Lovers Lane
IE Calendar

Apples In Stereo interview

| January 31, 2007

Apples In Stereo
Mansions Of Sound

Apples In Stereo mastermind Robert Schneider has just gotten copies of his veteran indie pop band’s hot-off-the-presses New Magnetic Wonder and he can barely contain himself.

Appearing: February 23rd at Subterranean in Chicago.


“It’s really exciting whenever you get the record on vinyl,” explains the singer, songwriter, producer, and founding member of the legendary Elephant 6 Collective. “The first time you see it on CD it feels like a glorified cassette tape — as cool as the packaging might be, it still doesn’t feel, like . . . eternal or something. But when you have a record, it feels like it’s on the level of all those 78s you see at thrift stores and stuff. It feels like this historical artifact, you know? Like people in a thousand years could uncover it and even if they didn’t have electricity they could, like, put a needle on and turn the turntable with their fingers and hear some of your songs!”

New Magnetic Wonder is the first Apples release since 2002’s Velocity Of Sound and Schneider’s holding it up to some pretty high standards.

“I realized that I’d never made the Apples album that I should have made,” he elaborates. “I do feel like every Apples album is strong from beginning to end — the quality control is very high in the Apples — but I always had this ideal that on an Apples album, every song would be a hit, from beginning to end. The whole thing would be like this rollercoaster ride and it would constantly be surprising you and changing and stuff. And the other records are like that to a degree . . . but not to the degree that I had wanted them to be. So I decided we were going to make the essential Apples record this time out. Not to make the other ones obsolete, but just to really tie together everything that we’d hoped to do in the past.”

NMW does manage to successfully amalgamate all the elements familiar to fans of the band’s well-honed, orchestrated-but-hyper psych-pop approach while adding new timbres, most notably a very Jeff Lynne-esque approach to production values, replete with plentiful use of the much-maligned vocoder. A lot of thought also went into the sequencing of the songs.

“I tried to program it so the first half of the album would be all the pop hits — like what some people would expect a typical Apples record it to feel like,” Robert recounts. “But then I made the second half more moody and psychedelic and kind of indie rock. And my feeling is that most people are gonna stick on the album while they’re driving or they’re about to go out or maybe a radio DJ’ll be checking the record for songs to play or whatever and I wanted those people to get a satisfying listen out of it — a lot of stuff that jumps right out, more poppy stuff. But then I realized the other day that it’s possible that some people may never hear the second half,” he chuckles. “They may enjoy the first half, and then they may just never make it to the second half. But maybe, eventually, they’ll let the stereo go or something and it’ll be halfway through the CD and they’ll get to hear a whole new album, almost. Hopefully that’ll happen.

— Scott Faingold

For more on Robert Schneider’s Brian Wilson obsession and turnaround, pick up the February issue of Illinois Entertainer, available throughout Chicagoland.

Category: Features, Monthly

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.