The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

News

LISTEN: Apostille's Debut Album
James Benge , April 20th, 2015 14:16

"Full-blooded pop" from Night School Records head

Apostille, the solo guise of Glaswegian musician Michael Kasparis, is about to release his first album, entitled Powerless, and you can read an exclusive guide to the album from the man himself below.

Kasparis is the founder of Night School Records, home of The Space Lady and Yong Yong, and had collaborated with the likes of Goaty Tapes and Clan Destine before launching his solo venture. Powerless, influenced by Depeche Mode, Suicide and Fad Gadget, is released on April 27 on Kasparis’ label and is available to pre-order now here. You can read Apostille’s track-by-track guide to his debut album below.

'Life'

Oh the circle of life and being slightly outside its groove. I taped an alien-to-me recording on Iranian video from a hotel in Esfahan, was going to rip it off but didn't get round to it - it starts the record. I'm just showing off here, as in the song too. I wanted the record to move away slightly from the live show, which is usually gritty, distorted, sometimes confrontational, sometimes funny. I wanted it to be something you'd want to listen to as opposed to constantly "challenged" by. ‘Life’ was my attempt at a full-blooded pop song and I failed as with everything else. But the attempt itself was worth it.

'The Collector'

Named for John Fowles' classic suburban kidnap novel but ultimately not much to do with it. Probably one of the most personal songs on the record, it's unabashed teenage frustration. The bass is pretty audacious in it. I was aiming for Fad Gadget but probably got an overly self-deprecating Trent Reznor. I am an angry man.

'Panic Attack At The Train Station'

See, I told you. I liked the matter-of-fact title and took it from there. I suppose the song is emotional. I read somewhere that the vocal sounds like it was recorded on a dictaphone in a broom cupboard. To me the whole thing sounds like it was recorded in the communal bins but I think that's a good thing.

'Control'

There's actually a running "theme" to the record, some threads that run through it are fairly personal and I won't go into them. This is largely instrumental but a pretty successful attempt at translating some of the more high-octane sound of the gigs. I was experimenting with different cut-up techniques and filters. It's all quite boring to read about but I got a rush from this. I just make music I want to make and if other people...

'Worry'

I wanted something totally at odds with the record. Space. I honestly think my next record will just be like this.

'Deserter'

The most personal song on the record. I'm probably most proud of this as a pop thing. Sometimes when I record there will come a part I improvise or write and think, 'no way, I can't get away with this.' And 99 per cent of the time I do it anyway. This is one of them. All of it. For the synth part I studied ‘Respect’ by Erasure to get that Juno synth chord. I honestly think pop music is undervalued. I get excited about it. I had to try to convey that in some way. The lyrics came as a surprise to me and I am happy about it.

'Good Man'

'Live' favourite. Maybe. I think it's my attempt at dub music but using a destroyed keyboard and cheap distortion pedals. Whatever. It's a humanist treatise on the post-modern human condition. Are morals innate? Would we descend into a Hobbesian chaos without codified ethics? Like everything else I do there's probably an earnestness there. To be honest the "moment" is more important than anything for me. So there's mistakes and stuff in there but I'm not making Pet Sounds, god forbid (I like Pet Sounds).

'Olivia's Eyes'

This is the first time Sarah Pickles had ever sang on record. Her voice was instantly more tuneful than mine. Editing her vocal takes will forever be one of my highlights of last year. Again, this is a pop song of sorts. It's inspired by the story of Michael Perry who stalked Olivia Newton John and eventually killed his parents. The chorus is what his father used to say to him: "When I go to work I leave my eyes at home." The oppression in that one line is tangible I think.

'Slurry'

My friend suggested this was Soft Cell remixed by Coil. I'm happy with that. One of those songs that are difficult to record in a home-set up. The vocal take must have been hilarious for anyone listening in. BUT IT'S NOT FUNNY. Again, a lot of this I thought 'oh man, can I really get away with this?' Maybe if I was more self-conscious I would have toned it down. I believe in first takes, in not second guessing yourself and using your instinct. This track is what happens with that attitude, for better or for worse.

Apostille will be taking Powerless out on the road with two confirmed dates:
May 21 – The Flying Duck, Glasgow (w/ LCDD)
June 13 – Supersonic Festival, Birmingham

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.