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On The Band's New Direction And How They Don't Fit A Specific Genre

5 June 2017 | 5:00 pm | Rod Whitfield

"We're a band that just loves playing live, we really do feed off that energy."

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Formerly Ballarat, now Melbourne-based four-piece APES have a sound that lies more than a little towards the indefinable and unclassifiable end of the musical spectrum. When asked what the uninitiated punter can expect from their output, guitarist and vocalist Ben Dowd has a rather quirky and amusing way of putting it.

"Maybe if Radiohead couldn't actually play their instruments!" He laughs. "That could be the ballpark of where we're at."

It is obvious he has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek when he says this and means no offence to Radiohead or their fans. He quickly attempts a more serious description of their sound. "We've had a bit of an identity crisis," he admits. "We didn't really know what we were, or what we were trying to sound like because we weren't really trying to sound like anything. We'd get that question a bit and we didn't really have any answers for it."

"Maybe if Radiohead could actually play their instruments! That could be the ballpark of where we're at."

Indeed, the band have run a very broad gamut from fans regarding who and what they apparently sound like. "We get people saying 'you sound like Supergrass!', and some people might say 'you have songs like a heavy Coldplay', or stuff that sounds like The White Stripes, and we're like 'well fuck man, you've just crossed about 40 genres!'"

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The band has just released their debut album, the enigmatically titled Stranger Than Strangers, and throwing an even bigger curve ball at their audience, it is a radical departure in sound from their first EP of 2013 Helluva — so even existing fans won't know what to expect from the new record. Dowd states that this was a planned move. "It was definitely conscious in the sense of [that] we wanted to stop writing to sound like something," he says. "We made a conscious effort just to write songs for the sake of that's how we write songs, not to sound like garage rock or something. If that's the way it came out, then great, but this is really just a collection of songs we've put together that naturally came to us."

Ultimately, he feels it's up to the individual to get from it what they will. "I'm just glad the record's out so that people can decide for themselves," he states.

At the time of writing, the band are in the middle of a tour of Australia supporting San Cisco, and they also have their own Melbourne album launch coming up, but they will be doing a full-blown Australian tour of their own to promote the album before the end of the year.

"Yeah, we're looking into that right now," he reveals, "we're really hoping to get over to Perth and stuff, and up north, Sydney and Brisbane, and maybe get to a few different places we haven't been to yet. But yeah, we're definitely keen to get back out of the road again. We're a band that just loves playing live, we really do feed off that energy."