After eight years Apollo Junction have released their debut album. DUNCAN SEAMAN spoke to them.
They’ve played at the Isle of Wight Festival and Camden Rocks, performed at Elland Road alongside Kaiser Chiefs and had their songs played on national radio by Graham Norton and Steve Lamacq.
Now at last, after eight years of graft, Leeds band Apollo Junction are due to release their first album. Called Mystery, it hits the shelves on September 6.
“It’s our debut album but it’s been a few years in the making,” says singer Jamie Williamson. “We never wanted to put an album out without having the proper ‘album stuff’ – a team – behind it.
“We went close to some record deals and then we decided against them and then this all fell into place at the perfect time. It’s weird, it’s one of those where people will go, ‘It’s your debut album’, it’s crazy that it’s finally coming out, but we can’t complain.”
Those who have been following the band’s steady ascent will be familiar with songs such as Begin, If I Fell and Paris, which have all been previously released as singles as the five-piece established a fanbase in Leeds and beyond.
“I counted up the other day and, due to our DIY expertise of what we’ve done before, seven of the songs on the album have actually been played on national radio, which is probably better than a lot of bands’ proper albums,” says Williamson.
“Also, the way we made this album, it hasn’t been recorded like some bands do in different studios and at different times, basically we put it together as a thing. There are some new versions, but the album is a body of work. But it’s amazing how much exposure it’s had before and then finally, hopefully, it’s going to get properly heard.”
The turning point for the band came last year when they signed a publishing deal with Newcastle- based Wipe Out Music and found a manager, Martin Tibbetts. “Wipe Out gave us a publishing deal and then meeting our manager Martin, who is brilliant,” says Williamson. “They didn’t know each other but are now working really closely together which helped the band and pushed us forward.
Since then all the typical things – pluggers and PR, labels – have all fallen into place. There are very exciting things coming up.
All the bands that we’ve loved, all the bands that have influenced us, have all had those albums where you go, ‘Every song on this album is brilliant’, and that’s what we wanted. Every song was written to be a single.Jamie Williamson
“I suppose it all started with the publisher and his belief in us when we were just a typical band form Leeds and had a batch of songs and wanted to be heard.
“He took us under his wing and helped us get these next steps and now more and more people are coming on board.”
With bands such as The Killers and New Order, who Apollo Junction have drawn inspiration from, firmly back in the public eye, now seems an apposite moment for the Leeds group to gain wider attention. “If we get the exposure that we think it deserves, if people keep getting behind us, we believe it’s one of those albums that [could take off].
“There are no dips, it’s an album of cracking songs much in the same way as Hot Fuss, The Killers’ first album was.
“All the bands that we’ve loved, all the bands that have influenced us, have all had those albums where you go, ‘Every song on this album is brilliant’, and that’s what we wanted. Every song was written to be a single. We always talk about that Beatles quote when John Lennon and Paul McCartney would come together and say, ‘Let’s right a massive one’. We are like that. We are already banging out songs for Album Two because we just can’t stop.”
Apollo Junction play on Saturday at the Bingley Weekender and will launch the album with a home city show at the Belgrave Music Hall on Saturday September 14.
“We love Bingley Festival, we’ve been going there for years,” says Williamson, “so to be able to play it, we’re delighted.
“It is our first time playing at [the Belgrave]. I went to see Terrorvision there in May, I’m a massive fan of Terrorvision and it was a fantastic show. Afterwards I spoke to the band and said, ‘This venue’s brilliant, I’d love to play there’, so we made it happen.”
The band are also planning a national tour, in between their day jobs. Williamson works as a teacher in Leeds.
As the band count down the days to their debut album’s release, the singer says he feels excited but adds it’s something the band have long anticipated.
“It’s really exciting to finally put an album out, we’ve always talked about wanting to do it. We love albums. I know there’s the whole talk about albums these days, but we love physical albums.
“The debates we’ve had about how we’re going to package it, things like that. But at the same time we are always thinking about what’s next. We want to play a load of gigs.
“Luckily now we have a team of people who are able to make more things happen but also to keep us in check, of not going ‘We want to do this, how big can we make it?’ Let’s think about things first.”
Mystery is out on September 6. www.apollojunction.com