Features - Interviews

Inbound: Apartments


Belfast’s very own two-piece emo/punk band Apartments are a rare breed in the music scene around Northern Ireland. Hosting influences from many underground bands in the punk scene, there a few bands across Ireland that mix the apathetic lyricism, the emotive vocal delivery and the fast paced, aggressive tones of the two piece.

The duo have two releases behind them, the latter being a 6-track EP entitled Rush and have been slowly winning people over with their honest, almost self-depreciating music. We caught up with the pair recently to find out about their background, their plans and the music scene in Northern Ireland.

You released your new EP Rush last month. How was the reception towards the new songs?

It’s been great, the response towards Rush has been nothing but positive so far. We’re really grateful for the support from other bands and people in this city. It’s not like we went out of our way to push it, so when anybody at all has said something nice, it’s been cool that someone’s taken the time out to listen to our band.

How does it differ in terms of songwriting for the two of you from the demo you put out last year?

The first demo was really just diving headfirst into the unknown. We started the band not really knowing how it should sound, and all we had was a pretty clear idea of what bands we wanted to sound like. We didn’t spend a long time together working with the demo, the opportunity arose to record those songs and we took it.

At the start everything was meant to be faster and harder and heavier, it was meant to be an aggressive band, but before we even recorded it we had already written enough other songs to know that it was going to go in a different direction. The first song on that demo was played live once and scrapped quickly after. There’ve been just as many songs that have suffered the same fate as the songs we’re happy with.

The band is still in its infancy, we’re starting to bounce off each other a lot more now but I still think it’s a long way off from having a distinct sound we can call our own. The songs are getting a little more progressive, and it’s constantly challenging ourselves to deviate structurally and make it as interesting as we can for an audience.


For those who aren’t familiar with Apartments, could you sum up the ethics or the sound of the band, and how the project came about?

The band started like so many others do. Drunk shite talking at a gig with someone you don’t really know. Finding another person who was into the same bands as you and wanting to get inspired and work together, make something creative because that’s what we want to do.

Sonically, the band draws from lots of different areas. Jacob seems to listen to nothing bar EDM bangers and skramz, and I’ve still never really grown out of the weird self loathing teenage punk phase. I think the original idea for us writing as a 2 piece came from listening to an emo band called Dads.

I suppose ethically the band falls under the generic “DIY” category, because I don’t even know if it’s necessary to list yourself as “anti racist, anti sexist, anti homophobic” in 2015. At this stage, everybody should know about not being a bell-end.

Both the releases were recorded by ourselves because we had free studio time in uni and we took advantage of it. Rush is called Rush because it was recorded in two sessions; one for instruments and one for vocals. There’s imperfections on everything. We’ve had friends help us get gigs, friends who’ve drawn up our designs, friends who’ve helped us with everything we’ve needed, and that’s what’s so cool about being part of this, is that there’s a sense of camaraderie and community.

When the first demo released last year, there seemed to be a buzz surrounding the band. Did that have any affect on your first live shows?

Was there a buzz at one point? When we started, there were a lot of people that just wanted to watch the band simply because we were their friends. Both of us are still nervous about performing live (which I’m sure anyone who has ever bore witness to the piss poor banter between songs can attest to), but at the start it was worse.

The progression from writing in a room for yourselves and then having to take that to members of the public is grim, because then you’ve made the decision to have each and every person in the room judge your music. So yes, at the start there was a lot more worry about just being good enough that people would want to come back.


From there, you’ve played with some really great bands across Ireland. Have there been any moments that have really stood out at any shows?

Everything that has happened since starting this band has been amazing. Playing our first show with Empty Lungs before they went off to play Fest last year in TBWNN just as it had re-opened was nice.

We played a show in the Loft and contacted Rosseau from Derry on the back of how bloody incredible their first release was and asked them to come, and then we asked Over Being Under to come up from Dublin to play. Elliot from Redbeard Promotions helped with all of it, but it was probably the best atmosphere at a show we’ve played. I also wound up in crutches.

I don’t think the EP launch night can be topped though. Our shirts arrived the morning of the show, Jacob finished burning the tapes the morning of the show, (there’s continuity with the EP name) and then we played the Empire. Having people you don’t know come and tell you that they really liked your band or buy your music is such a bizarre experience and I still get horribly awkward and sidestep things like that because it’s just so overwhelming. It drives you to want to be better.

There seems to be a sudden influx of bands around N.I influenced by emo/punk, and it looks to be on the rise. Which ones are you most impressed by?

Jesus, this answer could go on forever. There is so much to be excited about in Ireland right now. I stumbled across a label called Never Meant Records a day or two ago who have put out a split 7″ with four different Irish act’s on it. Some of the boys from Gascan Ruckus are playing in a new band called Lifegoals that we’re all eagerly awaiting the arrival of. Chris Leckey is performing under the name of Too Tall. Rosseau are going to blow up. The Winter Passing just put out an album on 6131 and toured America. Andy who used to play bass for us is in a new band called January, and when we finally get round to making a band Twitter, we are going to start some serious social networking beef with them. There is so much going on down south, and with all these new bands popping up here it looks like Belfast is going to start going from strength to strength over the next while.

2015 is almost over, so do you have any plans for the final month? And looking onto 2016, what is the game plan for the band? Any new music or tours/shows in the works yet?

We shot a video for I Don’t Do On The Spot with BeeMickSee and Niall from Axis Of which we’ll be putting out sooner rather than later. We should also have a pretty exciting show announced for the new year as well.

As far as the rest of 2016 goes, we’ve been writing a new EP since before we put Rush out. We’re doing it properly as a band for the first time, writing, going back to the songs, dissecting them, demoing them to death. We’re looking into recording in a studio with a producer this time, and hopefully we’ll have another release ready to go for next summer. In between all of this, we’re going to get over to the mainland UK and play some shows.