Every now and again, a new indie artist will come along that deserves exponentially more recognition and exposure than they currently receive. Today, that artist is Florida indie rockers, American Photo Club. A collective comprised of half of the former South Florida alternative/pop punk band, Rumor Has It, APC is spearheaded by vocalist/lead guitarist Ryan Huseman and vocalist/keyboardist/programmer Kyle Breese. Their five-song, self-titled EP was released last fall and the only criticism one can truly make of it is that it doesn’t contain enough music to leave you without wanting more. The truly incredible element about American Photo Club’s debut is that it was essentially composed and recorded by the band in a small, makeshift home studio. From their BandCamp, “This album was written, performed, and recorded entirely by Kyle Breese and Ryan Huseman of American Photo Club. Mixed by Kyle Breese and Mastered by Stephen Marro.”
American Photo Club contains some of the most unique, melodic compositions that a D.I.Y. indie artist can ultimately create. Their EP evokes remembrances of Band of Horses and Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys, to name a few. The lyrics are surprisingly complex, introspective and heartfelt for two young musicians essentially producing tracks in a bedroom. On “How Could That Be”, a track littered with refreshing melodies and complex harmonies, vocalist Ryan Huseman sings, “Lately, I’ve/been counting the steps it would take to take me to you/Thirty-five/thousand, but that’s only counting if you’re walking, too.” Huseman reminisces on in the chorus, lamenting, “Even though I’m not sorry/I’d like to think that you’ve forgiven me/but I try not to worry/’cause the end of the story is often the hardest to read/Oh, how could that be?”
An example of American Photo Club’s mature musicality could be drawn from any one of the five tracks on the EP, but to get a little more in-tune with the thought process behind the music, I sat down with Ryan to get his take on this unique indie creation.
What is APC currently up to? Any album/touring plans for the future? RH: Currently Kyle and I are both working on different projects at the moment, so there aren’t any album or touring plans anywhere in the future. After all the time and effort spent on building the project, writing, recording, and releasing the EP all on our own (over 2 years total) it was definitely time to let the the music just be there for a while for everyone to hear.
I know you drew a lot of influences from Pet Sounds and Band of Horses. What were some of the other albums/artists that influenced your self-titled EP? RH: Yes, very much so! We’re inspired by so much of The Beach Boys’ music, and notably Pet Sounds, in particular, as well as by pretty much anything by Band of Horses. Other big influences on our sound for the record were bands like Local Natives, The Shins, and Bon Iver. This record, and really this whole project, is based upon writing exactly what Kyle and I wanted to write, so naturally we took inspiration from our favorite artists.
Building upon that last question…what genre(s) would you primarily classify APC as? RH: If I had to put a label on it, I’d probably classify American Photo Club as Experimental Pop Indie Rock, but, then again, I’m not much of a fan of labels. To Kyle and I, it’s the closest we could get to the sound that we look for in music, which is simplicity, pop sensibility and, most importantly, originality.
Do you write and compose the songs yourself, or is it a dual effort between yourself and Kyle? RH: Everything about the band has always been an equal split between Kyle and I. Now to get a little more specific, you could say that I may write a little more of the music, and Kyle may write a little more of the vocals, but sometimes its the exact opposite, so it really is an equal mix on the whole.
How do live performances work, with APC being comprised of only two members? RH: Live performances where always kind of up in the air when we started the band, since we knew that it was going to be a two-person project from the beginning. We’ve done shows just the two of us, with keyboards and guitars and some looping stuff, as well as some more stripped down two-person acoustic stuff. More recently, we asked two of our very talented friends, Mike and Robby, to play with us on drums and bass, respectively, and to help us fill out some of those three and four part harmonies that were written on the record, yet missing live.
Who/what would you say is your biggest musical influence? RH: For the band, I would say that our biggest influences would have to be each other, one of us seeing what the other brought to the table and being so inspired by it that they bring something even better the next day. For myself I would say that my biggest musical influence would be my Grandmother, she’s one of the only other musically inclined people in my entire family and was a big influence on me growing up.
“How Could That Be” is just an all-around incredible song. Was it written about a specific person or more of just a concept? RH: Thank you so much for the kind words about the song! “How Could That Be” is an example of me being influenced by Kyle’s writing. Kyle had written a song called “Mandy” that was like a 50’s cheesy pop love song, and I was so taken with the feel of it that I wanted to do something with a “Blue Moon” or like a Ritchie Valens’ “Donna” vibe, but with kind of some sad sardonic lyrics to accompany a pretty melody, and what I came up with was “How Could That Be”. You could say that the ideas in the lyrics are more of a concept, but I did write it with a particular person in mind.
Do you have any new music recorded that you would care to share? RH: I hate to deny you new music, but we don’t have anything new at this time! Like I said, Kyle and I are both working on separate projects at the moment, and I’m sure when either or both of us are ready to share, we’ll connect it with the American Photo Club page; until then, the EP will just have to do.