Apollo Suns – Adjacent to Jazz
Combine some King Crimson with Moody Blues and a dash of BADBADNOTGOOD and you’re close to creating Apollo Suns, a nine-piece jazzy prog fusion group out of Winnipeg. The group can trace its beginnings back to the crumbling of another band, Electric Soul.
“We had a bunch of gigs booked with our other band Electric Soul in 2015, but it was kind of a shit show ‘cause we broke up so we did the shows, but it was all instrumental jamming with different players,” says guitarist Ed Durocher. “I call that summer the “purgatory years” ‘cause we would jam with whoever, making up these sets on the spot. People showed way more enthusiasm than our last band so we realized, this is what we were good at.”
By 2016, Durocher a few other friends/musicians he met along the way played a show under the name Apollo Suns as a four-piece. A little later, they added a horn section.“I was pretty nervous pushing an instrumental fusion band in Canada,” he says. “You gotta think ‘How feasible is this?’ But shows are growing and we have a great fan base.”
The group just released its latest EP Dawn Offerings, a four song collection of smooth jazz fusion and psychedelic prog jams for any listener to enjoy. “When you say you’re an instrumental band, people think your jazz or post rock and we’re kind of neither. We have jazz and have lots of jazz trained players, but I always tell people were not a jazz band. We’re jazz adjacent. It needs to be catchy for someone who isn’t a connoisseur of blah blah blah genre,” Durocher says.
The two singles on Dawn Offerings “A Song for Sterling” and “Dark Night” take the listeners on different instrumental journeys of pain, pleasure, and sonic rapture. Most songs are written through jams with the whole band after some melody or riff won’t leave Durocher’s mind.
Apollo Suns have become quite adept at sonically aligning their sound to fit a specific feeling or atmosphere. “A Song for Sterling” sounds very melancholy and chaotic, while “Dark Night” is almost like a victory lap. This is heard on the recordings, but uncomparable when you witness the band live.
“People always ask, ‘What’s this song about?’ but the nice thing about being an instrumental band, is we don’t have narratives in our songs so we can name them whatever we want,” Durocher says. “The listener can inform their own atmosphere or feeling.”