Interview: Apples…I’m Home

Recently TFFT had the opportunity to ask London folk-pop duo Apples…I’m Home a few questions after featuring them in August’s Thank Folk For New Bands. The band, currently making a name for themselves within the London live scene, talked to us about their name, their background and their journey into the bustling capital city.

First of all, where did your name come from?

We get asked this all the time and wish we had a fun answer for it. Maybe we’ll make one up one day but for now we’ll stick to the boring truth! We were just struggling with a name and sat round a table at the pub with a few mates and asked them to shout out random names/phrases/anything they thought of. We filled a couple of sides of paper and then chose the one we like best. How dull. We later found out it’s a song by Adam Green although we still haven’t got round to listening to that – I think we’re a bit scared we won’t like it..!

How did the two of you meet?

We did the same course at Uni in Scotland. Abbie had come south a few hundred miles and Andy had gone north a few hundred miles so it was a nice middle ground. We were put together in a band for one of the modules and, although it wasn’t anything like what we do now, we enjoyed working together so carried on afterwards.

Do you both come from musical backgrounds?

Both our Mums were very musical when we were growing up so we were encouraged to play instruments from an early age. We both chose musical paths at school too, taking GCSEs, Standard Grades, Highers and A Levels in it before studying Commercial Music at Uni.

What made you choose folk/acoustic music over other types?

To be honest, it just kind of happened as we developed. Neither of us were massive folk fans growing up and when we started the band it was a four-piece pop band. When we decided our songs worked better acoustically, the change of direction affected our writing and the folk edge to our music just came naturally. That folk edge was what finally made us click – we always liked what we did together but I think we knew there was something missing. So we’re sticking with it now!

So you moved from Glasgow, to Gloucestershire, to London…what made you finally bring your music here?

We both always wanted to live in London from a young age and knew we’d do it eventually. We loved Glasgow but wanted to get to London sooner rather than later so used Gloucestershire as a stop gap to get the money together. We want to play as many gigs as possible and open up any doors we can, so London seemed like the sensible choice. We’ve both got ambitions of working within the industry as well as playing in the band and we didn’t see anywhere else offering quite as many opportunities. It took a big sacrifice to leave all our friends and family but it’s been worth it so far and hopefully will only get better.

How do the audiences differ between Scotland and England?

To be completely honest, we’ve never noticed a specific difference between the two. And that goes for playing and watching gigs. We’ve loved almost every gig we’ve played but those that haven’t gone so well have been more down to the occasion than the location. Britain loves music, so it works well for us.

What we have noticed from playing such varied gigs is a difference in rural and city audiences. And when we say rural, we mean in the middle of nowhere. In places where live music isn’t as easy to come by, the reaction can be very different. We’ve found neither type to be better or worse, but it is quite interesting to see when you’re on stage.

Who are your biggest influences?

Always a hard question for us to answer. As individuals we’ve loved some very different genres, from extreme metal to cheesy pop but we’ve always agreed on what makes a good song. When the band started we took influence from straight up pop bands who were all about strong hooky songs. Bands like The Fray, The Feeling and Amy MacDonald.

Classic artists like The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell and The Chieftains were on in our houses a lot when we were kids and we’ve noticed that, since we’ve developed as a band, we’ve taken more influence from past eras than we would have expected to.

We also listen to a lot of modern British folk, such as Mumford & Sons, Frank Turner, Ben Howard and Ahab and have found influence in some American bluegrass and country bands like Trampled By Turtles, Tarkio and The Avett Brothers. It’s a bit of a mash up but it’s working for us.

If you could share a stage with anyone, who would it be?

On a personal level, we’d both love to be stood by Marcus Mumford on stage, and Andy wouldn’t turn down an invitation from Noel Gallagher in a hurry. But if we were looking for someone to improve our live sound, we’d love the chance to work with some great mandolin and banjo players. Erik Berry and Dave Carroll from Trampled By Turtles or Country Winston from Mumford & Sons would be a dream. And that is an invitation…!

What can audiences expect from your live shows?

We’re quite friendly on stage and I think it’s usually pretty clear we genuinely love getting up and playing. People seem to like that we appear nervous rather than cocky. We’ve never claimed to be the best instrumentalists but we like to think we’ll make a positive influence on someone’s night and they might even go home singing a song or two.

We’ve got a very simple live set up which suits the structures of the songs well but we love to pack in harmonies and that comes across wherever we play. When we play with a third member we get a lot more guitar in for a fuller sound and love a good three part harmony.

Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?

The ultimate dream is to play music for a living. Like everyone else I suppose. Being able to put everything into it and getting by without a day job would be incredible. That will always be our long term goal. For now, we just want to play as much as possible.

We spent the first part of this year writing and recording our EP so, now that we’ve been gigging again recently, it’s made us realise how much we missed it when we didn’t have as much free time.

We can only hope that with as much hard work as possible we might take a step up somewhere along the line.

Do you have any recommendations for new bands?

There’s a great folk-pop band from Bristol called Zen Elephant who have a couple of EPs out. Their music is so upbeat it’s brilliant and they seem to be doing something no-one else is right now. We also played with an all girl acoustic band in Glasgow on our tour last month called The Miss’s. Their harmonies blew us away and it worked so well live. We come across so many new bands at gigs we’re either playing or watching but these two have really stood out for us this year.

You can listen to and download tracks from Apples…I’m Home, by heading to their Bandcamp page

Words by Josh King