Bristol-based beatmaker Apollo Phox releases ‘Number Four’, the first track from his upcoming ‘Fight Club’-inspired EP, ‘Join The Club’. The track is based around some classic-sounding Hip Hop percussion and an ethereal vocal sample which pays homage to the surreal nature of the story that influenced its creation, as well as featuring scratching from DJ Rogue, a stalwart of the Bristol beat scene. ‘Join The Club’ will be released June 15th via Province. Stream first track ‘Number Four’ below via SoundCloud, and read on to check out our exclusive interview with Apollo Phox.
Why base an EP on Fight Club? What is it about the story that inspires you?
Originally, I wasn’t planning on basing this release on Fight Club at all. I was messing around with the quote from the Ikea scene and it suddenly just all fell into place like a puzzle piece. Obviously, the film makes a point about how materialistic our lives [including my own] can be, and how it affects us day-to-day. It could be anything from branded clothing to the bread we eat. Recently, and without really trying, I’ve been giving less of a fuck about the clothes I’m wearing and worrying more about what I’m actually doing, and how I’m affecting my surroundings in a positive way. If you listen to the final track on ‘Join The Club’, I sample a ‘Fight Club’ monologue where Edward Norton articulates how everything is just a ‘copy of a copy of copy’. This really rang true, so I decided to make a beat that loops for three minutes, with different sections just dropping in and out. When you look at the process of making beats, chopping up samples is is just making a new rendition of something old, so it seemed quite fitting.
I think this EP, like each release before it, is a step up. I’ve had limited time to make beats over the last couple months, which has driven me to make better music in many ways, and to care less about what others might think of it. If you can do that, it basically leaves room for the ultimate creative freedom. If i’m digging it, then i’m releasing it – whether it’s Boom Bap or classic ballroom. Obviously, my music leans a bit more toward the former, though! Big shout outs to DJ Rogue for his chops and scratches on ‘Number Four’, that track wouldn’t have been half as tight without his aid on the decks. The dude’s work rate is insane; expect more from us soon!
Tell us about the Bristol music scene, what’s it like? To what extent are you a product of/distinct from it?
I live just outside of Bristol in a small town, but I’ve had constant access to it from a really young age, going to various gigs from the age of fourteen. It’s played a massive role in the taste and development of my music. I used to play guitar in a few different metal bands, so you can see my style has come a long way since then. If it wasn’t for the fact I was able to jump on a train and go see all this dope live music from so many different cultural outlets, then who knows. I may not have had the drive to pursue it at all. I’m constantly being fed new music and it all spawns from going to shows really. I’ll be a Bristol citizen in a couple months though which will be tight. I think having space between my home and Bristol gave me enough room to adapt my music and my personal taste into something I was comfortable with, instead of following a crowd. For example, if you had told me six years ago I would be producing Hip Hop I would most likely have laughed.
Where did the name Apollo Phox come from? What about the mask?
A lot of people ask, and I honestly can’t remember. I don’t give a lot of thought to stage names as long as the music bangs, so I usually make up a different story each time I’m asked. I think last time I said it came from ‘Fox River Penitentiary’ from Prison Break. I was also quite into Metal Gear Solid at one point so I suppose it could have come from there. Apollo, obviously, is one of the Olympian deities. They’re pretty interesting so I think I probably slapped the two together to get ‘Apollo Phox’, it rolled off the tongue and I kept it.
Take us through your approach to making beats – where do you start?
I don’t have an MPC. Sorry purists you can stop listening now! I’m just playing, I’ve got this little LPD8 which is basically the pads from an MPC controller, and I produce the majority of stuff I make in Ableton and sometimes Logic. Like the majority, I take to record shops and get my dig on; the more obscure the record the better. Sampling is a great way to create something new, but I’m equally happy composing tracks myself without any samples. I don’t really have any strict order in terms of how I make beats though. Sometimes it starts with a dope sample I’ve chopped, other times it can just be a hi-hat groove.
‘Join The Club’ EP will be released June 15th via Province.