Although the mysteriously-named Apiary have just released their debut album, 'Lost In Focus', they were actually formed in early 2005 and the bandmates have been working together for years.
Having just come off an intensive 29-date tour in the United States of America, Peter Layman (guitarist) took some time out of his hectic schedule to explain a few things about the bandís outlook and his own, including how it feels to be releasing their debut album, the practical side of being in a band, playing live, and what comes next for Apiary.
How long have Apiary been around for, and how did the band form?
Peter: Mike, Dave, and I began throwing the idea of starting a new band around the Spring of 2005. We asked previous bandmates Jay and Adam if they were interested, and started writing in the Summer. So, we're a fairly new band, but we have all been playing music together for years.
Apiary is an unusual name choice in that it doesn't give much away. What made you choose it?
Peter: I love the fact that you can't tell what kind of music we are by our name. It's good to be inconspicuous with a band name, because there are so many people ready to judge if they think they know what style of music you are. Basically, it keeps us from building a wall between potential listeners. I had the name in my head for months and months, wanting to use it as an album title. It turned out that we all liked it as an actual band name more than an album title.
Something else that is quite mysterious is the artwork on your album, "Lost In Focus". Is that something you had a hand in designing?
Peter:Our guitarist Mike came up with the initial feel of the artwork. I think we wanted to see what a somebody not affiliated with the band would feel when listening to our record. We asked Mario from Robotplague.com to see what he could come up with, and we're really pleased with his work.
On the subject of "Lost In Focus", this is your debut album I believe. How have you found the experience? Do you have any favourite tracks?
Peter:Well we all have our list of sub-par albums that we've been a part of from previous bands. This is indeed, our debut album. We feel like we've done the right things with this one. Something that really helps us, is that we somewhat produce the album while still writing it. It cuts a lot of time out of the recording studio, and that way, our songs are already at their full potential.
Are you pleased with how it turned out? Is there anything you would change, with hindsight?
Peter:We are more than pleased with the way it came out. I think the only thing we would change, had we the chance to go back in time, is the release date and having it be sooner. We've been so stoked to release this cd, and since we're so excited, it just seems like we've had it done forever.
How have you found working with Ironclad Recordings and Metal Blade? They're quite a small company but does that have any advantages, such as their attention to detail?
Peter: We've loved every part of working with both labels. They're taking great care of us, and it's amazing to be able to reach your label with one phone call. Surprisingly, Metal Blade has been giving us a lot of attention as well. I thought they would be really tied up with the likes of Unearth, As I Lay Dying, BDM, etc.. But they've shown us plenty of attention.
Are you full-time musicians? If not, does that make it difficult to fit in band work or do you think it focuses you when you have time to rehearse?
Peter: I wish we were full-time musicians. We all work normal jobs, and when it's time to tour, we have to work it out with our employers. We think of the band all the time, so it's not difficult to focus on band work; And we have set rehearsal days/times, which makes that part smooth.
Your music is quite unique - how did you come up with your sound?
Peter: It's something that just comes out. My personal writing influences are outside sources and personal experiences. So I can't really say that one thing makes my writing the way it is.
And how do the mechanics of your song-writing work? Do you have a specific idea in mind before you get together as a band or just jam?
Peter: Riffs are always laying around, and sometimes we just have an idea for a whole song. Once we have some initial riffs, we all work it out together. It's an awesome process, that has only grown stronger.
How would you describe your music to the average metal fan that's never heard it?
Peter: Dark and dissonant metal. I think that's the best way we've found to sum it up.
Are you working on anything new at the moment or concentrating on the release of "Lost In Focus"?
Peter: We just got home from tour about 2 weeks ago, and I started writing a few days after that. I've had some ideas in my head since we've been on the road, so I wanted to get those out. I know that our first record hasn't even been released yet, but when you've got something, you may as well get started on it.
Who writes the lyrics, and what is their inspiration?
Peter: Our vocalist Jay writes all the lyrics. From my perspective, he's heavily influenced by every experience in life that he's gone through... Which means he has a lot to get off his chest.
What are your musical influences?
Peter: We all listen to really different bands. There are a handful of bands that we all really love, but it's tough to say.
You've played with the likes of Lamb Of God, Machine Head and Soulfly. Are there any other bands with which you have an ambition to play?
Peter: There are so many bands that we would love to play with. I think that a few main ones for me would be Shai Hulud, Zao, and Heaven Shall Burn.. But I would certainly love to hit the road with our friends Dryline, The Handshake Murders, Himsa, and Full Blown Chaos again. Those are awesome bands with all good guys.
How have you found the live experience to date?
Peter: Amazing. I love touring. When a tour starts, sometimes you feel a bit below where you want to be. After about five shows, you get into this perfect groove, and everything becomes automatic. The response we get at shows has been very cool so far.
What would be the next step for Apiary's live act? Any festivals you have an eye on or particular countries you'd like to conquer?
Peter: We're doing a festival in May called California Metal Fest. Next year, we would of course love to do one of the US Summer tours like Sounds Of The Underground, or even some Warped Tour dates. ANY festival in the UK or Europe would be AMAZING for us. We all can't wait to tour over there.
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you'd like to say to your fans?
Peter: Thank you very much for the questions, we appreciate the interview! I hope you all enjoy the album, and we'll hopefully be in UK the wolfing down some shepherd's pie real soon!
Interview © 2006 Amanda Hyne