Heading to Coney Island this Saturday for the Siren Music Festival? Make sure to get there early for Apache Beat. The five-piece has put in work in the Brooklyn indie-rock trenches and on tour with the likes of School of Seven Bells and Crystal Castles for the last few years, and will be dropping their proper full-length debut, Last Chants, this October. For a sneak peek of the album, take a listen to the excellent single “Another Day,” streaming exclusively below: An intricately layered, incessantly dance-y mini-epic, it should put you in just the right mood for our interview with the band’s Ilirjana Alushaj and Mike Dos Santos.
You guys are playing Siren Festival this weekend. How do you convince people to see you instead of, say, playing Shoot the Freak?
Dos Santos: I don’t know, Shoot the Freak is kind of fun. [Announcer voice]: "Hey, you, shoot the freak!"
Alushaj: I can't play that game. I feel kind of bad for the dude; I can't. It’s like a 14-year-old kid in a ridiculous outfit trying to make money and I have to shoot him. I just get creeped out by it.
Dos Santos: They can just watch us and then play Shoot the Freak. Or they can shoot the freak on the stage. They can try to shoot the drummer [laughs].
You’ll be touring Europe in the fall. What do you do to prepare?
Dos Santos: Lots of practice, I guess.
Alushaj: Yeah, we'll need lots of practice. And for me, I guess I think about outfits a lot. Also, I try to plan things to do on tour.
Alushaj: There's lots of dead time, so we try to make the most of our time. I’m, like, excellent at Nintendo DS games. I have Guitar Hero, which is kind of funny when you're on tour. I look like such a nerd. You know when you have actual Guitar Hero, you have a guitar? For this, it's like this massive attachment to your Nintendo DS, but you also have to use the pencil and you have to make sounds. So it's always, like, “Let's move away from the weird foreign girl.” I like playing video games and I like sleeping.
Dos Santos: It's nice when going on trips like that to research and explore small places. We went to some museum to see some mummies; that was kind of awesome. That was by accident.
Do you have any expectations?
Dos Santos: It'd be nice if people came to our shows.
Alushaj: I feel like New York is a good city to be in a band because it's one of the hardest crowds. They've seen everything. You go away, it seems easy. Or easier. Nothing's easy. But the crowds have been very kind.
Does it bother you when you’re lumped in with other bands from Brooklyn? Do you worry about separating yourself from that pack?
Alushaj: We don't worry about it, really. Most of the people they lump us in with, it's like friends of ours or people we actually do like. Everyone we know is doing awesome things. It's not a bad thing to be compared to good bands [laughs].
Dos Santos: Within the band, that topic doesn't come up. We're just focused about writing good songs. And everyone's doing a lot of different things. It’s kind of inspirational that people aren't doing the same kind of music you're doing. I feel like a lot of people are inspired by musicians rather than trying to copy specific styles, which is awesome. It’s at this point where there isn't a New York sound anymore. There just seems to be a so many bands from all over the world. It’s in constant turnaround.
How much do you think about the financial aspect of being an indie band in 2010?
Dos Santos: To an extent, we have to think about that sort of thing. We're still trying to figure out how we can make this work.
Are you okay with commercial licensing and stuff like that?
Dos Santos: We're all for that. It’s basically survival at this point. Any placement a band can get is a godsend. We don't specifically write in that way
Alushaj: No, no, not at all.
What was the mentality during the recording session for Last Chant?
Dos Santos: It just kind of happened. We bounced around a lot to different studios, and we even did some of it in our home setups. When you're working at home and you're not on the clock, you have freedom to experiment with all kinds of sounds that you wouldn't in the studio. That helped a lot. I guess it's like the last couple of songs on the album sound like where we're headed. “Another Day" is most representative of the direction we're going towards. The music is much more detailed; there's a lot more going on. And we're going to try and push it somewhere else.
What would you like to see happen with the album?
Dos Santos: It'd be great if the album is received well and people are into it, and if we could just continue doing this and putting records out and creating and writing music. I think that's the bulk of it, yeah.
Listen to "Another Day":
Apache Beat - Another Day