in the past and wanted to start something as an artistic outlet. We all wanted to be a part of a band without too high of expectations on a day to day basis but we all pull the rope in the same direction and work really hard when we needed too. We also wanted to bring something new in terms of genre and vision to our local music scene.

Was this always an 8+ member band, or have things evolved over time?

Apex Breaks was initially envisioned as a 5-6 piece but we kept adding members who really fit in well and became like family after some time.

How easy or difficult is it to maintain a shared mindset and passion with so many musicians?

It’s actually been surprisingly easy and I think the reason behind that is we all had the same intentions going in. We all wanted to be part of something collaborative but with a couple main songwriters, and a couple of role players.

What’s your songwriting process like – who does what, and how do you decide what to write about?

Our song-writing process can be incredibly different from song to song. Sometimes a writer will take a near complete song to the band and we’ll lock it in. Sometimes we’ll arrange these massive free jams, record it and isolate some of the best bits and pieces and arrange and fine tune them. Sometimes, someone will bring a riff and we work together to build around it. Sometimes we write our songs as part of the recording process, recording a particularly long and loose piece and then re-arranging it in the studio.

Who or what first inspired you musically, and where did the term ‘Psychedelic Jungle Funk’ come from?

Funk is a huge part of original inception of the band. We wanted to start something in the tradition or Galactic, Vulfpeck, and Lettuce. However, as we started to jam we realized we tended to skew into psychedelic territory very naturally. We found that these spacey interludes really made the tight syncopated in your face rhythms stand out.

As we continued to explore our musical inclinations, our drummer Spencer showed us a double speed jungle rhythm that he seemed to have a supernatural ability to keep steady for hours. From there, our singer Andrew started to share some of his favorite music which was “liquid drum and bass” which basically took the drummers double time pace and stacked some half time chords and melodies on top of it. This type of music naturally seemed to propel our energy forward while being relaxing at the same time and it really fit well with what we were bringing.

When we put the three types of music together we discovered that it made for these interesting sets that had ebbs and flows. We were hoping to create a dynamic that would allow audiences the space they needed to do the things we all love to do at concerts: dance, talk, get engaged, get hypnotized, and ultimately be entertained.

You have a distinctly festival-ready sound, how important is live performance for you as a band, and what would be your dream venue or event to grace the stage of?

Live performance is so important to us and we love Festivals especially. I think a dream festival for us would be New Orleans Jazz Fest maybe at a venue like Tipitinas.

We have played a few stages that were so amazing for us. The video we shared from Victoria Ska and Reggae Festival was a very special show. Our guitarist Jesse is the president of the Victoria Ska and Reggae Society and as a band we’ve been working with them since we first started. We’ve played a festival on Denman Island which is a little remote island in British Columbia. We were in a barn filled with the rowdiest, costumed hippies who were so receptive to what we were bringing.

We’ve also had some performances at great little 200-300 person clubs which really suits our sound and style well. Generally, we know everyone in the audience and it becomes almost a little scene reunion everytime we perform.

“Ultimately, what really matters is not the size of the crowd but how engaged they are. There can be some very special nights when we’re on top of our game & the crowd is receptive and full of energy.”

Which song from your collection would you recommend to new listeners, and why?

I think we have a little something for everyone so it’s hard to recommend a song without knowing what they are into. That said:

Mr Black and White for those who want a punchy catchy funk tune.
Changeling for anyone who wants to really zone out to the music.

What’s the best thing about being part of APEX BREAKS?

The bandmates. We are quite aware of the fact that the collaborative efforts we put together are just as rewarding as the performances. We have so much fun at practices, we tend to say ‘yes and…’  more often than not and we feel comfortable giving each other constructive criticism.

What’s next for you?

After a couple shows in the winter and another video release, Apex Breaks is moving on to recording our next album. We’ve had these songs in the bank for a while now and we’re really excited to see how they morph and transform when we get them recorded.

Find APEX BREAKS on Facebook, Instagram & YouTube. Header photo by Colin Smith.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *