24 Jan 2022

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Apollo SteamTrain - Apollo SteamTrain Newsletter Interview

31 Jan 2018 // An interview by Shade
Tauranga act Apollo SteamTrain started in a non-traditional way; it was decided early on to record a bunch of tracks from an extensive back catalogue of songs written by Brendan over the past 20 years, and then assemble the best musicians available to deliver the music in the live format. With a new single set for release in February, a tour lined up for March, and a new album in the works, Apollo SteamTrain are starting 2017 on a high note. Brendan answered the following questions for muzic.net.nz:

How did you become involved in music?

I have loved music all my life, It’s what I grew up with and I can’t remember a time when my home life as a child was not filled with all types of music on record, tapes and from early TV shows such as RTR and Solid Gold Hits. My father played Harmonica and my mother Piano Accordian so music was a strong focus. I got a guitar when I was 9 and mucked about for a few years taking lessons and eventually teaching myself enough to get by. I played in school bands for a while then left school and got into sound and lighting production, landing a job as resident tech at the now legendary Sammys Nightclub in Dunedin. When the resident band needed a bass player I applied for the job and got back into playing live. I have gigged ever since on both Bass and Guitar.

If you could perform with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

Easy. Neil Finn. He has been one of my life long influences. My first ever concert was Crowded House on their very first tour in July of 1987 at the Dunedin Town Hall. It was the first time I had heard a band at full concert volume and I was blown away. I have followed his career ever since. I play a number of his songs in my solo sets.

Which one of your songs are you most proud of, and why?

I am most proud of a currently unreleased track called The Barony of Carbery. It is the result of a conceptual idea that I came up with for a song when my youngest son was a baby. I wanted to portray what it felt like to go through the process of putting a very young child to bed and explain the feelings that a parent goes through when the child finally falls asleep. I am really happy that I was able to turn the idea into a finished track.   The track will be on the Apollo SteamTrain album when it is released later in the year.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it before?

As is to be expected, no artist wants to be put in a pigeon hole when it comes to original music but If I am pushed I will say that I write Guitar Folk songs that are delivered in Adult Contemporary Pop/Rock Format.

What can we expect to see from you in the next year?

Apollo SteamTrain spent almost all of 2017 recording and setting up material to be released in 2018. The plan is to release as much as we can throughout the year and lead up to an album before xmas. All backed by as many live shows as possible.

What NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?

I have such wide tastes that I cannot single out any one artist. Overall I just want to see as many people find a way to get out there and play live. 

What is your favourite NZ venue, and why?

Totara St, Tauranga. It’s a venue in the true sense  where on any given weekend they can have Reggae to Rock to EDM. They cater for all and have a great stage and production. Great easy staff too.

Have you got any tips for dealing with nerves before a gig?

Remind yourself that YOU own the show. No matter how big or small the gig, if you have made it to the point of getting on stage then the stage belongs to you for that moment. Relax and enjoy what you are about to do. 

How do you balance your music with other obligations; family, job etc?

I don’t sleep :) It’s a constant juggling act. I have a full time day job and a family with a young child to commit to before I start any musical work. My wife is very supportive and supports what I do 100%. I do try to be home as much as possible when I am not out gigging which can mean I miss out on seeing other musicians play.

Where do you get your inspiration to create music from?

Always from listening to music in many shapes and sizes. I will hear someone who has worked hard on a great track and it inspires me to create my own and work hard.  I can pick up on a particular chord or rhythm in a song and think wow what can I do with that to create something of my own. Often I will hear ideas or phrases when socializing with friends and think that’s a great line, write it in my phone (holds the backlog of all ideas) and the next time I sit down to write I will call on the idea and expand on it.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Try to understand what makes you happy and stick to it. If you are out gigging then learn how to run your operation as a business. Do not listen to any negative feedback. Never stop. 


About Apollo SteamTrain

Apollo SteamTrain is a musical platform to host the continuing projects of singer/songwriter Brendan McCarthy from Tauranga, New Zealand.

Brendan has a deal in place with Songbroker which has seen his tracks synced on several high profile TV shows including Shortland Street and Filthy Rich.

Brendan has worked with several procucers including internationally renowned Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers, OpShop, Catatonia, The Feelers, Six60), recording 2 tracks at Neil Finn's Round Head Studios.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Apollo SteamTrain


Generation Overload
Year: 2021
Type: Album

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