Interviews

Indie alt rockers APPLETOP discuss new album “Islands Vs. Islands”, Toulon music scene, & more

APPLETOP by clem_beatz
APPLETOP by clem_beatz
Throughout Islands Vs. Islands‘ ten diverse and enchanting tracks, Toulon, France based indie / alt rock act APPLETOP taps into a familiar melancholic hookiness that matches the best of PAVEMENT, WEEZER, etc., embraces an edgy retro sound, and delivers the best version of a band that just kicked off the second decade of their activity. Over two years since their multi-label split release with our buddies from CHILD MEADOW, APPLETOP are back with an excellent new record on Armellodie Records. We caught up with them right before their recent German/French tour in early April to talk about the new offering, its amazing artwork by Pierre Tatin, their local music scene in Tulon, and more. See the full interview below.

Hey there guys! Thanks for taking some time with us! It’s been 5 years since your last full length album and we’re finally on the verge of the new relrease. Please tell us a bit about this new earworm record, the concept and influences behind it.

Well, thanks to you for having us!

5 years, you’re right! There’s been quite a lot in between, we toured across Europe, and we also did a bit of South East Asia with our brothers from Child Meadow, plus a great split EP.

We also wrote new stuff, some songs were left behind, some others kept, and here it is! Very simple, we try to write songs we like and wrap it in a nice artwork. In the end we are very proud and happy about this new record. It is mainly about simple and very human things: passing time, getting older (wiser?), friends and families, relationships, locations we’ve been: short bits of our lives. It’s all mixed in positive stuff, sad stuff, but no big drama; it’s like memories you’re OK with.

Oh, the artwork is very nice, indeed! Who came up with this idea?

Oh, thank you! I always had a thing for medieval art; I’m absolutely not a specialist, I just love getting lost in the details. Facial expressions are ofen looking a bit odd and cold, that really intrigues me also. I asked the guys if they were OK with trying that path, and they gave me the green light. I was introduced to Pierre Tatin, and here we are, he did this great artwork! We’re so happy with it.

Continued below…

APPLETOP cover

This is yet another release on Armellodie Records. Can you give us some details on the label and your cooperation?

This is in fact our second release (they released our LP Brave Mountains in 2014). In think Olivier C. met Scott Maple of Armellodie online while purchasing/exchanging mics and gear. Both of them are extreme sound geeks, so they connected instantly.. ;)

Most of all, they are extremely kind people, and simply doing great job to help the album and appletop, with a selfless attitude.

Tell us more about your local network of DIY artists, labels, promoters, zines, etc. How thriving i sit these days and how it has changed over the years?

Our former hometowns, in the south of France, have always been a difficult spot for independent music, but we all feel like it’s still alive and maybe getting better, with good people like L’Eclectique, Desertion Records, small cool festivals like the Rockorama, MIDI, toolong. And we have tons of great bands.

Child Meadow – of course
Tuesdays – that’s a pop band Pierre and Olivier play in
Bara Bandai – Post rock / ambient solo act from Clément Child Meadow/Bökanövsky/Grand Détour..you know those names…if you don’t, check them out too!
The Spitters – garage punk crazy friends, they are good and play tight (and loud)
Lune Apache – psych pop, they will be releasing a debut LP next week!
Brother James – Do you like noise? Go for it
Twin Apple – A very nice pop band
Hifiklub – Can’t describe them properly. Great performances: go listen and enjoy.
Among Dead Dogs – pure stoner music, lovely!
Maniac – Black / Death / Hardcore : they are very intense, play great, and just released an LP!
Ghost of Christmas: Soulful electronic duo
Marbre: they are not from Toulon per say, but they will move to our beautiful city in a few month, plus they are worth mentioning, electronic wide scale artistic duo, they just released an EP!
I probably forgot a lot of bands who now hates us: sorry guys hahaha!

What other local scenes have you visited while touring with CHILD MEADOW? Both bands and cities wise, what caught your attention?

We’ve been travelling quite a lot with those lovely ones: Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Italia, Slovenia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, and France… obviously! We had good times all around and there was always someone to cheer up when feeling a bit down. They are true brothers to us, we all are, and we love them!

That’s all good memories, hard to get specific here, for real! I swear I’m not being consensual. Those places were so different from our everyday lives, it was all so exciting! I remember a trip by scooter in Penang at sunrise to catch up with an early train, riding down the small mountain roads to the city, with the sounds of nature mixed with the call of the morning prayer emanating from the city below. Unreal!

From that same day, I remember we played with a band called Brahmakumbara; they played some kind of psychedelic-traditionnal stuff, mixed with a tiny touch of electronic loops, and crazy percussions, that was good! Piri Reis also gave a brutal show in Malaysia when we were there! it was pure and raw energy, fascinating; we loved it.

Yeah, the band is sick as hell!
So, where do you go next? What are your plans for the coming moths and beyond?

Our LP will be out on March 22nd, then we’ll hit the road for a week with our pals from Child Meadow again; just a quick France/Germany tour this time.

After that, we’ll keep on releasing songs and video content, plus we’ll try to tour a bit again. Nothing is planned so far, so any promoter reading those lines is very welcome to get in touch with us ;)

Looking back, what compelled you to start this band versus what do you expect from this venture now? Is there some kind of goal for this project? What role does the band play for you nowadays?

Like every kids starting a band, we were here to conquer the world and live out of our music! We obviously didn’t, but we still had the best times all along the way, and we’re still here: great!

We now have very fulfilled lives and jobs we love; that help us keeping things very sane and simple with our music. We try to write songs we like, put them together with beautiful artwork, tour with friends, meet new people, and visit bits of the world. No money invloved, good vibes and love only!

Ha! And that’s exactly how it should be!
Ok guys, so thanks a lot for your time and quick update. Feel free to drop your final words, some bands, movies and books recommendations, or whatever you’d like to share before you go. Cheers for your time!

Right you are!

Thanks for having us!

I won’t risk naming bands, as I fear to forget and hurt someone; if you’re reading this please check bands from our area (Toulon, France), many of them are our good friends and deserve your attention no matter what musical genre you’re into, they are just good! Go go go!

Kind regards from the very south of France,
Appletop

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