Gothic Americana Music

Interviews

Heathen Apostles Interview in Germany’s Ox Magazine

During the build up to their 2018 European Tour, the Heathen Apostles were interviewed by Karin Hoog of the popular German music magazine Ox Magazine. Below is a scan of the Heathen Apostles interview in German, to read the English translation scroll below it.

Heathen Apostles Interview

 

They have a gloomy version of the Gershwin classic “Summertime” and a even more gloomy of the ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN song “Killing Moon” recorded. Their singer Mather Louth has duets with the Helsinki vampire Jyrki 69, and with the title of their two “Bloodgrass” EPs, the HEATHEN APOSTLES from Los Angeles has invented a new genre, a kind of Dark AIternative-Country / Americana Gothic / Doom bluegrass sound. A drawer in which also fits bands like WOVENHAND, 16 HORSEPOWER and GUN CLUB. The songs are miniature dramas of blood, passion and horror. That guitarist Chopper Franklin played earlier in MAU MAUS and THE CRAMPS, makes it all more exciting. In autumn, HEATHEN APOSTLES are on a European tour, nine dates in Germany have already decided, including one at the Wacken Open Air.

When did you start playing together as a band?

Chopper Franklin – We formed in 2013 and recorded our “Boot Hill Hymnal” album and shot the “The Reckoning” music video before we played our first show. We thought that our brand of Gothic Americana might be a little crazy for some people to wrap their mind around, so it was good to have those out when we first started gigging.

Mather Louth – It’s been a wonderful 5 years growing together musically and personally.

Where did you get the name Heathen Apostles from?
Chopper – A demented mind. I always thought of as a great title for a spaghetti western. Then when this project came about, the name was perfect for it.

Can you please tell me more about the members and their background?
Chopper: I come from the punk rock days of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in Los Angeles. I lived with, and roadied for, Black Flag in 1979 when I was 15. I soon moved to Hollywood and joined the Mau Maus, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Mather: I’ve got a long musical history in the jazz and blues scene as a singer, and it’s certainly shaped my phrasing and vocal style to a degree. I formed the experimental Radio Noir about a decade ago, and once that ran its course, Chopper and I crossed paths, and here we are 5 years later!

Nothing works without YouTube today, you are there too.
Chopper: We are always shooting videos for our different songs and releases. A lot of our songs have a bit of a cinematic feel to them, it’s great to release videos to go along with them. We usually write and direct them ourselves, but we do work with others too. We are currently collaborating with filmmaker Jorge Jaramillo on our next video for “Deadly Nightshade” (off of the upcoming Bloodgrass Vol. II EP).

What have been the band’s releases up to now?
Chopper: Boot Hill Hymnal (2013), Without A Trace (2014), Fire to the Fuse (2015), Requiem for a Remix (2016), Bloodgrass Vol. I (2017) as well as several singles and other EPs. We will be releasing “Bloodgrass Vol. II” digitally this Spring, as well as an album combining both Bloodgrass Vol. I and Vol. II EP’s for our European tour in August.

From the Mau Maus and Thomas’ Kings of Nuthin’ to the Heathen Apostles, it’s a long way to go musically: how have people reacted to you?
Mather: It’s mostly been a positive response to our music, particularly when we are performing live. Oftentimes there are people who aren’t at the shows to watch us specifically, but end up becoming fans and introducing themselves- that connection always feels deeply gratifying.

Every child needs a name: how do you describe your music?
Mather: We’ve used several terms over the years: Gothic Americana, Gothic Western, dark country, and so on. More recently, we’ve been classifying what we do as “bloodgrass” (with our latest EP titles cementing that association.)

Chopper: We’re influenced by bluegrass, country, blues and gypsy jazz, as well as gothic and heavy rock n roll.

You regularly release covers: Are you thereby paying tribute to bands/artists you like?
Mather: Absolutely- we always have a “wishlist” of artists and songs that have inspired us over the years, and that list tends to grow over time. Sometimes, an artist moves to the front of our list for one reason or another- in the case of Merle Haggard, we felt compelled to release an EP after his passing in honor of his incredible career.

Chopper: We also love to take songs that weren’t meant for our genre and bending them to our will, haha.

