Take a bite with the Appleseed Cast

The band Appleseed Cast is playing a show at the House Cafe on Friday.

By Jerene-Elise Nall

DeKALB | The Appleseed Cast is set to take the stage on Friday at The House Cafe, 263 E. Lincoln Highway. Well-regarded for their pioneering work in the ‘90s emo phenomenon, The Appleseed Cast is no stranger to success. Akin to bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate and Texas Is the Reason, this group combines hazy guitars and haunting vocals with an intensely visceral emotional charge.

The Northern Star spoke with guitarist Aaron Pillar on his thoughts about the band’s reputation, upcoming tour and the release of the band’s newest EP, Middle States.

NORTHERN STAR: You guys have been making music for over 10 years now, and a lot of people consider you to be pioneers of a genre. How does that feel?


AARON PILLAR: We were definitely influenced by a lot of what was going on at the time, but we also did our own thing. We weren’t really trying to do anything; we would just have band practices and the songs that came out in practice are the songs that we put out. It wasn’t until a little bit later that we were getting to be better players and that’s when we wanted to expand upon what we had. I think that not a lot of bands sound like us. There are bands that do things that we do, and there are bands that we’ve gotten ideas from, but the way I look at is for 10 years plus, we’ve been writing our own original music that has evolved, but you can still hear one of our songs and say, ‘Oh, that’s Appleseed.’ We haven’t tried to be anything else. We haven’t tried to change with the times. We’ve just tried to be ourselves. We just keep going. One of us says, ‘Oh, I have another idea,’ and we write another song, and we put another EP out.

NS: How would you say the sound of Middle States compares with that of your previous albums?

AP: I feel like the first song on the EP is a more well-defined rock song, and if anything, it’s more straightforward than anything else. I think we did ‘straightforward’ very well in that song. You can really hear some of our growth in that song. The ‘Middle States’ song is sort of [reminiscent of the album] Peregrine, it kind of reminds me of [the song] ‘Here We Are.’ It’s definitely about all of us, and it’s got a lot of cool imagery.

There’s some heaviness to it, but for the most part, it’s a good pop song. We’re blending those two worlds really well—the low-fi recording, the trashy-sounding instruments, delays in the vocals everywhere, but it’s still a pop song. The last song on the record is more experimental.

It’s a 14-minute long jam. More than anything else, the EP is really trying to capture what we sound like live. A lot of our stuff doesn’t sound the same when we play it live—there are just too many bells and whistles—but there’s a stripped-down element to Middle States.

NS: How does it feel to be releasing another album? Is there a different sense of accomplishment than with previous releases?

AP: This is our first release with [record label] Graveface, and it’s the first time that we were able to give [label head] Ryan [Graveface] actual music that he can do with what he wants on the label. The real sense of accomplishment for me is that we were able to hunker down and get something done, because we hadn’t been getting things done the way we used to. We just don’t have the time anymore. We’re all older and we have responsibilities and things we need to get done, and it makes it hard to get together all the time.


NS: I know that during your tour in spring of 2010, I heard that you guys had played [albums] Low Level Owl Vols. I and II in their entireties. Were you planning on doing anything specific with the set list for this tour?

AP: On this tour, we’re playing two of the new songs. The 14-minute long jam; we haven’t really figured out a good way to play that live yet. We’re playing a lot of everything. We’re playing some older songs, stuff that’s kind of different that we haven’t played in a long time. We wanted to try to span the last 11 years. That was our thought process when creating the set. We’re just looking forward to getting out and playing.