by Chris Bryson
Apollo Suns have been working at taking jazzy psychedelic funk to new heights. The Winnipeg ten-piece that picked up the 2018 BreakOut West Instrumental Artist of the Year award, has some major plans on the horizon.
“This is bigger now,” says Ed Durocher, Apollo Suns bandleader when discussing what’s going on with the band, which includes two summer tours across Canada, prospects of international showcases and festivals, and a recent signing with a US booking agent. The band’s hype has been growing, and a part of it is no doubt due to their energetic live shows where you can find band members and show-goers equally sweaty and smiling.
The band will be releasing an EP called Dawn Offerings in late April this year, and plans to put out a full-length in 2020. For the EP, Apollo Suns worked with musician and producer Keith Price, who recently moved to New Zealand. The band was able to finish up production through Skype.
For the new release, Apollo Suns also upped the horn section from two on their debut, Each Day A Different Sun, to five on Dawn Offerings. The band recorded the EP live off the floor with minimal overdubs and all ten players in the same room, which Durocher says lent itself really well to their kind of music.
“We were talking about two roads. We were like we either go the Steely Dan road, where you look at every detail so finely,” says Durocher. “Or you go the Neil Young Tonight’s the Night road, where you just set up some mics, get everyone in the same room, and then what it is, is what it is.”
As much as Durocher says he loves Steely Dan, the band went down the Neil Young road. “We definitely had to do some edits and tweaks, but yeah it was a pretty great experience,” says Durocher. “I was really happy with how everyone performed and played and the attitude. It was a really nice experience in the studio, everyone was very positive and supportive.”
Over the past two years Apollo Suns’ touring schedule has been getting increasingly heavier, which has enabled the band to sharpen and improve their skills. “The band gets better, we get tighter,” says Durocher. “You learn how to listen and really react and have a conversation with the people that you’re playing with.”
With Apollo Suns’ debut, Each Day A Different Sun, Durocher says 80% of the material was written by him. But with the band’s new material, the creative process has become more open and collaborative, although Durocher still has the final say. “It’s free reign, we try every idea out,” says Durocher. “Through this new process we were coming up with things, it’s like, well I never would have thought of this—this is so cool. It became so much more collaborative. It sounds more confident, but more precise.”
Apollo Suns will be hosting two back-to-back EP release shows at The Handsome Daughter with support from Jérémie & The Delicious Hounds and Carter & the Capitals on Friday, April 26, and lounge FM on Saturday, April 27.