Introducing… Apollo Monroe
Get ready for a sugar rush with Ireland's brightest Hyper-Pop star!
Summer 2021 is well and truly in full gear, and it’s not just the Irish public that has been melting lately! Here at deMars HQ, we have had our icy hearts melted by the irresistible sound of Ireland’s brightest young Hyper-Pop provocateur – Apollo Monroe! Since the smashing success of his debut single ‘Soda Pop’, Apollo has been riding high atop a fizzy wave of well deserved hype. Fresh, energetic, and overflowing with charm, this uber-talented BIMM graduate is primed to become a big name on the Irish independent scene and beyond. Fresh off the release of his brilliant new single ‘Bubblegum Boy’, Apollo dropped in for a fun little chat…
Congrats on the release of your amazing new single ‘Bubblegum Boy’! For the uninitiated, can you tell our readers what the Apollo Monroe experience is all about?
The Apollo Monroe experience is super artificial pop music in the most authentic way. I love writing escapist pop, and my lyrics usually tell stories of partying, being romantically aloof, surface level emotions and just fun. There’s a lot of humour in my tongue-in-cheek lyrics. They’re not meant to be taken too seriously, and hopefully, no one ever does. And then these ultra-pop tracks are usually wrapped up in some experimental production styles – distorted 808s, glitchy synths, heavy bass etc. I guess, I kinda like the concept of Apollo Monroe being this highly artificial, processed, futuristic pop star.
When I was reviewing your debut single ‘Soda Pop’ earlier this year, I was thrilled to see your press kit reference PC music and the legendary Sophie. It’s amazing to see that style represented on the Irish scene! What drew you to that type of music?
I’ve always been drawn to bright, glossy pop sounds – but I’ve also loved artists who had a lot of attitude in their songs and style. I think the PC Music Label and PC Music adjacent artists kind of represent that combination of sweet yet punky. I think it stems from that Y2K aesthetic influence that’s very prevalent in PC Music.
Your sound is so creative and fun! Can you tell us a bit about your music making process?
When it comes to writing, I always love starting off with a song title. There’s a certain bright aesthetic I like to adhere to when it comes to song titles – and I like each title complimenting the next. Like they feel like they’re of the same family in some way. The title then kind of drives where I want the lyrical narrative to go, and once I have a loose concept of what the song will be about I’ll begin with writing the chorus. And my intention here is to make it as hooky and earworm-esque as possible.
I think great pop music is built on really catchy hooks, and the way I see it; the more the better.
Once I’ve a catchy, snappy chorus – I’ll then write the verses – which is where you can tell, and contextualise the track’s narrative better.
And finally, once I’m happy with the melody and the lyrics I’ll bring it to whatever producer I’m working within that moment – and we decide how the production of the track should sound. The vibe, the energy, etc. Which is usually good vibes and super high energy.
Then I’ll record the vocals myself in my bedroom with my recording set-up, and send the vocal stems to the producer once I’m finished.
The entire process then concludes once we’ve sent the track back and forth a few times and have fixed every issue, or tackled every new idea in the process.
You’ve worked with two amazing producers in Viscose and Old Pup. How did those collaborations come about?
Viscose and I attended the same music University, BIMM Dublin. We began talking back in 2018 when I offered him the opening slot of a gig I was doing with a synth-pop band called Apollo 6.
After the gig I confided in Viscose that Apollo 6 most likely wasn’t where I wanted to be, and that I wanted to be a solo act – and I asked if he’d be interested in working together.
In regards to OLD PUP, we actually met on a hyperpop subreddit account shortly after the release of my previous single; soda pop. OLD PUP was complimenting the track in the subreddit, and reached out to me saying if I ever wanted to work together to hit him up. I then checked out his Soundcloud and absolutely loved his sound and the direction he was taking his music. So we ended up working together as soon as that line of communication was opened.
You’ve got a very distinct theme running through the cover art for your songs that sums up your work quite brilliantly! Who comes up with these awesome concepts?
I’m pretty much in-charge of all the visual creative decisions made, and usually just express them to an artist to bring those ideas to life. The “soda pop” cover, which was created by a good friend of mine and an amazing artist; Sophie Scally, came to be as I kind of wanted to parody an old school soda pop can design where there was an image of a kid on it – it was very Americana, circa 1940s type image – and I wanted to kind of modernise that and give it a bit of Apollo Monroe edge – which is a lot of neon green and hot pink and glossy slime affects.
The artwork for ‘Bubblegum Boy’ was kind of a combination of ideas me and OLD PUP had. I knew I wanted to go with a 3D design, most likely an object, and I knew I wanted some Apollo Monroe caricature on it. OLD PUP suggested maybe bubblegum boy is a video game character, and I then suggested putting him on the cover of a gaming cartridge. And once again, I went with the neon green and hot pink colour scheme. This art was done by an amazing 3D artist who goes by “by Pim”.
Obviously gigging in front of a live crowd is a bit of a pipe dream for everyone at the moment. Is it frustrating to have these absolute bangers at your disposal and not be able to play them to a packed house?
It totally is pretty annoying not being able to gig them. All of my previous music experience has been gigging. I studied vocal performance in college, I’ve performed in almost every revered venue in Dublin city. Ironically, I just haven’t gigged once since the Apollo Monroe project came about. So that means, when everything returns to normality – we are going to have a party.
And finally, since you’re a self-professed bubblegum boy I have to ask a very important question – Hubba Bubba or Juicy Fruit?
Hubba Bubba absolutely, the more artificial the taste the better!