Earlier this month, PopMatters tapped the up-and-coming UK act the History of Apple Pie on our list of “The Best Hopes to Break Out in 2013”, so it goes without saying that we are excited to share the U.S. premiere of the group’s first album, Out of View. Out 1/29/2013 on Marshall Teller, Out of View offers a lot of what you hope for in a debut record, a precocious, vibrant effort by a band with a vital perspective that’s worth pursuing. As Music Editor Arnold Pan described the group’s bubble-grunge sound, the History of Apple Pie puts its own spin one twee indie-rock by “making its fuzzy, buzzy melodies fuzzier and buzzier at the same time the confectionary pop elements come off even sweeter and fluffier, especially the vocals. Of its contemporaries, Yuck would be the best analogue for THOAP, considering the way the newbie group is able to get heavier and grungier without sacrificing any of its sugar-rush pop charms.” We touched base with guitarist Jerome Watson to learn more about the band’s approach, whether the ’90s count as ancient history, and — of course — where the enigmatic name came from.
PopMatters: To start with the obvious question, tell us about your name and how it came decided on it.
Jerome Watson: We just found it on the Internet. Other than it being the title of some children’s book, it means absolutely nothing to us and I guess if we were being pretentious with it, we could say that was the whole point. But really we just don’t care about it.
PopMatters: You seem to be part of a growing trend of young bands that blend twee British indie-pop styles with the sounds of beefier ’90s American alternative rock, with your cohorts Yuck being the most best-known example. Fill us in on what you think is happening with this trend.
Jerome Watson: I reckon everyone deep down just wants to be a kid again and so they listen to the kinds of things that were around when they were kids to put them into that space. Being a kid is super fun and being an adult is mostly super boring and stressful. Seeing as most people in new bands are between 20 and 30, it makes sense that they’d listen to ’90s music. We’ve never really tried to go in any kind of direction, for us it’s just turned out that way. I think that what you listen to/read/watch/play just seeps in and comes out unconsciously in what your creating. I think if you’re making a video game and you’re listening to loads of thrash metal the end product would be pretty brutal and fast paced, so if you’re listening to guitar music from the ’90s, you’ll probably make guitar music from the ’90s.
PopMatters: For a young band as yourself, then, do you treat the ’90s more like ancient history or with a sense of nostalgia, if that’s possible?
Jerome Watson: We all grew up in the ’90s. I think it’s weird that people think you have to be a teenager or older to “get” what’s going on. My dad worked in a record shop when I was a kid and he had the whole house full of records. I’d say more than anything that kind of music has a childhood comfort vibe to it. It’s a genuine nostalgia for times we actually remember.
PopMatters: Out of View is your first album. What was the process of making it like for you and was it what you expected it would be?
Jerome Watson: We had a bit of a false start with it. The one we’re releasing is the second attempt. The first time we were really rushed and the whole thing was a pretty horrible experience and the end product suffered because of that. Once the Horrors got back from their tour, we went in with Josh [Hayward] and redid a lot of it. I’m not sure if your first record is ever exactly what you expect it to be, mostly because you don’t have a previous album to compare it to! We’re really happy with it though. It’s got a nice energetic, brash feel, I think.
PopMatters: What did it feel like for you to see Out of View as a finished product? Did it turn out the way you were hoping it would?
Jerome Watson: Amazing! It’s great to finally have the actual real record in your hands. Our friends Simon Whybray and Ellis did the artwork for it. Steph [Min, the band’s singer] found this ice-cream van for sale on Gumtree and contacted the guy selling it. He was really into the idea of it being on an album cover, so they went and took some photos. It’s kind of based off this photo we found on Flickr that we used to have on our MySpace profile when we put our first songs up. We couldn’t get in touch with the original photographer, so we had to recreate it. It’s a lot more British-looking this way, which is cool, I guess.
PopMatters: Do you have a favorite song off the album?
Jerome Watson: “I Want More” is my favourite. It has really distorted bass and a guitar played through a Korg MS-20. The rest of the band all have their own favourites.
PopMatters: One of the things that stands out about your music is that there’s a lot of energy to it — your promo photos show an obvious sense of humor. For those of us who haven’t seen you live, how do those qualities that translate to the stage?
Jerome Watson: We have the most fun on stage together. It’s about the only place we can really just let go and escape from all the crazy amount of work that comes with being in this band. The best thing about playing live is that we really feel like family when we’re on stage and the songs are just really fun to play, especially when we look around and see each other enjoying it or rocking out. We kind of feed off each other’s energy.
PopMatters: With your first album under your belt, what else do you have planned for 2013?
Jerome Watson: We have our first UK headline tour coming up kicking off January 31st. It’s the first time we will be playing a solid 19 dates in a row and we’re really excited to get out on the road again…it’s been ages! Aside from that, we want to tour as much as possible. It’s be great to visit the States and also play more of Europe — those shows are crazy! Also, now that we have achieved our first goal, we’ve been thinking about the next, which is to release a second album. It’s a great feeling to be able to start fresh again and work on new material.
PopMatters: One last apple pie question: As historians of apple pie, how does the English version compare to the American? Same? Different?
Jerome Watson: Apparently, it’s an English thing in the first place. I got a really nice one over here at Tebay Services once.