Interview with The History of Apple Pie
What’s in a name? For London 5-piece The History of Apple Pie, a lot. Their’s is the sort of name that presupposes style and genre; you expect something overwhelmingly twee before you so much as search them on YouTube. They actually make music more in debt to late 80s and early 90s alt rock bands (Sonic Youth/ Dinosaur Jr comparisons have been made) than, say, Cath Kidston. It’s lo-fi noise pop at it’s best. On “You’re So Cool”, a track from their debut EP of the same name, they sound like a 60s girl group, with swooning vocals and cutesy lyrics. Their eagerly-anticipated debut album ‘Out of View’ was released on the 28th January, and they are currently on a UK headline tour. I spoke to the band’s founding members Stephanie Min and Jerome Watson to find out more their forthcoming debut album, Graham Coxon, True Romance and that controversial moniker.
“When we first started writing music together, we decided to put the material up on the internet so our close friends could hear it. We looked all across the web for names for our project but couldn’t decide on anything” Steph explains. Finally finding an old children’s book called Apple Pie ABCs, they decided on The History of Apple Pie, because “it sounded like an American phrase”. Steph is pretty fussy about putting names to projects. “I like picking things I wouldn’t normally go for, that way it eliminates the need to have any emotional or personal attachment to it” she says, adding “I couldn’t imagine picking something too personal or meaningful because I’d probably grow bored of it and maybe even become regretful of it”. This way, the band are able to concentrate on what matters, the music: “we’re so focused on writing [music] that we rarely think about the name”. Steph describes people’s obsession with the name as baffling, but acknowledges that all press is good press: “most people who comment on the name balance it out with the fact they actually like the music – which is really good”.
Steph describes the prospect her and Jerome initially faced of enlarging the band as “daunting”. They used Gumtree to recruit James (Thomas, drums), who then recruited Aslam (Ghauri, guitar), whilst Kelly (Owens, bass/backing vocals) was introduced by their friends from NYC band The Depreciation Guild. “We wanted people who really clicked with us and the music”, says Steph, “I’ve never started a band before but I can tell you it’s pretty damn exciting”. Her enthusiasm is palpable, making me consider packing in my English BA to start a band (I would play lead guitar and sing, obviously): “it’s one of the best times in your band’s career – not knowing where things are going to lead but working hard to ‘get somewhere’ with a group of individuals that share the same vision as you and really love the music you make”. She says of her fellow bandmates “everyone seems to have their favourite song”.
I first heard “You’re So Cool” back in June 2011, which feels like decades ago now. Was the slow trickling out of music a deliberate move to avoid over-exposure? “It was to do with the fact that we wanted some time to figure out our sound”, explains Jerome, “there was a period last year when we were very noisy and whilst it was fun for us to let out our inner Chino Morenos out, it wasn’t necessarily what our former managers wanted to hear from us”. Jerome calls their album a “collection of songs that really define us and reflect our journey from the beginning until now”, saying that now the album is out “we feel we want to get as much material out there as possible”. As it’s one of my favourite films I ask the band whether “You’re So Cool” is a reference to True Romance. Steph informs me that it’s an homage to her old best friend who could recite the script in its entirety: “[the song] is about hanging out with your best friend all summer and remembering how cool you thought they were”.
I am trying very hard to resist labelling The History of Apple Pie cute, because they are genuinely cooler than that. They have this infectious glee that just makes you want to be friends with them (or maybe just go to one of their shows and dream about it). They describe the experience of being hand-picked to support Graham Coxon at his London show last year as an “honour”. Steph gleefully recalls watching Coxon play behind the stage with James, “and us looking at each other and both yelling over the sound “I can’t imagine doing anything else!””; whilst Jerome described recording the final song on the album with friend Joshua (Third, of the Horrors) as “super fun!”. Weirdly, the last question I ask the band concerns Made in Chelsea. I’m intrigued as to a tweet I saw stating that their song “Do it Wrong” was used on a “naked boobs scene” (their words) on the show. Do they have any thoughts on this? Over to Steph, “well done to whoever decided to edit that song over that particular scene – it fit perfectly!”. Always the optimists.