Interview with Tony Nichols of Mexican Ape-Lord
By Mick Michaels
COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Tony! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.
Tony Nichols: Great to be with you.
Ape-Lord’s new album, "Survival
Cannibalism" is a musical retelling of true events. Tell us a
little about the story's background and what drew you to it.
TN: Yeah, the album was inspired by a shipwreck that happened on an island off the coast of Maine a few hundred years ago. It was the middle of winter and the survivors grew so desperate they turned to cannibalism.
CV: Why did you feel telling the story using the band's music and writing style was a project worth investing in? Is there some level connection to the story or event?
TN: We grew up outside of Boston, about 60 miles from where this happened, but we never learned about it in history class. Jon (the singer) stumbled across the story around the time the album was coming together. He was looking for a theme to tie the songs together and survival cannibalism fit the mood.
CV: Do you believe storytelling in songs, or more so in album form, are something audiences are looking to experience, especially when the idea of a "concept album" is not as popular as it once was?
TN: Well, some people just want to hear a hard hitting song and others maybe want to go a little deeper. These songs are built to stand alone. Take just one, that’s fine. But for those who want more than one, climb on in, we’re going for a ride.
CV: Does music need to contain a message to be successful or even for people to connect to it for that matter in your opinion?
TN: I don’t think music needs a human voice to make a connection. Instrumental music is proof of that. But combining the two can put it over the top.
CV: If you had to compare "Survival Cannibalism" to the band's first album, "The Late Heavy Bombardment," using only three words, which words would they be?
TN: More Dan solos. He’s an incredible guitarist. We’d be fools not to let him loose at every opportunity.
CV: Did the COVID pandemic and the restrictions that followed, have any effect on the album's overall production? If so, how did the band overcome any obstacles or challenges that may presented themselves?
TN: We’re lucky to work with some great engineers. Peter Rutcho mixed and produced the album in his studio without us breathing down his neck. I trust him completely. Jon recorded vocals with Warren Babson at a remote studio in Gloucester, MA. Dan recorded his lead guitar parts in his home studio in Florida. Luckily, we had basic guitar, bass and drums tracks recorded before COVID hit.
CV: What do you feel 2020 has taught you
as an artist and as a band that you otherwise wouldn't have learned elsewhere
in your opinion?
TN: Be flexible. Don’t give up. Use whatever technology you can to team up and kick ass.
CV: What's next? In addition to the new album, what can fans expect to see coming from Mexican Ape-Lord in the New Year?
TN: We have two projects in the pipeline. The first is a three song EP called Rx that we plan to release in 2021. We’re also working on a full length album called Blunt Instrument to follow that up.
CV: Thank you again Tony for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. I wish you all the best and continued success.
Check out Mexican Ape-Lord at:
Spotify: Survival Cannibalism
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