There’s just something about the infectious groove in the bright, bouncy pop tunes that Leeds band Apollo Junction crafts. It’s like the sugar high from eating a whole box of sweets, without the tummy ache later.
“This Could Be The Day” is a belter, building from a gentle start to a rollicking beat. Guaranteed it will be a summer festival favorite.
“Begin” gives the spotlight to the keyboards and jangly guitar lines, building until the whole band launches into taking off.
Bass and keyboards take the forefront in “Such a Carry On,” a rousing tune that rocks right along. It’s like a ride on a carousel, with the horses going up and down.
“In Your Arms” is a brilliant tune, featuring a part that sounds like a string section, making it very theatrical.
Every song is irresistible.
So, if this is the result of throwing five very talented musicians together and seeing what happens, I needed to know more. Guitarist Matt Wilson was excited to enlighten me on his band — how it happened, where their influences lie and what their summer plans are.
Here’s our conversation:
Apollo Junction is five guys from five different bands who united — tell me who each is, what band they were with and their instrument …
Ahh well, the bands we were all with were smaller local Leeds bands that just didn’t work out. … I don’t like discussing it, too many bad photo shoots. I wouldn’t want people Googling (and finding) the photo shoot we wore make up. … hahaha. But it’s.
Band members are me, Matt Wilson on guitar; Ben Hope on bass; Jamie Williamson on vocals; Jonny Thornton on drums; and Sam Potter on keyboard.
OK, fair enough. But what kind of makeup? Full on KISS or just like eyeliner and such?
Eyeliner and such, it was my idea. what was I thinking! No wonder I left …/had to leave.
So when did you start playing guitar? What led to you starting?
Erm well, I always wanted to be George Harrison from about 8 (I still do) but I officially started about 15/16. I begged my parents to get me one but my dad said if he bought me one I would quit. He told me to buy one and if I saw it through he would help me out with it.
So at 15 I worked at McDonald’s in Guiseley, which was a train ride and a bus from my house. Bought my first fake Strat and yeah, went on from there.
Years later my guitar broke and I was upset at home, my dad said “OK Matt, here is your reward,” and he bought me the Jazzmaster I play today.
What a dude!
Wow, that’s great support from your dad, and he taught you a valuable lesson. Have you had formal lessons or learned on your own?
On my own, never had a lesson, music is in my soul, I just listen to that. Same as the other lads all of us are just winging it.
Well, you all play quite well. Every tune is good one. How does the songwriting work? As a group or individual?
Ideas are normally individual so Ben may have a riff or Jamie and vocal melody.
But it’s 20/20/20/20/20 we write and finish everything as a team.
No ego (lots of ego), no individualism, 100% team, 100% friends. It might not be right for everyone, but works best for us.
Many bands I’ve talked to follow a similar structure. I think it leads to a better final project. How often do you rehearse and how often do you play live?
To be honest, we don’t gig loads. We normally do festivals. This year we are doing the Isle of Wight. But, we write and rehearse around the clock. Maybe 2 to 3 times a week writing and then rehearsing around that.
By the end of a really intense few weeks, we really do hate each other.
Do you have new songs coming soon?
Yeah we have an album coming at the end of the year which we are working on which is 75 percent written, it just needs recording! But it’s going well.
The new single “This Could Be The Day” is the first single from it!
Oh, nice. Is the song out yet?
Not yet, video is coming out soon, song to follow. If you keep in touch on our social media, you’ll be able to see when it’s out. (The video is out now — see the end of the story)
OK, good … I’ll definitely be watching. I’m guessing it’s a lively little bouncy gem, as most of them are?
Well, it’s being played on the BBC Radios a fair bit, maybe we will give you a preview of it, as long as you don’t share it.
No worries. I can keep a secret. So musically, who are your influences, individually and as a band?
Me: The Beatles, Oasis, U2, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Beach Boys all the big bands really. The great pop song writers, I listen to a lot of Motown, amazing song writing!
Band wise it’s a mix bag. We all share a love for great songs, if that’s The Beatles or Oasis or Bruno Mars or Coldplay or Jay-Z, a great song will always influence us.
I can hear these influences coming through for sure. The harmonies, the bright lively sound, the keyboards … that all screams Beach Boys and Coldplay to me.
Thank you very much. I share my surname with Brian, so it’s good to try keep the harmonies alive!
Haha, yes you do. I really like when bands incorporate harmonies. I think it’s a big selling point, and having a singer with a great voice helps too. Jamie seems very versatile as a singer.
I taught him everything he knows. Jamie’s great he has worked hard at his voice and deserves every bit of praise he gets. I have been his mate for years and it makes me immensely proud to hear him sing. Vocals are so personal as its 100 percent your instrument. I love listening to him sing.
I have been his mate for years and it makes me immensely proud to hear him sing. Vocals are so personal as its 100 percent your instrument. I love listening to him sing.
Very true. He seems like a great person, as do all your band mates. Have you as a band ever tried playing acoustic?
All of my band mates are my brothers I love them like my family…
Acoustic wise we had to do it once and it sounded good but it’s not something I am a fan of. I like a full on band smashing the drums and crunching guitars.
Haha, I see. Now you’ve got three festivals back-to-back-to-back in June — Isle of Wight, Willowman Festival and Apollo Festival — impressive! How excited are you?
Massively, love festivals you meet cool people, play with cool bands. Get drunk in a field! It’s brilliant!
How big are each of the festivals?
Isle of Wight’s headliners are … The Who and Queen. It’s a big one!
The others are smaller but still great with brilliant bands headlining like Cast and The Undertones.
Do you ever get nervous performing live?
Well I used to but now we are so practice it’s just about doing the gig. I get nervous of thing around me break or the stage collapsing, haha. I don’t worry about me or any of the members.
If you get nervous how can you properly share your art? I am not sure you can.
Haha … Any pre-show rituals as you get ready?
Me, just a few thoughts of thanks I guess. the rest of lads can’t speak for.
How about quirks? Everybody has their quirks … What are yours and your bandmates?
What do you mean? Ben dances a lot, we make a of jokes and try laugh a lot.
Yes, Just odd things like that.
I wear the same socks every gig. Have done for years.
That’s a good one, I like lucky socks. OK, that’s what I have for you … Any thoughts your like to add?
I’d just like to say thanks to you, and to your readers: if you like the tunes don’t do it in silence — come talk to us! We are friendly and approachable!
You can find Apollo Junction on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ApolloJunction/, on the Web at http://apollojunction.com/, on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/apollojunction and on Twitter at @ApolloJunction .