Apollo Biography and Interview
December 4, 2009
Apollo is a new, up and coming band, waiting to be truly discovered. The band started between a few ordinary guys whose friendship and love for music brought them together. Primarily, they just wanted to play music here and there for fun. Not thinking they would take it anywhere, it was a bit of a surprise when Apollo actually started growing a fan base, even beyond their close friends. The members of the band are all local, coming from the Nashville and the surrounding area. Apollo is comprised of 5 members: Chase Stockard (Vocals/Guitar), Joel Forlines (Vocals/Guitar), Michael Shearon (Bass), Zach St. Lawrence (Percussion), and Payne Stockard (Drums). None of the 5 has had any extended musical training other than high school or college choir. Most have learned strictly by being self-taught. They are primarily a “jam band” that just loves to have fun and express it through their music.
My first exposure to Apollo is hard to establish. I grew up with most of the boys. My college roommate my freshman year was Joel. We have literally grown up together from the time I moved to Tennessee. I listened to Joel play his guitar until I would fall asleep most nights. If we ever wrote something worth hearing again, we would record them in our dorm room. From then on, there was always something peaceful about hearing their sound. Hence, that is why I enjoy them as much as I do. Without a true album cut yet, Apollo still relies on personal connections to secure gigs. They play everything from parties to coffee shops, camps to community events. I have enjoyed this approach because I still feel like I can connect with them through our friendship. Although I do not have any dislikes of the band, I would love to see them continue to refine their skills and sound and grow to love music even more. I do wish for them to find the ministry they are searching to deliver and finally find their places in life, either in the music industry or elsewhere.
Being friends with Apollo, I was able to get a personal interview with two of the band’s members.
Below I have transcribed the interview with Chase Stockard and Joel Forlines of Apollo.
Me: Hey guys. Let’s start off with a few questions. I want to know a little bit about you and learn some biography on the band itself. First off, how did you meet each other and become friends?
- Chase: We all met at Pleasant View Christian School in Pleasant View, TN. Michael was in my class, and we naturally became best friends. Joel was a class ahead of me. We were always in choir, or just doing something with music together. We clicked really well from the very beginning. Zach was in a class below me, but since Joel and Zach carpooled together, we became friends pretty quickly too. Oh and of course, Payne and I are brothers.
Me: How did you become a band? What made you decide to actually give this a try?
- Chase: Well. I was kind of doing the "solo-act", doing my own songs and playing acoustic all around Nashville. I never asked anyone to play with me except one person: Joel Forlines. Joel didn't even really play the stuff I was playing, and I didn't play what he was playing. But there was something about Joel that I loved and, as I said before, we worked very well together. So Joel and I started talking more. He started showing me some of his songs, and I started to get into some other music. Michael started to play bass a lot more during all of this. Then Joel and Mike went to a camp this past summer and played together all the time. Mike's my best friend, Joel's my favorite musician to play with; therefore, we started a band. Then, of course, we needed a percussion player and a drummer, so Zach started playing percussion and Payne started playing drums.
Me: Why did each of you choose music in the first place?
- Chase: I would have to say that it was vice-versa. Music definitely chose me.
- Joel: I chose music cause that was what I knew. I am not saying I am good at it at all. But good or bad, music was always in my life. My whole life, everything made sense when I was playing music. It was a place to go where I was in control. If I wanted it to be happy, it was happy. If I wanted to go somewhere like Africa, I could. In my family it was almost like the possibilities were endless. My parents had a lot to do with that. They never discouraged me or put me down as to what I could and couldn't play.
Me: What were your earliest encounters with music?
- Joel: I think I speak for both of us when I say that music was always a part of our lives. From growing up just listening to our parents sing, whether in church or at home, we were both engulfed in the music at an early age.
Me: Let’s get into some personal background. What individual life experiences have made you the person you are?
- Chase: Like I said before, my Mom was a huge part of my music. She's not a musician, and she didn't send me to music school, but she loves music and listened to it all the time with me. I think that is the best education I could've asked for. I was in theater and have
- Joel: My whole life has been kept calm because of the way I was raised. Carefree. I try to play music that way as well.
Me: What music did you grow up listening to? Was music an important part of your childhood? When did it become an important part of your life?
I grew up listening to The Beatles, The Jackson 5, Carole King, James Taylor, Marvin Gay, and Stevie Wonder. It was very important in my childhood; I had my first solo performance when I was 5 years old. And it's been important to me since the very beginning of my life.
