Fight Like Apes rock a sound that can't exactly be defined by modern genres. Maybe it's punk, maybe it's electro-pop, maybe it's indie rock - as soon as you find yourself settling on a buzzword, the next song comes along and blows the label clean off. The only thing for certain is Fight Likes Apes have a lot of energy, a lot of talent, and they kick a lot of ass.
The threesome have earned a bit of a reputation for their strangely rambling and B movie inspired record titles, like 2007's EPs How Am I Supposed to Kill You If You Have All the Guns? and David Carradine is a Bounty Hunter Whose Robotic Arm Hates Your Crotch, 2008's full-length Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion, and 2009's US EP You Filled His Head with Fluffy Clouds and Jolly Ranchers, What Did You Think Was Going to Happen?. Their newest offering is the raucous, rollicking The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner, which was released in 2010 in their native Ireland and is slated for release this month in the US.
About a year ago, it was announced that founding member Adrian Mullan had left the band, citing "creative differences," and would be replaced by Lee Boylan. Then early this year, bass player Tom Ryan went back to college to study, leaving them with yet another opening. Such losses have doomed lesser bands to certain demise, but instead of buckling under the pressure, Fight Like Apes regrouped and came back stronger than ever.
With their new album doing well in Ireland and about to drop here in the states, we decided to chase them down and ask a few questions about tour rituals, gig injuries, and giant wheels of cheese:
So, tell us a little bit about yourselves: who are you, where are you from, and how did you meet? How did you come up with the name Fight Like Apes?
We are Maykay, Pockets and Lee. We are from Dublin & Kildare in Ireland. We stole our name from a friend, it comes from the second Planet Of The Apes movie.
What kind of music can you remember your parents playing in the house when you were growing up?
Pockets: My parents used to play The Dubliners a lot. I know Maykay's Mum was into Patti Smith. Not sure about Lee although he does know how to whip out a decent ballad every once in a while, he must have learned that somewhere.
Can you remember the first record you ever bought?
Maykay: The first record Lee ever bought was the Frog Chorus by Paul McCartney. Amazing tune. He still has it to this day.
“Jenny Kelly” is a fantastic tune; can you tell us a bit about it, and how the concept for the video came about? We really like that you all end up sitting on a giant wheel of cheese.
Pockets: I think we all wanted to do a cheese rolling video at some stage, as it's one of the most entertaining sports to watch. Lee's a huge fan of old skool BMX-ing so it seemed like a good idea to combine the two. Yeah, we're definitely up there at the top of list of bands who have sat on large wheels of cheese. Unless one of The Wombats happened to have sat on one of their albums at some point.
What’s on your playlist?
Maykay: At the moment we're obsessed with Why?, Fang Island and Rollerskate Skinny. Pavement will almost always be on our playlist as will Brakes, Yo la Tengo and British Sea Power.
Tell us a little bit about your new record, Body of Christ & the Legs of Tina Turner. How does it differ from your last record?
Pockets: It's definitely, not to sound clichéd, a lot rawer than our previous record. We wanted to put an emphasis on live playing, the sound of a band in a room. No fancy effects, bells or whistles. We love it.
Do you guys have any pre-gig rituals?
Pockets: Not really, we generally slag bands that get into huddles before gigs. May generally says to us “Here lads don’t bother playing a bad gig, there's no point”. That’s about as ritualistic as it gets. Sometimes we slap each other.
What is your favorite song to play live, and why?
Pockets: I love Digifucker. I always have. I have some free time when I'm not playing much to interact with the crowd and try and make the gig different to the night before.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on tour/at a gig?
Pockets: One tour of Ireland resulted in Lee spraining his ankle and me breaking my wrist. Needless to say the gigs were great fun. Not too crazy but definitely inconvenient. One time during "Digifucker", I stupidly, not being able to find two poles, picked up two glasses and attempted use them as percussion. The first time I banged them together they smashed. I spent the whole gig covered in blood. May was rolling around on it. Was pretty savage.
What’s on your rider?
Buckfast, Wine, Vodka, Redbull, ginger beer, Fanta and pornography.