Can you please tell me more about the songs you covered on “Bloodgrass Vol.1” Why did you choose them?
Chopper: “Summertime” is a Gershwin classic that Mather has covered for quite a while with jazz bands she’s performed with, and “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” is a dark ballad about workers dying in the coal mines of Kentucky. It’s a song I’ve always wanted to cover but never had the right band to do it until now. We take a lot of care in choosing and recording the songs we cover. “Bloodgrass Vol. II” has the old bluegrass standard “Shady Grove” on it, as well as Hank Williams’ “Ramblin’ Man”.

Mather: “Ramblin’ Man” is another tune I’ve been singing for what seems like forever. Initially, I had introduced it into the Radio Noir setlist (along with a very dark cover of Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight”), but I feel it has truly found its home with the Heathens.

Are there any bands that influenced you?
Chopper: For me 16 Horsepower, Gun Club, Bauhaus, Bill Monroe.

Mather: I’ve always been influenced as a vocalist by a lot of male performers- some of my favorites being Nick Cave, Mark Lanegan, and the legendary Howlin’ Wolf. However, I’m equally in awe of Siouxsie Sioux, PJ Harvey, and Shirley Manson (my earliest icon.)

Where do you draw the inspiration for your lyrics from?
Mather: It’s never really from one consistent source. Lyrics float to me when I’m in a sort of stream-of-consciousness creative mode, or sometimes when I wake from a dream. I’m an admitted logophile and appreciate how certain words reverberate when sung, so that plays a hand in my lyric writing. Sometimes, a concept for a specific character will come to me, and then I work to tell their tale lyrically.

Do you have other artistic talents apart from music?
Mather: Those that know me know that it’s no secret I’ve got an immense passion for couture and costume design. I’ve been rather fortunate over the past 6-odd years to hone my craft as a seamstress with the help of my dear friend Cheri Wilson Chagollan (of Wonderland Corsets.) Nowadays, most of my sewing projects are directly tied into the Heathen Apostles music videos and photo shoots. But on occasion, I can eke out time for personal couture projects (and have also tackled a select amount of commissioned projects for private clients.)

How important is your styling/your appearance to you? Is it part of your artistic concept?
Mather: Absolutely- it’s always been a central force in our band since its formation. When Chopper and I first began collaborating, he expressed that he’d like me to take the reins for crafting our visual aesthetic (which was wonderful, being that I had a strong stylistic vision in my mind from the get-go!)

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you while being on stage?
Chopper: I’ve had it all happen it seems; knife pulled on me by a bouncer, cops beating up the crowd at a street festival, getting electrocuted, etc., but being onstage with Lux Interior of The Cramps was wild every night.

Mather: I don’t know if it’s the strangest occurrence per se, but I have had audience members (usually the drunken sort) audibly comment on my “backwards” style of playing guitar. One actually came up to me and tried talking to me about in…in the middle of a set.

Which gig you’ll never forget?
Mather: I’d say hands-down, Bakersfield was an amazing gig for the band. We had been approached by Heresy (the one and only goth club in Bakersfield, which as a city is far more known for being a country music mecca and home to Merle Haggard and Buck Owens.) The promoter was so lovely and accommodating to us, and the fans were absolutely unreal- just imagine a large pack of goth kids who are equally as passionate about Siouxsie Sioux as they are about Merle and Buck! Sadly, Heresy is now defunct, but we were so honored to be a part of that amazing scene while it was still around.

How did your European tour come about?
Chopper: We were put in touch with Kurt De Bont of Rootstown Bookings in Belgium and he started putting together the shows and festivals. I’ve toured Europe several times with other bands, so we were looking at the right time to bring over the Heathen Apostles, and this was it!


Heathen Apostles Feature in Symbols Magazine

A brand new feature of the Heathen Apostles is in the latest issue of Symbols Magazine, in it Mather Louth and Chopper Franklin discuss their unique sound, the meaning of Gothic Roots music and why they decided to release an album of remixes. You can read all about it HERE.

Symbols Magazine photo


Mather Louth Appears on TradioV’s The Po Show

Mather Louth appeared on the TradioV’s Po Show (hosted by Polina Hryn) along with other guests Jessamyn Rose and Holly West. She was interviewed about the Heathen Apostles 2016 plans, along with questions relating to her costume designing and modeling. Click HERE to watch the episode (Mather’s interview comes in the second half if you need to skip through).