- Joel: Always the oldies baby, then the Beatles, then a little Pink Floyd, then on the cycle goes.
Me: Now for the sound- What made you choose the instrument’s you play?
- Joel: Those were the instruments that we played. We kind of picked our spots years before we started the band.
- Chase: Personally, I'm all over the spectrum of emotion. The guys know this about me, and I'm finally able to admit that. I think that's why I chose the guitar. The guitar is, without question, the most versatile instrument to play. You can hear a guitar strum a simple minor chord and feel the sadness, or you can hear a monstrous guitar solo and feel the energy and excitement a guitar can bring.
Me: What makes your style as an individual musician unique?
- Chase: Here's the thing: Joel Forlines is the most original guy/musician I know. When you hear him strum a guitar or play the sax, you know that it's Joel. I don't think I'm like that at all. I have been into a lot of different kinds of music. I've played Rock, Metal, Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Soul, and Latin. I think that's what makes me unique. The fact that I have so many different backgrounds, and so many different influences, it all flows out of me.
Me: What about the Genre of music your in? How would you describe the style of music you play?
- Chase: "Jam Band". But some people need a little more than that. So Reggae, Soul, Blues-Rock, and Groove.
Me: What about your personal inspirations? Who is your greatest influence?
- Joel: Right now I am on a Phish trip. Wow, hard question. Barney probably. You can ask anyone in the band. I am always making up songs about dumb stuff. Just like that big purple dinosaur, The Police also influenced Barney as I am influenced earliest by Galactic which is an "acid jazz" band.
- Chase: My greatest influence would be Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Beatles. The next would be Trey Anastasio.
Me: Ok. What is your favorite song or which one has the most meaning and why do you chose them?
- Chase: Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles and Bathtub Gin by Phish.
Strawberry Fields Forever inspires me to not be afraid to do ANYTHING with my music, and to be as original as possible.
Bathtub Gin inspires me to have fun with my music. To love every minute that I'm doing something involved with music.
- Joel: Amber by 311. . While My Guitar Gently Weeps by George Harrison . . . Funny the Way It Is by Dave Matthews Band, and many more. They hit me and changed my outlook on music.
Me: Ok, now let’s talk about some of the experiences you’ve had throughout this adventure. What are your thoughts on the music industry?
- Joel: I don’t really know too much about it. All I do know is it’s hard to give your opinion in there without you getting paid to say someone else's.
- Chase: The music industry has become WAY to money oriented. I hate the fact that everyone in the industry thinks you must hire a producer to get an album out. The days of artist putting out a CD all by themselves are over.. Unless Apollo has something to say about it. ha, :)
Me: What do you like and dislike in today’s music?
- Joel: Wow! Everything. Where is the truth? It’s not in money. It’s in what you want to say.
- Chase: I like the amount of music that people listen to, but not what they are listening to. Music is healing, and today's media really pushes anger or sexuality. Love is gone, and lust is in.
Me: What has it been like trying to find your way in the music industry? Any obstacles? Any open doors?
- Chase: Well. It's hard for everyone. But I stand upon and truly believe this statement: If you love what you do and you're good at it, you'll be discovered. I know that the guys in the music industry that I know are sick of getting demo CD's…especially being in Nashville. Basically, if you try to put together a demo CD in Nashville, the same guys get hired to play the same instruments that are played on every single CD you hear in Nashville. Everyone is sick of the same stuff being passed around. I love the fact that we aren't doing that, and that we're coming up with new ideas to make our music and distribute it to the masses.
Me: What are your aspirations as a band?
- Chase: As a band, each one of us has something that we want express, something we want to say. Generally speaking, we as a band aspire to let our music take you, the listener, somewhere: whether it's to a place where your mind is opened to something new and inspires you, or if it's creating an atmosphere for people to come to a place with God where they feel comfortable enough to talk to Him.
Me: What are your life goals outside of music?
- Chase: To be honest, I would love to be a music teacher. So there's really no way to answer this question for me.
- Joel: My aspirations are to go to another country, hopefully in Africa, and proclaim the name of Jesus Christ to a world of people that need love. The true love of God is the only way to fill the void in these people’s hearts. I hope, honestly, that this band is a tool to get me there. Right now, this is my only ministry. I need to take it more seriously.
by Adam Coker