Video Premiere: The Apology Tour – “For Those Who Stuck Around”
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Listening to The Apology Tour is, at first, a little nerve wracking. The band marries a bright synth with slow, sludgy guitars while at the same time bringing in melodic vocals. The resulting compositions can easily tear listeners in multiple directions until they have time to properly digest it and find beauty in the intensely varied layers. Now that their debut album, This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, has been out for the better half of a year, the band is adding another layer into the mix. This time the band brings it into the visual realm with a music video for “For Those Who Stuck Around”.
Speaking to vocalist and guitarist Nick Diener, he said that, lyrically, “it’s absolutely the story of looking back on the time I spent with The Swellers.” The song gives off the feeling of nostalgia, tinged with regret. “We toured for ten year straight, not being home for more than two months at any point in that decade,” Diener confessed. He went on to describe the physical and mental toll that this nonstop lifestyle had. Apart from the extreme stress put on his body and vocal cords, “I wasn’t present most of the time, mentally, always looking to the future and wondering what we could do to keep momentum going.” “For Those Who Stuck Around” looks back on those years, especially the final year when he was finally able to relax and enjoy the ride, with a sense of both appreciation and pride. “If I could go back, I’d do so many things differently,” but at the same time, “I can finally look back in peace and be so proud of what we did.”
The video perfectly encapsulates this message and the emotions tied to it. Much like the music The Apology Tour makes, the video is layered. The main focal point is the band performing, but this is contrasted by the fact that the members and space are veiled with projected past performances from bands they have each been in over the years. The idea came together when the directors of the video, the Mata Brothers, approached the band because they personally connected to the song. “We aren’t a very active band,” stated Diener, “and had no plans to do a video with any kind of production or crew, but these guys went above and beyond and made us an incredible video. The video is definitely a ‘thank you’ to anyone who gave our old and new bands a chance.”
When Diener reflected on the band’s overall sound, he affirmed that it is “definitely all intentional.” He can understand the uneasiness that the diverse choices create, but gets a more zen feeling out of it himself. Using a baritone guitar with low tuning and allowing synths to take the place of a lead guitar were two of the songwriting techniques that he used to take him out of his comfort zone and increase creativity. Overall, “it came together as a fully formed idea after I envisioned what it’d sound like, big picture. It was fun making this record because it was my first new band in 14 or so years. The Swellers were my only band, ever, and we started that in 2002.” And a lot has changed since then. “After the band ended I had much more time to focus on recording as a full-time thing.” Diener has been able to hone his craft and expand his work as the owner of Oneder Studios. This has an effect on how he approaches his own music. “I’m always learning something, whether it’s from troubleshooting or a certain sound or songwriting style that rubs off on me from a band I’m working with. For The Apology Tour, I knew that I wanted to record and mix the record myself. It kind of sucks, though. Now that I’m extremely confident in my recording and production abilities, I’ve become much less prolific as a songwriter. Also, [I have] much less time being a stay-at-home dad on top of being a work-from-home recording engineer.”
Looking to the future, Diener is most excited about his studio work. He recently recorded the new Hot Mulligan album, Pilot, as well as doing work with Ness Lake, Forest Green, and Lights Over Bridgeport. “I am so happy to be constantly surrounded by music. Also just excited to see my baby boy Everson grow up, but also wanting time to stand still so he stays a baby forever. He’s gonna be one spoiled kid.”
Finally, when asked about the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where Diener grew up and still lives, he said, “Flint still does not have clean water. People often ask where and what to donate, but the truth is, it seems to change pretty often. The last I heard, the free bottled water centers will be closing, which is devastating. Before that, I was told that people need things like toiletries and diapers more than they need bottled water. It’s such a shame that it has fallen out of the headlines, but we just ask that you try to remember Flint. Follow Flint institutions, bands, venues, and publications on social media. You’ll be most likely to get the real deal. We will always be posting things as we know more.”
Scott Fugger | @scoober1013
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