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Throwing all their influences in the mix including The Cure, U2, New Order and Daft Punk, Apollo Junction are an indie pop five-piece from Northern England and your next favourite band. Jamie, Matt, Ben, Jonathan and Sam have been featured on BBC Introducing, BBC Radio 6, Radio X and Virgin Radio! Not only have they garnered huge radio support but they’ve also had their music played in MTV’s U.S. hit reality show ‘Are You The One’ and in the movie ‘The Big Promise’ directed by award winning Mexican director J R Suarez.

“It’s always a good sign when you feel you know the chorus after hearing a song for the first time” Steve Lamacq of  BBC6 Music

“They write huge choruses” Chris Hawkins

“We’re a big fan of this band on the show” Graham Norton
Photo by Yoshitaka Kono

Photo by Yoshitaka Kono

The band have performed at multiple venues up and down the country, as well as major festivals including Leeds, The Isle of Wight Festival and also delivering a killer live set at Elland Road stadium before the Josh Warrington fight as special guests of Leeds United and the boxer. I caught with them to talk about how they’ve handled the Covid-19 crisis, their thoughts on the impact its had on live venues and their new single.

 How have things been for you over the lockdown/tier fiasco? What has been the most challenging?

It’s been a bizarre time in every way for all of us hasn’t it? We looked at last summer as it disappeared and every show and festival got moved, cancelled and our own tour fell apart before it began! We sat down in video meetings with our manager and bookers etc and had to try and work out a way forward. We had just released our debut album and the plan was to play as many gigs as possible in as many places as possible. Then, just before the first lockdown arrived, we threw ourselves into the recording studio and banged out a few songs and filmed a quick video around our home city of Leeds with the plan of sitting on some new songs and single until after we’d toured the first album. Then the world stopped.

We have overall been very lucky because purely by accident we had three brand new singles recorded and throughout the rest of 2020 we were able to keep putting out new music. The power of social media has helped our music spread and we have found a group of people online who have taken our band to heart and thrown their support behind it. We know that these days have been rubbish for everyone, but we firmly believe that it is the normal, everyday people that will get us all through this. The wankers in power don’t have a clue what it is like. Music is power and there’s a lot of people using it to get through this mess.

What are your feelings about the current situation and its impact on live music and venues?

It’s been awful for so many. We have had so many friends in the business who are struggling. Venues, people who work in sound, bookings, touring. The list goes on. it’s gone on such a long time now that you worry if they can make it through this. Summer 21 has to happen; I am not sure what will be if another set of shows and tours all get cancelled. People are missing music. I am missing gigs and being a part of it – both in the crowd and on stage. We hope that we can return to it soon and it will be a very special time when we all do.

 Do you think there has been enough help for the industry throughout the crisis?

Not really, it’s been a mess from the start. I know some places have had money to help with venues etc but the only way to help now is to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible. I read a thing with John Giddings, who runs the Isle of Wight Festival and he was saying why don’t the Government ask venues and bookers to help. They know how to run things at a huge scale so why not get them involved in setting it up? It seems like a brilliant idea. There’s a venue near me called Yeadon Town Hall, it’s beautiful and holds around 500 people. It hasn’t had a penny in grants, if things don’t change soon then it’ll probably be flats in a couple of years. Now that is tragic isn’t it. 150 years of history, a place that all generations go to watch shows and it is relying on fundraising. Things need to be done now to help these places and people.

 2020 has been understandably riddled with a lot of negativity, what was some positives for Apollo Junction in 2020? 

The singles we have put out have done brilliantly, we’ve hit high numbers on streaming platforms due to amazing support from Spotify, Apple, Amazon Music Official playlists. We released our debut album on special edition vinyl and sold out of all the signed copies really quickly. Thousands of new people have found our music and got behind us. And most importantly, we seem to have helped soundtrack a fair few people’s year and to us – more than money and all that – the most important thing to us has been able to be heard. There’s nothing else we are good at. We are 5 mates from Leeds, who have been together through the darkest times, we have played more than enough gigs to no one. Things have started to really change, and we don’t take that for granted for one moment.

Tell me about your most recent album debut album ‘Mystery’…

It is 11 songs full of optimism, hope and looking ahead to the future. We had no idea that it would end up soundtracking 2020!

Also your latest single ‘Borderlines’, what’s it about?

It is about the world falling apart around you but everything being okay when you are at ‘home’ surrounded by the ones you love. It could be down the pub or at a gig with your mates or sat with your wife and kids on the sofa or on stage with your best mates. The world is a strange, mean place sometimes and it seems to be getting worse. We all need that place to go to where things are right. That’s kind of what the song is about. And it is a bit of a banger! 

What’s the best venue you’ve played so far and what’s would be your dream venue to play after Covid-19? 

Best – We played a gig at home in 2019 (our last Leeds gig) and it felt special, we had our biggest crowd ever at home and you could feel things happening. We also supported Shed Seven on tour a couple of years ago. They are amazing and taught us a lot.

Future gigs wise – we have a big September show booked at The Warehouse venue in Leeds. Get your tickets now! and lots more to announce so keep watching out.

 Favourite festival you’ve played or want to play and why? 

Festival wise – so many to say but Bingley 2019 was incredible – about 2000 people all seeing us, mostly for the first time, dancing in a field. And Isle of Wight 2018 – It was a far bigger gig than we deserved to have booked at the time but walking out of stage to about 100 people was ace and then by the end of our set, thousands more had come to watch… Just incredible days. Days we’ll take to the end. Days that only us 5 know how it felt, we are family, we’re brothers in arms. Never underestimate how much all this means to us.

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Festivals we are looking forwards to… All of them! In 2021 we have booked – Isle of Wight Festival Big Top, Bingley Weekend, Carfest North and Carfest South and two huge dates with the Kaiser Chiefs at Piece Hall. Plus, more to be confirmed…

What tune should readers listen to right now of yours that sums you up the best?

By us – Our two singles ‘Borderlines and ‘Begin‘ kind of sum us up. Go listen to our new song too ‘On The Ropes’ out on 22.1.21 – that song is all about these past few months.

If not by us, then – go listen to Dire Straits or something. It’s our tour van soundtrack. we love them, they’re our bassist Ben Hope’s favourite band.

What can we look forward to from you in 2021?

A brand-new single called ‘On The Ropes’ out 22.1.21 and the video is out on 29.1.21 and then new singles every couple of months up until we release album 2 later this year! Hopefully, if everything goes right – we will play all the festivals mentioned, release loads of new music and go on tour! And loads more new people will find what we are doing.

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RACHEL BROWN

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