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Instinct: another way of saying primal urge. From the pangs of hunger and need for entertainment to procreation and warfare, humanity has forever been incited by innate needs. Be it the lust to create or to destroy, we cannot control that which compels us.
Thankfully, in this case it's the former that’s epitomized in Toronto-bred alternative rockers A Primitive Evolution (A.P.E.). An authoritative trio spawned from the demise of celebrated outfits Lye and Aphasia, this five year-old collective revels in its ability to destroy barriers by conceiving inimitable, impacting and provocative music. From their independent, eponymous 2009 debut album through to their latest release "The Prize" (Playdead Cult Records), A Primitive Evolution has blossomed into a matchless force.
“Creation is evolution” waxes Carruthers ponderously. “That’s what I figure we're trying to say with A Primitive Evolution. As evolved as we think we are as humans or animals, we are very much in the beginning of the evolution of mankind. We have so much to learn and yet so much has changed in the last hundred years. We have a long way to go as a species. We want our band to reflect that too, going off of what we feel, doing it out of instinct and evolving naturally; having some fun existing on this planet.”
With featured inclusion in films such as Chastity Bites and Suck through seeing track “Death on Wheels” utilized on television staple Degrassi: The Next Generation, play on the 2011 Dodge Viper Cup and animated series Stoked, countless tours, showcases for prestigious festivals such as Indie Week and Canadian Music Week and praise from industry stalwarts Alan Cross and George Strombolopolous quickly proving not only A Primitive Evolution's calibre but also their vast appeal, one may say that “fun” is virtually inevitable with A.P.E.
It's a proliferation they will assuredly expedite thanks to the likes of The Prize. Recorded at Mushroom Studios with Producer John Wozniak (Marcy Playground), The Prize is both a fresh offering as well as a re-imagining of previously-revered tracks culled from their esteemed debut. Pulling together a complex array of influences including Jane's Addiction, Stone Roses, Tool, Outkast, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Faith No More, Vivaldi, Motorhead and more, A.P.E.'s rhythm-based, organic attack blurs the lines of rock, electronica and all aspects between.
“It's bulldozing electronic music without the keyboards,” Dead offers. “We use real instruments instead. It creates this heavy, industrial aspect. In this band, we push each other to step out of comfort zones. It's in my nature to always be uncomfortable. That's when you can really create.”
Realized in The Prize and it's acoustic drive, A Primitive Evolution's uncompromising mission to continually challenge itself has resulted in revisiting and drastically altering previous accomplishments and unspent concepts. Revitalizing previously-heavy songs into full-blown acoustic arrangements complete with strings, The Prize is a very different aspect to a well-respected act.
“This is a gateway record,” notes Dead. “There are three brand new songs as well as reinvented acoustic versions of songs from the debut. We were originally intending to pull off some songs quickly, over a couple of weeks. Then we were going to go right back in and make a heavy record. We wanted to take a different swing at songs from the first record.”
“Once Wozniak got involved though, he became obsessed with making it the best he could,” adds Carruthers. “It went from being a two-week project to three months of experimenting, string layers and re-imagining songs from the first album.”
“The end result was that we were encouraged to explore,” Seki beams. “That's why The Prize came out really pretty; better than we were hoping. We strive to avoid repetition; to be very raw, real and organic. We don't follow trends because we don't work well in that environment. Even if people recognize the songs, The Prize is something unto itself.”
At that, from first single “I Feel It All” through the title track, “Lord Of Reason” and contemporary takes on A.P.E.'s established work, each piece of The Prize has evolved from simple unplugged sessions into its own subtle yet impacting lushness.
“We feared our first album was a wall of sound; one note,” Seki reveals. “With The Prize, we think these songs nicely blend the feel of our first album with our more dynamic side. There were a lot of ideas we had never worked on in a heavy sense. They were great but they wouldn't fit into our set or sound. After exploring this acoustic side, now the ideas work.”
Reverential, intoxicating, diverse and beguiling, The Prize is just another of the well-honed faces A.P.E. intends to offer. Moreover, they aspire to see it summon listeners to their own inventive highs; spur on innate instinct and primitive evolution.
“We want to inspire others to be creative,” Carruthers asserts.
“It's the epitome of pure enjoyment of music,” Seki adds. “Spreading that virus is why we started. It's why we bolster our shows with visual aesthetics and video production. It's a branding of sorts. It creates an entire universe within a band.”
“Get 'em hot and bothered,” Dead concludes. “They should be excited about music; surprised. As a musician, that's the greatest reward. We always bring something new, be it this recording or our live show. We challenge our audience to come with us on our journey. That's why we went from a super hard record to a crazy acoustic soundtrack record. Some bands put out the same shit over and over. We don't want to stagnate and becoming boring. We'd never do that to our audience.”