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Beat ramps up for APES

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Bacchus Marsh band APES
Bacchus Marsh band APES

By Jessica Howard

After four-years in the making, indie-rock quartet APES have dropped their highly anticipated debut album.

The band, previously hailing from Bacchus Marsh and Ballarat, have released 11 sharp and diverse tracks that make up their first release, Stranger than Strangers.

The record has already received a number of commendable reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone Australia, Beat Magazine and SYN FM.

Frontman, Ben Dowd said the release was a “huge relief”.

“It’s been a long time coming and it just feels great to get something out there and have some sort of new identity for APES,” he said.

“When you’re doing something for so long, you kind of lose sight of what you’re doing. It’s easy to get a bit insecure about it, so to have finally released something in full is just a really great feeling”.

Produced by Ballarat’s Michael Belsar, Stranger than Strangers demonstrates the experimentation, ambition and growth that APES have evidenced since its 2013 EP, Helluva.

“I was 21-years-old when I started writing the record and 25 when I finished,” Dowd said.

“That is such a hectic time of your life, so you change as a person and the stuff you write about changes, too.

“There’s definitely a difference in the dynamics and texture of our sound but I think there’s still an underlying thing that ties it together and makes it sound coherent. Our producer, Michael, had a big influence on the transition of our sound. He encouraged us to explore different sides of our song writing and not be afraid to experiment with different kinds of things”.

Stranger than Strangers was mastered by Grammy Award winning engineer, Brian Lucey and mixed by Mark Rankin, Jackson Barclay and Malcolm Besly.

Dowd said having different people to produce and mix the record enabled the final product to be consistent.

“We had producers who had done albums for the White Stripes and the Black Keys, but then also had Mark Rankin who did Adele’s 21 record… it created a different atmosphere and allowed us to experiment with different parts of the album”.

Stranger than Strangers received a four-star review from the highly esteemed pop culture site, Rolling Stone Australia – something Dowd said was “astonishing”.

“To have people talking about the album the way they are is just mind blowing,” he said.

“We’ve received some feedback saying that it was worth the four-year wait, which is really endearing for us, as some people can get a bit antsy”.

APES are currently touring with Australian indie pop band, San Cisco, and are set to launch the new album at Yah Yah’s in Collingwood on Friday, June 9.

As for a home-town show, Dowd said it could definitely be on the cards.

“Performing at Flanagan’s Border Inn [Bacchus Marsh] in 2013 will probably always be up there as one of our favourite shows, ever.

“Places like Flanagan’s and Baby Black Café do a really good job of showcasing that sort of thing, but it’s unfortunate there aren’t more live music venues in the town. If it were possible, we would love to have another run, as it’s always really special playing at home”.

Stranger than Strangers can be streamed at https://apes.lnk.to/STS.