Koko Exclusive

KOKO Asia Approved is for those from the region or are touring the region. We watch a local band and we love it then we will review it. We watch an international band touring the region and we love it you guessed it we will review it.

Interview with Apple Jelly

Date: 03 December 2009
By Mayho

Last Saturday, Kuala Lumpur was treated to one of the best up and coming electro rock bands in Europe at the moment. Having known about the imminent arrival at Malaysian shores of Apple Jelly, I was excited to see that the band would be performing in an intimate venue like the Cloth & Clef. With a turn-out of a number of loyal French fans and many more who wanted to see what the hype was about, with stage diving and crowd participation aplenty, the French electro outfit delivered one of the most personal and ear banging sets you could hope to witness.

Supported by the always brilliant Tenderfist, Apple Jelly firmly confirmed the critic comparisons that has seen them compared to the likes of Gorrilaz and Blur. Before the show, I was lucky enough to sit down with lead singer Ben and drummer David to discuss their hopes for the tour.

Welcome to KL gents, what are your initial thoughts?

Ben: Well it’s our first tour of Asia so naturally were very glad to be here, it’s been a lot of work to organize the trip but in the end it’s a gift.

We’re glad to have you here, any first impressions of Asia?

Ben: Well the people here have been very nice to us and really accommodating, also the girls here are very pretty haha! We were lucky enough to see a few bands in Bangkok but were surprised to see that the majority play cover songs and it was a very, very different atmosphere to what we have in France, so I think we are going to learn a lot. But I really just want to play now, we’ve done the tourist part! Were just eager to perform.

You have a pretty condensed tour schedule while you’re here, playing tonight at C & C then three consecutive nights in Bangkok, are you playing as regularly as this back in France?

Ben: Yeah it’s very intense as were not here for long, but its better you know? Because when you get the….how do you say…rhythm and momentum inside of you, you feel less tired. It makes it a lot harder to…

David: Sleep!

Ben: Yeah! Because we won’t party quite so often and want a chance to enjoy the city, that’s why I probably look so tired now.

Reading up on your last album ‘Na Na Na Club’, I discovered that most of the lyrics were inspired by movie directors like Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Dusk Till Dawn), is this true?

Ben: Yes absolutely. I’m a huge fan of Rodriguez, especially the Desperado series, Once upon a time in Mexico and Mariachi, but I’m also a massive fan of the horror movies and people like George Romero. I think they are very smart movies and give a funny view on society – like when you see all the zombies in the mall. Even when people are dead, they still go to the mall.

Your style has been compared to a mix between Gorillaz and Daft Punk, how bigger compliment is that for you to be regarded in a similar echelon?

Ben: Yeah it’s a huge one for us. David Albarn especially, he’s a huge artist and one of the favorite artists right now. There are so many great things he’s done like Gorrilaz, Blur and the opera – Monkey - Journey Towards the West. Everything he does is just perfect. As for Daft Punk that is also great, you know every time a Daft Punk album comes out that six months later the music won’t change, it still feels original. It’s a lot like Radiohead, you know Radiohead?

Yeah I’ve heard the name.

Ben: After Kid A everything changed and they kept fresh and original. Bjork is another artist who’s done the same. But Daft Punk are great, sometimes I think that they don’t get the attention they deserve back home, they present a much bigger image outside of France than in it, but yeah, we really love them.

Did you see much of the recent Blur reunion and their Glastonbury set?

Ben: Yes.

Sorry to see them call it a day again?

Ben: No not at all. I’m not disappointed that they stopped after Glasto, because sometimes when a band keeps breaking up and reforming it can get a bit tiresome. We saw them in Lyon and they are brilliant live, I’m glad I got to see them before it was too late.

Being your first gig this side of the world, what can Malaysia expect from one of your shows?

Ben: We try to keep things….errr….how do you say? Simple! There are only four of us playing live, but on the album we have many arrangements which we try to incorporate. We try to play in a very punk, very electronic way. Sometimes we’ve had people comparing us to sounds like LCD Soundsystem.

You’ve just arrived from a short break in Bangkok, how was sin city?

Ben: Haha! We spent most of it drinking to be honest, but we wanted to explore and look around. We did find an interesting area in Bangkok, with the…errr….‘na na’ and everything, we had heard some stories so we wanted to check out if it was true.

Unfortunately so. How is the follow up album to ‘Na Na Na Club’ coming along?

Ben: Well we’ve written a few songs for it. We want it to come across a bit rougher, like have that live element to it. Were using fewer instruments, trying to be a bit more direct and make it less atmospheric than the last album. We want a very punk feel to it and for it to sound very to the point.

What would you say your influences are for it?

Ben: Well originally, the dream was to be the perfect cross over between The Beatles and Kraftwerk! They are massive influences for us. But we are very eclectic with what we listen too, we like all sorts of artists. Even people like Britney Spears because American producers are some of the best in the world at the moment. But by far the biggest influence is still the Beatles, they’re still the best band.

Your playing alongside local act Tenderfist tonight, have you had a chance to check them out yet?

Ben: We saw them last night and thought they were great, we love their style of music, it reminded me a bit of Sigur Ros, the way it all starts very softly then becomes quite loud and atmospheric. But we loved them. In Bangkok you have some great musicians who are very technical, but Tenderfist sounded a bit more creative and interesting.

The last French outfit we had in the region was Phoenix in Jakarta, now that you’re out here, which French artists can we expect next?

Ben: Well there’s the big acts who will always sell out shows like Air, Daft Punk, Phoenix – but personally I like a band called The DoDoz, they’re a very good band, kind of like The Rapture.

Here’s hoping this is your first of a few gigs out here, enjoy Malaysia misseurs.

Ben: Thanks for having us!


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