Apache Beat “We just want it to sound big.”

04.03.09, Words by: Charlie Jones

Bands should kill boredom. I’m chatting with Apache Beat, a Brooklyn band who play crisp, doomy and slightly tropical rock music before their gig in Camden, headlining a tour here for the first time. They just finished their album, Last Chants, produced by Martin Bisi (who also did LPs by Boredoms, Sonic Youth and Afrika Bambaataa), about two weeks before, and they say it’s pretty weird playing the songs out. Ilirjana Alushaj, the singer, says: “We just finished our album, and we realised that we needed to make it sound reasonably like it. We made it so complex. We just want it to sound big. We never play the same song twice. It’s fun to play but you’ve got to avoid the routine. It’s strange committing because we’re so indecisive. There’s a lot of good ideas – writing’s a process of whittling it down to the essential thing, whatever the song really is.”

Apache Beat came together in Brooklyn around at the end of 2006
a few years after Ilirjana moved to New York from Sydney Australia (she also lived in Serbia for a bit, it’s in her accent slightly). She set up a band with her guitarist friend Phil. Named after Klaus Dinger’s name for the Motorik sound, they started actually playing together properly a few months later (Phil: “People started wanting us to play. That was weird”). Not too long after a 7” single, Blood Thrills, came out on Summer Lovers Unlimited (“Owner Doug [Ko] was great. He let us do whatever we want, and didn’t mind when we took way to long to record the stuff and wasted his money in the recording studio”, says Mike Dos Santos, the bassist) about nine months ago, followed by the stunningly melodramatic Tropics in October 2008, in between which they’ve toured with everyone from Crystal Castles to School of Seven Bells.

When I ask Ilirjana about her music writing (she runs a really great online magazine called The Pop Manifesto ), she almost plays it down, saying “I was always in music, making zines or throwing parties, and I’ve always been in a bands – I have a very short attentions span.” With Apache Beat, there’s this kind of flowing, twitching thing, a total urge never to be boring. Sometimes it can be overpowering, but mostly it’s really fucking good.

Angus Tarnawsky, the touring drummer says about something interesting about: “It’s not easy. But it definitely is fun. we all come from improv backgrounds, and a lot of that spontaneity is flowing into the performances. which can only be good. You can go through a big psychological thing – Is this good enough.. This is bad. But then it hits you – things are also good. This is the thing we all signed up for, whether we it or not.”

Apache Beat’s myspace