CG: You guys have some pretty crazy names. Any stage names? Or what are your backgrounds/what’s the story behind your name?
JN: I will own up for the only stage name in the band. It’s more of a nickname than anything. The short version of the story behind the name goes like this: back in 2002 on a bright sunny day my car is clipped by another vehicle. My car gently flies into the air in slow motion and is slammed back onto the pavement with my precious ring finger underneath said vehicle. Sadly half my digit was gone. So ten fingers minus 1 = “NINE” thus Johnny Nine. People have been calling me that ever since. If you wanted to be accurate I really should be Johnny 9.5. The upside is I still can play keyboards and it makes for great parlor tricks.
CG: Where are you from? Did you grow up there? Did you all meet there? How long have you known each other? If you didn’t meet there, where did you all meet? How did the band come together?
JN: We are all from Birmingham, Alabama. Yes we all grew up here and many of us have lived across the globe at one time or another. Japan, Sweden, L.A., Boston to mention a few. We have all known each other for a long, long time. In regards to forming the band, Trexel and I, after a solid year and a half of writing and recording, were getting the itch to play our songs live. We had been on a sometimes exhaustive search to find the right fit for the other players in the band. As it stands today with the all the pieces coming together we couldn’t be happier with Lake, Patrick and Chipper contributions to this unit. The cohesiveness of everybody involved makes it so rewarding. There is a lot of joy that goes along with this process. Personally I am enthralled by it all.
CG: Who are some of your biggest musical influences? Any influences besides music--people, art, literature, film, etc? Are there any particular eras or places or both that have influenced your work?
BT: My influences come from the hundreds of concerts I have seen. I love the energy of live music and I have made a conscious effort to create Applespacebar songs for the stage in mind. First, I want to write songs that I know I will enjoy playing live and second, that I know the audience will enjoy watching us play live. This is after all intended to be "entertainment." Specific artists that I admire are very varied and may or may not be reflected in our music. They include Stone Temple Pilots, Pink Floyd, Tool, old Aerosmith, Collective Soul, Led Zeppelin, and Coldplay. I enjoy traveling and soaking up the vibe of different places which I know brings a lot to the creation of any art, including music.
CG: Did growing up where you did influence your music at all? Do you feel a kinship with your hometown?
BT: In our town growing up there would be concerts very often, almost every other week, and they were very affordable unlike now. I certainly feel a kinship towards Birmingham for the fact that it sometimes feels like a big city and sometimes like a small town. It's easy to get around, there are great people and tons of great food. Food is very important to me.
CG: What bands do you think you sound like, if any? What bands have others told you you sound like? Any strange or incongruent comparisons? What bands would you like to sound like?
BT: Instead of wanting to sound like a particular band, I would rather evoke similar emotions that they evoke but do it in our own way. I try to bring something fresh to the table with each song or riff. If you are simply rehashing, there really is no point. We have certain songs that sound similar to the Foo Fighters or Stone Temple Pilots, maybe a little Collective Soul. Some people say we sound like bands that I personally have never heard of.
CG: What do you think you would be doing right now if you weren’t a musician? What did you want to be when you were a kid?
BT: Unfortunately for many of my family who have depended on my earning capabilities, I have always wanted to be a musician. I have pictures of me holding a guitar when I was three years old. I used to draw strings on my play blocks with a magic marker. If I weren't a musician, I would be a groundskeeper at a resort in the Caribbean.
CG: What has been a personal high and a personal low about your musical career so far? Any particular moments of awesomeness or embarrassing blunders?
BT: A low would be when our roadies started a riot at our concert at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women...just kidding..get back with us in a year for an update.
CG: So what’s the story behind your band name, Applespacebar? How did it come about?
JN: Ok ...ok, we get this question a lot. Here is how the name came to be. Ben and I are both studio rats. We use Pro Tools and a Mac computer as our DAW (digital audio workstation) to record. To initiate the recording process you have to hit the apple key on the Mac keyboard then spacebar. We were always yelling out ‘apple- spacebar” while we were recording. It just dawned on Trexel one day that we should make it the name of the band. Is it quirky?...sure. But we like it. The name incorporates what we love to do: create music. The upside is we get some hilarious notions as to what the hell people thinks it means.
CG: What is next for the band? Are you working on your third albums already? Planning tours? Any collaborations or side projects? As for the next sound, are you going to stick to your sound now or maybe experiment/take a new route at all? If you did, do you think your fans would dig it?
BT: We always seem to be writing, even if it is not "in the plans" at the time. I guess that is a good thing. We seem to be on pace for an album per year which these days is considered alot but was quite common in the 70's and 80's. Some of my favorite bands, including Led Zeppelin and Steely Dan, released an album per year for six or seven years straight. I think our sound will evolve naturally without planning a change. Like I said before, there is no point in rehashing even if it is your own music. That worked maybe for AC/DC or ZZ Top but that would totally bore me. Playing all over the world is the goal for this band. We have created songs that travel well and come across great in a live environment. If touring slows our recorded output a bit, I think that will be okay.
So there you have it. These guys are quirky but commercial, home-grown but universal. Keep an ear out for them, and check out their two albums, Welcome to the Dream (2008) and Songs You Might Like (2010), also available on iTunes.
And here's ooonneee more link, ooonnee more time, in case you forgot: Applespacebar