With inspirations such as A Tribe Called Quest and John Coltrane, these guys are serious about their music and music as a force to change the world. This year, the band released its first studio album, made a splash at the “Hamilton” pre-show at Argyros Plaza, and maintains a residency at Fourth Street Market in Santa Ana on Thursdays. We spoke with singer Brian Gomez, aka Brian to Earth.
Apollo Bebop is the brainchild of (bassist) Christopher Trimmer. He met (guitarist) Dominick (Cruz) in high school (at Orange County School of the Arts), and then he met me at Saddleback College, and I brought in (saxophonist) DeAndre (Grover). On our first day of rehearsal, we actually had a different drummer scheduled to perform, but he didn’t show up. So Dominick was like, “Hey, my little brother plays drums. Can he sit in?” “Yeah, why not?” Donovan (Cruz), even though he was only 15, had this feel that matched no one else I’ve ever played with, and I was like, “We need to keep this kid.”
It was the most extensive and expensive tour. The cities we hit up were Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and Truckee. We went for two weeks. It was a whole lot of fun, definitely a learning process. We had things pop up that we didn’t expect. One of the tires in one car blew out, and we had to deal with that. We had gigs lined up where the venue ended up pulling out at the last second, so we ended up playing at the park. It probably turned out better. That was in Seattle.
There’s a song called “Come Over” on the (recent) album. We were working on a different song, and Christopher Trimmer played something on the bass and we stopped him. We go, “Wait, keep doing that, that sounds tight!” Sometimes the guys are like, “Brian, just come up with a lyric, and we can come up with a song.” But the way I usually write is I like to hear music first and that inspires me to write.
A big focus for us is to make music that’s digestible. It’s consumable in a way that’s not going to sound harsh or preachy. We think there’s a good balance between, yeah, let’s have some fun, but also let’s have some food for thought. That’s the balance, touching on all the different emotions that people feel and then being genuine about it. We’re all very genuine about what we do. We all play with intent and purpose.
SUCCESS FOR THE BAND
We want to reach as many people as we can. We’re not just recording artists. We love to perform. We definitely try to get out there and get as big as we can and try to change the world in a positive way. I think making positive change is the most beautiful thing you can do with your life. And a nice thing, too, is we are all, all five of us, phenomenal musicians.
Photograph by Yuichi Yoshida