It’s hard to believe that The Appleseed Cast has been around over twenty years. It’s a thing where you realize that time is an unfair premise, especially since some of us remember seeing the band on their first tour. While the band has shed much of their emo beginnings, they’ve also released some of the better records of bands from their era, without ever really losing the strengths that make them so intriguing. Ahead of their new album The Fleeting Light of Impermanence, their first in six years, we chatted with them about all they’ve been through and more.
The emo world was rife with a heavy mix of bands that actually played emo music, bands who were called emo and bands who were never really had anything to do with that whole scene. With all the genre placement, and how things have changed so much in the past twenty years, we were curious if it felt like it’d been that long for the band. “It doesn’t feel that long to me but I recognize that it’s been that long. Our first record was straight emo and the reviews that followed made me not want to make that kind of music anymore, so we spent our early years trying to explore away from all of that. We certainly didn’t want to be an emo band when it became all about fashion. We’re a rock band nowadays, and none of that stuff really matters,” remarks Christopher Crisci.
Being a band from Lawrence, Kansas isn’t a super common thing, but being one from the Midwest is it seems. With the slew of emo and indie rock bands that come from that part of the country, it makes one think that there’s something special about that part of the country. “I don’t think so, there were and are plenty of bands from there. It’s so sparsely populated though that it’s shocking anything would come from there,” replies Crisci.
The band’s last two records have really shown lots of growth. Their songwriting is on a whole other level, with arrangements that are like pretty much no one else. While the band isn’t really performing emo music anymore, the albums sound like what the natural progression of those bands would have been. With such writing in place, it made us wonder what the end game for the band is with each album. “A lot of how we write is intentional, though it’s definitely about staying interested in it all. I’m always wanting the next one to be different from the last one or any other one we’ve done. Somewhere between post-rock and rock,” says the guitarist.
Their newest album continues the amassed tones of soundscaped notes and heavily arranged sounds. The tone that’s all over the lead singles alone is essentially unmatched by many current artists. We’d read that it was weaved together from vignettes over three days with Luke Tweedy in the studio, something that made us curious. In many ways to us, the new album sounds like a modern interpretation of what the band has done on records over the past twenty years, while still having a fresh sound. “Well, it took five or six years of searching for what I wanted this new record to be. I went through phases, demoing them before realizing that they wouldn’t work before realizing what we are as a band. I originally didn’t want any guitar on this album, just strings and horns. But after not playing guitar for a while, I fell back in love with it when I picked it up again. It all came so naturally and we still kept lots of synths on the record. You may be hearing some of what came from our synth exploration phase. On stage now I have two keys, Sean has two and our bassist has one. I’m having fun playing the new instruments, and while we have fans come up every night and talk about seeing us back in the day, but we’re just doing what we like. I’m not too concerned about growing an audience, otherwise I’d be playing more pop stuff. There’s certainly easier routes to take than what we do if you want to grow an audience,” says Crisci.
The band’s live shows have always been a mixture of chaotic energy and carefully sculpted tones. With a hefty back catalog to draw from and a new album out soon, we were curious how the new songs are getting chosen to go into the band’s current live performance. Says Crisci, “It’s probably sixty forty, sixty percent older songs. We’re playing about an hour and twenty minutes every night, but the new record isn’t really that long so we can play a lot of those songs. There’s one we’re not playing but minus that it’s just all of the new album and a bunch of older material. We mix it up each night. We even asked the crowd the other night if they wanted it split where it was new stuff first, then the older stuff and they replied that they like it mixed, so that’s what we’re doing.”
The band’s current singles can be streamed on all platforms while The Fleeting Light of Impermanence can be pre-ordered directly from Graveface Records ahead of its release this Friday. The Appleseed cast is on tour tomorrow at White Oak Music Hall in Houston, TX until August 20 at Neurolux in Boise, ID. A complete listing of the band’s available dates can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo Courtesy of Ground Control.