Earlier this year, suspicion took me to Grand Junction to catch a rising Front Range band called You, Me & Apollo. In all honesty, it only took watching a live recording of their single “We Got a Roof” to get me there, and two stellar sets at a rowdy Naggy McGee’s bar to hook me.
Poised on stage like you would expect from veteran performers, frontman Brent Cowles led the band through an attention-grabbing show with piercing vocal dexterity. The impression sunk in deep, and inevitably led to their billing on the SBG Productions sister event Snowmass Mammoth Festival. This time facing a more musically astute audience, their standout late night performance impressed yet another crowd mostly likely unaware of who these guys were. Since then, You, Me & Apollo has used that same element of surprise to take on bigger circuit festivals and tours across the country. But before they outgrow their home state, we have an intimate night with them at Fly Me to the Moon in Telluride this Friday. Drummer Tyler Kellogg took a minute to connect about home, tour shenanigans and what’s next for the band.
This year has been one of expansion for you guys as a band. Quickly talk about the progressive Denver music scene and how you have come up in it as a band.
When You Me & Apollo formed, we were playing our hometown Fort Collins, Colo., as well as the Phoenix area regularly. We then found opportunities to play in neighboring cities such as Denver and Colorado Springs; a lasting impression there didn’t come until we met Pete Turner and Virgil Dickerson. In addition to owning and operating Illegal Pete's, they also operate Greater Than Collective, which Denver artists Ian Cooke and Esmé Patterson call home. Pete and Virgil really believed in us a band and provided multiple opportunities for us to gain exposure. We believe that the work they did in Denver helped us gain some attention outside of the northern Colorado corridor.
So outside support has been a major contributor to your expansion that has lead to major festival appearances like Snowmass Mammoth Festival and tours outside the state?
In every region there are individuals – for lack of a better term, we call them tastemakers. People trust the musical tastes of these individuals, and they really help propel artists. In the Denver area we know that these people have gone to bat for us: Pete Turner, Virgil Dickerson, Eryc Eyl, Ricardo Baca, Ben Desoto, Eric Pirritt. Out there on the Western Slope it is Steve Gumble, Brian Lipsitz and yourself that have assisted us on opportunities like Mammoth Fest and Third Eye Blind at the Belly Up. Currently I would say that Seattle, Chicago, and Atlanta are our fastest growing markets, which have all been thanks in part to festivals we have played in those areas like Doe Bay, Taste of Randolph, Shaky Knees and The Hangout.
With all this traveling, there has got to be a solid tour story, or a band you played with that you connected with on or off the stage?
During our three-week October tour, we had the opportunity to support a longtime favorite band, Dr. Dog in Atlanta. We had played a festival with them earlier in May, and you can say that our drummer Tyler connected with the bass player, Toby Leaman. Tyler threw a squashed banana at Stelth Ulvang of The Lumineers – missed Stelth, but hit Toby in the face [laughs].
Let’s talk about upcoming shows. This will be your first trek to Telluride to perform. Coming from the Front Range and abroad recently, what are some expectation and anticipations you have about contributing to the music legacy this town embodies?
When going somewhere new, we try not to stigmatize a city, so that we can have a fresh experience when we come to play there. We hear good things about Telluride as a music community, and Telluride Blues & Brews festival is a concrete example of that. It is pretty hard to go wrong with ski towns, and historic ones at that.
I know you were doing studio work/mixing in Memphis. What are the new tunes and project sounding like? Any other details you can give on the evolution of the band as you have road tested previous material and now look forward?
We spent two days with Jeff Powell and his assistant Lucas recording at Ardent Studios. We tracked two songs to get a feel for working with Jeff as an engineer and producer. We can absolutely say that these are the two best sounding songs we have ever recorded. We think the only change in the sound is that Powell created a space for the songs to breathe.
What was it that clicked about working with a Grammy Award-winner like Jeff Powell?
Jeff is the best storyteller we have come across, not to mention a great engineer and producer. Jeff and Lucas have a way of cutting through any tension or anxiety and pulling a great track out of us as artists.
We are stoked to have you here tomorrow. Anything the unsuspecting patron should know about You Me & Apollo and your music, heading into Friday's show?
It is going to get loud, it is going to get quiet; you may not know many of our songs, so we will throw in a couple of songs that you do know. We want you to have fun, so do what you feel. Please, please come meet us after the show.