Mather Louth on TradioV 2Mather Louth on TradioV


Heathen Apostles Dark Beauty Magazine Interview

2016 brings a new feature in the very popular Dark Beauty Magazine. It was written by Meikee Magnetic and covers the many influences, both musical and visual, of the Heathen Apostles. Click HERE to read the article in full.

HEATHENAPOSTLES Dark Beauty cover

Dark Beauty Magazine feature photo by Dina Douglass


Heathen Apostles Appearance on KXLU Streaming Now

In case you missed the Ash Wednesday appearance of the Heathen Apostles on 88.9 KXLU you can now listen to it in it’s entirety. They play a short set then talk to hosts Robert Douglas and Hilary Russel about the formation of the band, their first album Boot Hill Hymnal and the recording of the new Without A Trace EP. Click HERE to listen, it will begin playing automatically.

Mather on KXLU


Heathen Apostles Appear on KCAA Radio

The audio from the Heathen Apostles’ January 5th 2014 appearance on KCAA is now available by clicking on the link below. Mather, Chopper, Thomas and Viktor were interviewed for about a half hour by The Boss Lady and Crispy Taco on the Classic Glamour Dolls Radio show and played songs from the Boot Hill Hymnal cd.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

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KCAA radio


Mather and Chopper Interviewed By deVour Magazine

Mather and Chopper Mather and Chopper were interviewed recently by deVour Magazine, here’s a few questions from it.

deVour Magazine: Describe your sound and influences to someone who has never heard the band before.

Mather Louth: We were recently described as “outlaw goth”, and I think that’s a rather memorable and visual description of the Heathen Apostles world. Certainly we have a country and roots element to our music, but there’s a definite Southern Gothic cloud over that landscape.

As for influences, my own run the gamut with regards to music (everything from crackling antique recordings of roots music to modern day shoegaze), though I am perpetually drawn to artists that are unafraid to offer a window into the inner workings of their hearts and guts- Mark Lanegan, Nick Cave, and PJ Harvey all come to mind as stellar examples of this time and time again. I am also a self-professed book worm and am fascinated with the art of writing, so I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of translating my own written words into song.

dM: I’d love for you to speak on your new album and it’s creation, obstacles and favorite tracks (if you have any).

Chopper Franklin: For our debut album (Boot Hill Hymnal), we knew we wanted a wide variety of sounds and influences, so the songwriting process mainly consisted of me tracking songs in as many different styles as I could and getting them over to Mather for lyrics. She did a great job of going with it on every occasion- the lyrics are fantastic, and the six songs we co-wrote on the record are the first six songs we wrote together (there are no outtakes or unfinished songs.) We each had two existing songs that fit right in with the album, so that was great, too. My two favorites on the record right now are “The Reckoning” and “Lonesome Whistle”, because they both show extremely different sides of the Heathen Apostles.

dM: I’d love for you to speak on your new album and it’s creation, obstacles and favorite tracks (if you have any).

Chopper: For Boot Hill Hymnal we knew we wanted a wide variety of sounds and influences so the songwriting process mainly consisted of me tracking songs in as many different styles as I could and getting them over to Mather for lyrics. She did a great job of going with it on every occasion, the lyrics are fantastic, and the six songs we co-wrote on the record are the first six songs we wrote together, there are no outtakes or unfinished songs. We each had two existing songs that fit right in with the album so that was great too. My two favorites on the record right now are The Reckoning and Lonesome Whistle, they both show extremely different sides of the Heathen Apostles.

dM: What is the driving force behind the style of music you play/write?

Chopper: As far as playing, we wanted to take these great traditional instruments – banjo, mandolin, violin, organ – and come up with a different style of music than those instruments have been used for in the past. Then as far as songwriting goes sometimes the driving force is just raw emotion, usually very dark, but that doesn’t always mean it ends up being a dark song.

dM: Do you see yourselves as “label” artists or do you aspire to go the independent route?

Chopper: Well, right now we are putting out our releases on my record label (Ratchet Blade Records, we have a Heathen Apostles EP scheduled to come out by Valentine’s Day 2014), but in the future we’ll take whatever path necessary to sustain what we’re doing at whatever level we happen to be at. We’ll always want to have complete control over the sound of our music, that’s something to consider too, so if there was the right deal we’d take it. And I wouldn’t mind going back to signing the other side of the check for a while!

(You can check out the Heathen Apostles debut album Boot Hill Hymnal HERE.