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Interview With Space Apaches

Space Apaches are a humorous and clever bunch from the Asheville, North Carolina area. They are mostly known as studio musicians working with each other and fellow artists to produce tracks, but every now and then, they get together and create music as Space Apaches. The tunes never disappoint. The band has a new album, Smokin Voyages, due out in October. Here is what they had to say about the new release:

Me: You guys seem to be very comfortable in a studio setting, but your live shows garner a lot of attention for how entertaining they can be. Do you see Space Apaches strength more as a studio or live performance band?

Space Apaches: Part of the Space Apaches concept is that we don’t fit the norm. Most bands do a ton of shows since that is the economic driver and spend little time and money recording. We go completely opposite with the Apaches. The primary purpose of the Space Apaches is to record great records! That’s the focus. If you are touring all the time, how can you dedicate the time to create and record super records? I think people deceive themselves with the idea that great records can just be spit out. Therefore, we pick and choose venues and times. We do events when it is conducive to the creation of an extraordinary musical experience.

We also have some scheduling difficultly as we do work with in various combinations and with other artists as any professional would. We get together as needed, and when we do it, it is done meticulously and in a way that everyone knows that they are witnessing something very special—an electric atmosphere! Because it doesn’t happen that often, it adds to its specialness. Again, I think too many groups spend too much time playing venues and chasing performance money rather than capturing great music in the studio. That’s my opinion and may not be necessarily those of the other Apaches.

Me: Smokin’ Voyages, the new album, has a very happy and feel good vibe to it. How long did the process for the album take to finish and are you excited for your fans to hear the new material?

Space Apaches: Believe it or not, we started recording it late in 2012! We had to pause for a year or so because I had a lot of other records to produce as well as commitments with other artists.  That is just the way it is sometimes. But once I cleared the deck, in 2014 and early 2015 we knocked it out! With all of the records I produce, I like to take “enough” time to do a quality job. Too many records are rushed to do budget and time. I hear some producers and folks talk about pushing out a zillion albums a year and I don’t know how you can produce quality? Giving a production “time to breathe” with some reflection and space is important! This is why so many “classic” recordings
were SO good and the vast majority of today’s contemporary productions do not meet the same standard—both in terms of quality material as well as the production. And are we excited? Absolutely!

Me: There are a few cover songs on the album. How did those get decided to make the final cut and were there any others that were in contention?

Space Apaches: The 3 covers on Smokin’ Voyages were just cool songs that we thought we could raise the game on! They were certainly not just filler material because several Apaches are talented writers. The songs had to have a western/country element or a spaced out, bad ass groove like in “I Am the Six O’Clock News” in order to fit. Plus, as being studio players, a cover, done really, really well makes a statement, as there is an automatic comparison that the public can measure the performance against.

We have a humble confidence in our abilities that we can honor the writers and artists that created the original versions with these renditions by exposing people to them. Hey, if you like our version, you should check out the original versions! We really didn’t consider much else.

vwS2LsHkJNbTt-OJ7l-ZIj_6kutseQPNPvHhdbnYIVsMe: “Smile” is a favorite track of mine from the album and also the lead single. The sleek black and white video is very appealing, what was the video shoot like?

Space Apaches: The vibe of the Apaches is that of not taking ourselves too seriously, but taking the music very seriously—both in how it is played as well as in how it is recorded. Artists International has a substantial studio complex that includes a soundstage. For “Smile” and a few of the other videos, we just setup and had fun with the help of a few beers and some killer pizza! Aaron (Aaron Price, Keyboards/Guitar) grabbed this Super 8 movie camera that was lying around and started breaking everyone up with these hilarious moves! Film students for sure need to review this video for tips on professional camera technique! (Laughs). You know, you always feel a bit dorky playing along with a recorded track, at least I do—but it is more difficult than you would think!

For example, if you watch Jim (Jim Arrendell, drummer), he is always so perfect, it is sick! Obviously, everyone in the group can reproduce their recorded licks well, but the fact is that no two performances are, or ever really can be the same. So a video of the nature of “Smile” does involve a high degree of concentration and actually playing parts just like you did when it was originally recorded. If folks like this video, they are going to LOVE the next 12 videos!

Me: How did Space Apaches get together?

Space Apaches: In the Asheville area, though it has a great music scene, the session player circle is not that big. We all played all kinds of projects together so it came about naturally. Since I produce a lot, I used these guys before the Space Apaches thing happened. Everyone likes each other genuinely and I think that is reflected in the tightness in the recordings.

Me: Are there any live shows coming up to promote the new material?

Space Apaches: We are going to do a few things for sure. For example we’re doing a few performances at the soundstage that will be videoed for broadcasting! I love that! We’ll also follow it up with some nice venues that provide an atmosphere conducive to what we do.  We are a spectacle, meaning that when we do a show—it is a show. A-game on! No phone-in performances and actually “stretching” musically – meaning taking chances live! That makes it interesting!

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