Getting to know punk rapper APEman
At the tail end of the MYTHOS tour we grabbed a minute with punk rap primate APEman. Taking inspiration from punk bands and hip hop royalty in the same breath, we chat about creating, collaborating and what to expect from his live shows. Harry Upton writes.
Tell us about a typical day in the life of APEman?
Wake up late. Eat heaps of food. Consume heaps of media. Regurgitate. Stay up really late. Repeat.
How did your name come about?
The name came to me in a vision, or maybe it was a hallucination. Either way 'APE' was branded into my skull and over a period of about a year I deciphered that it was an acronym for 'A Primate Evolved'. But I realised I was also 'man' and APEman was born, representing duality between the primal and civilised self, ancient and modern, light and dark.
Who would you say are your top 3 influences?
Hard to narrow it to three but I'd say, Outkast for giving me courage to be weird, punk band Letlive, for putting me back in touch with my roots, and 2Pac for showing the full spectrum of humanity through his art.
How do you like to write new music?
If I've got something specific I'm trying to write it'll probably start with lyrics. But writing to an instrumental is like chiseling away at a block of stone, there's a sculpture inside and I'm teasing it out. The mystery and excitement that comes with that process is probably more fun but they both happen whenever the time is right and music or art is made so I can't complain.
Tell us about your collaborators?
Well first and foremost I work with a legend by the name of tomtom on the motherfucking beat. We've been recording, mixing and producing together for a couple years now and it's taken our music leaps and bounds from where we were. It took a while to find someone that I connected with and trusted to hand over the reigns and let me just focus on being the vocalist but I'm so glad it worked out that way. I love collaborating with other artists because it brings me out of my comfort zone and forces me to approach things differently. To that end there are a bunch of dope MC's and producers around BNE and AUS that I've collaborated with to various degrees, to sing their praises here would take up pages and pages though so go check out my Collabs/Features playlist on SoundCloud and let the music speak for itself.
How did the project Mythos come about?
MYTHOS was never meant to be a project, I just wanted to follow I AM D's example and drop a bunch of good singles for the rest of 2017. But as soon as a few of the songs came together I realised there was a conceptual thread tying them to each other in that they were all referencing some sort of pop culture figure or cultural mythos. So as I do I started envisioning artwork, videos, track listing and titles, 'nek minnit' I had a 9 track album/EP.
Do you prefer playing live or recording something new?
Playing live is this incredible exchange of energy where all the hard work you put in is rewarded by someone dancing or singing along, or alternatively a chopping block to realise what songs work live and which don't. It's ephemeral and there's something really romantic about that. But without the creation process there's nothing to play live, and I always want the next big song. It's a loop, both feeding each other.
Your just about to finish up a tour, what have been the highlights so far?
Well the tour itself is a highlight of my LIFE! Playing in Nimbin & Sydney for the first time, Melbourne for the second, and playing my first little festival in Brisbane for the Scenario 2 Newstead Hip-Hop Festival supporting Resin Dogs and Ziggy Ramo. All incredible highlights to me. But seriously just having some complete strangers in the crowd and them catching on to my hook and singing it back on their first time hearing is insane.
Your final show of the tour is on 25th May, what can people expect?
Super keen for this one, I'll be playing MYTHOS through in it's entirety, plus a couple new unreleased and an old APEman classic. I'll also be joined by my man Card Houses on drums, so this is like a dream come true for me. Rehearsals are sounding fkn mint and I'm so keen to rock out with everyone. Card Houses will also be doing a solo set to open the night and Salmon & The Peaches are also on support, plus it's frickin free entry.
And finally, what stimulates your soul?
Art and bananas.
Of course! We should’ve known, thanks for your time.
If you’re in Brisbane, catch APEman at his homecoming show at Heya Bar on 25th May - more info here.