Apollo Junction: 'Being On The Ropes is a way of connecting with our audience'

With a sound resembling 'New Order meets The Killers', Apollo Junction are growing more popular day by day by bringing a modern electro twist to the Britpop sound.

The group recently released, ‘On The Ropes’ a topical song featuring a distinct message about the nation's current state of mental health.

Coming out of a northern powerhouse for live music, Leeds, the lads are excited to get back in front of crowds and play their new tracks.

We chatted with bassist Ben Hope about the ever changing restrictions and what it’s like to be confined just inside your house whilst still managing to create a buzzing reputation on the outside.

How did you come up with the video concept for ‘On The Ropes’ and what message did you want to portray?

It was our video maker who came up with the concept. We wanted to do it in a boxing ring but we couldn’t with the pandemic, so he came up with the idea of people drawing their own rings and fighting in an abandoned warehouse.

The video shows people fighting and then coming together, a metaphor for what we’ll be like by the end of it all. We’re all in one room each in the house, I was put in the spare room, the coldest, Jamie on the steps, Johnny in the living room and it came together nicely.

It’s gone down very well, we’re blown away really. I think it’s a brave track, not like anything we’ve one before.

Who or what was the inspiration behind the track itself?

It’s similar to ‘Bordlines’ in that we’re trying to write about what's currently going on in the world. We’re all metaphorically on the ropes at the minute and there's a lot of sacrifices being made, it’s about coming out fighting and being on top.

We will come out of this whole virus situation and get back to normal. Being on the ropes is a way of connecting with our audience, we’re all just trying to make it through really.

How has the production side of things been in lockdown?

It’s been difficult, we have more time to write and we can send stuff to each other all the time. I put a bass line down the other day, which I've now sent to Johnny who will put the drum track down, Sam will say send to me, etc. When you’re not allowed in the same room it does make it more difficult.

For example, we’ve never actually played, ‘On The Ropes’ live ever, that was a song that was all written at home and then mixed together.

We’ve never played it live, as odd as it sounds, it’s a sign of the times. Come to think of it, I don’t know how we’re gonna pull it off as it’s very synth heavy - maybe we will get on stage and wonder what we’re doing!

What’s the story behind your first project ‘Mystery’?

In terms of inspirations, musically almost every act under the sun! I’m a northern soul guy, I love my brit-pop, so does Jamie. Matt loves anything. Johnny loves westian country music and Sam likes all sorts of 80’s synth sounds.

For me, we really inspire each other when us five are writing together. We started writing in a little flat in Hyde Park Leeds, our first song got on BBC 6 Music and from then on it’s spiralled.

Sadly, you’re not able to play Glastonbury anymore, how will you make up for this?

We will just have to hold out for next year, keep writing and doing what we’re doing. We’re only getting stronger during this whole pandemic.

Hopefully all the major festivals will be possible. We feel we’re on the cusp of something and so do other people, we’ve just got to hope that we can get back to normal soon. We've got to be more patient then we once thought, if we carry on making new music, surely something’s got to come of it!

Noticed the pretty funny Boris Bingo post on instagram, but on a more serious note what do you think that leaders could be doing to help the arts?

The main thing is with the EU. Elton John was talking about it, but in recognition that he is minted and for people like us, we could tour the EU for X amount of days, then we would have to come back, go back and then come back again. I do think the Government needs to look at this with open eyes.

Artists and the future of arts culture, needs to be looked after. Britain is a huge mixture of cultures, a massive part of ours is pop culture and the music behind it. It’s so important to keep it thriving. Not that they’re ever gonna listen to me, Ben Hope from Leeds... but hey we can all dream!

Lastly, how do you think the Leeds music scene has been impacted by the pandemic?

It’s always been good. Now we’ve got this virus, there's loads of bands being formed and coming out online, who before this you wouldn’t have heard of before. We’re probably one of them. I think when we get back into live music, it’s going to be absolutely booming.