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Progressive Rock Interviews

Apollo Architect

Interviewed by G. W. Hill

Interview with Bipin Kumar of Apollo Architect from 2015

MSJ:
Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music?
I was in choir for most of elementary school, then got into writing around age eleven or twelve. I started to really get into it in high school, started writing in bands, until I formed my own around the end of high school. That evolved into a full-on production group called “The ShatterGlass Project,” something that got me a decent amount of work in the Hip Hop and Electronica fields. In 2012, I started to go to Metalworks Institute for audio engineering and production. After that, I ended up doing some recording for some rock bands in Toronto that never really went anywhere. I'd say a few months before that, I did this 12-hour session, which I guess is how I got the idea for Apollo Architect. While in school in early 2014, I came up with the sound I wanted, and got started on the writing once summer came around.
MSJ:
If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Well I think my involvement in music is partially affected by my disability, which makes it very hard to do much else. That being said, a lot of my musical background stems into my love of cinema, and that led me to start out in video editing and cinematography, and some sound work during my first year at Metalworks for some short films. While I'm probably slightly out of practice right now in the video aspect, doing sound design for film and television would likely be my current line of work, and is not entirely off the table yet.
MSJ:
How did the name of the project originate?
Well I've always been a story guy, and that's evident in many things I've done. Apollo Architect has always been envisioned as instrumental in my head, and I wanted to give my first project, The Wander EP, a sort of context. The name “Apollo Architect” comes from the story. Apollo is both the name of the character in the first project and comes from my own fascination of space and science, the idea we are all so tiny, yet part of this thing that's so big, and there's so much we don't know and both space and the world around us. Architect comes from creation, or having something you made. I strive to do my best in the things I do and make at least a dent of an impression. The whole first EP is about Apollo figuring out what to do with his life and being out there, so I thought it was appropriate.
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
Musically, I would have to say Queen, Coheed and Cambria, and Mono. Queen and Coheed both have a certain level of theatrics and thinking outside the box musically, moreso in Queen's case. Coheed and Cambria's insistence on concept albums has always been a driving point for me, although I probably won't stick to it as long as they have.

Mono is a little different; while there are musical similarities, the influences are more philosophical. I don't use a vocalist, so I have to express emotion in different ways, though the instruments. The sound, the dynamics, the intensity; all of those are things I wanted to convey.

My biggest influence however is Trent Reznor, and it has more to do the with his soundscape than his music itself. He essentially has every instrument where he wants it, no matter how unconventional, all to get a desired effect. He does what he does musically not for others while at the same to advance music, and that influenced me greatly.

MSJ: What's ahead for you?
I'm looking to make Apollo Architect into an actual band; I don't want it to just be me and my ideas. I want to take the strengths of other people and add it to my own. In the meantime I've also been working on some more electronic music for an entirely different project.
MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
I like the term “post-rock” for my music, because it can essentially be anything. I don't really want to constrict myself to something like a genre. Post-rock feels the most formless.
MSJ:
Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
Probably Buckethead, Trent Reznor and this local band from Brampton, Ontario, New Design.
MSJ:
Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
This is kind of a complicated subject, because I think it's both. I think that people will buy something if they like it enough, so music needs to be readily available. If the artist has an issue with it, take it down, but it's fine. The climate of music is changing, we need to change, too. It should be the artist's responsibility to financially protect themselves with stuff like royalties and Performance Rights Organizations. I'm part of SOCAN and ASCAP for a reason.  If it becomes an issue, then it needs to be rectified.
MSJ:
If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
Currently, I think I'd want it to be Meghan Trainor, mostly because I want to punch her – hard - with a skyscraper. She says her music is more about melody, not lyrics, which is fine, but if your music just uplifts one group by tearing down  another, say you want to "break the chains" of the "absurd standards of thinness" with this, and basically teach others to do the same, you need broken teeth for a while. You're in the public image now, shut up.
MSJ:
If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?

Claudio Sanchez on vocals, Daron Malakian and Dave Grohl on guitar, Victor Wooten on bass, and Josh Eppard on drums. My reason is completely “I think it would be interesting.”

MSJ:
If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
System of a Down, Linkin Park, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad, Big Krit, Run the Jewels, Mono, Explosions In The Sky, and Florence and The Machine
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, Isaiah Rashad's Cilvia Demo and Run the Jewels' RTJ2 have been in my playlist a lot lately.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?

I'm currently reading some old favourites, like House of Leaves, Ender's Game, Treasure Island, Battle Royale and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as well as the comics The Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Marvel's Civil War, and I recently started Spider-Verse.

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
It was a local concert for a band called ORCA's album release. There were many featuring bands other than ORCA, like Stockholm Siesta, that were good, but this band New Design just blew me away.
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”

I like Taylor Swift's 1989 album more than I should.

MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Michael Jackson, Trent Reznor, and Takaraira Goto, mostly because I'd love to have a long discussion on musicology.
MSJ: What would be on the menu?

 

Something healthy with chicken or Indian food.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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