Smile Politely

Look out for The Apache Relay

The Apache Relay, a four piece roots band out of Nashville, will be making a stop in Champaign at the Highdive this weekend, and they are ready to go. They’re here to share their new material with folks, and, obviously, share their previously recorded material. The band is charged up with enthusiasm and ready to go as they make their way through C-U on Sunday evening. From the words out of the guitarists Mike Harris’ mouth, “We’re ready to have fun, man. We’re ready to go.”

I was able to discuss the upcoming show with Harris prior to coming into town, and here’s what he had to say.

Smile Politely: How did the band form? I know that you and Michael Ford met in college, correct?

Harris: Yes we did. We didn’t know each other prior to college in Nashville, but we were actually neighbors in our dorm building. We met and it kind of took off from there. He had his drums set up, I had my guitar, and it carried from there. All’s we were trying to do was have a good time, [and] we had a good time. Earlier on in school, we both were just doing our own thing. It wasn’t until a few years later when we came back together. Michael, Kellen Wenrich (fiddle), and Brett Moore (keys, guitar) all met up and then we all came together. It was cool.

SP: How was the name The Apache Relay created? Who came up with it?

Harris: [Laughs] You’re not the first person to ask us that question; we get that one all the time. It’s actually a reference to a Disney move Heavy Weights. (Heavy Weights was a 1995 movie where plump kids were lured into joining a posh fat camp). 

Towards the end of the movie, the kids had a relay race for the fat camp MVP, and the name of the relay was “Apache Relay,” we thought that movie was hilarious and that’s how we got the idea for the name.

SP: Tell me a little about your new self-titled album that you all have been working on.

Harris: We are excited for the release date. We were excited to put together new tunes and get them out to the fans.
SP: Your first single, “Katie Queen of Tennessee,” (definitely my favorite on the new album, and one that recently premiered on Rolling Stone) what is the background behind that song?

Harris: I love that tune, was fun to work on and put together. We worked with Jonathon Rice on that one. It was a tune that just kind of came together one day in the studio.

SP: What are your favorite audiences?

Harris: Oh nice, I love the fun audiences. I definitely like an attentive audience that is on their feet. There’s nothing worse than people sitting at tables, with a plate of food in front of them and eating dinner. It’s happened before, but not very often. 

SP: Any comments you want to make to the fans here in Champaign Urbana before your performance this weekend?

Harris: That keyboard player sure knows how to party! [laughs]

Tell the fans we’re excited to not only play new material but we work a lot of the old material. We will basically be playing a lot of the new tunes that many fans on the road haven’t heard before so it will be a new set for them. It’s been helpful for us and has helped to rejuvenate and bring us enthusiasm. We’ve been trying to change it up a little bit and are just trying to have fun. That’s what it’s all about.

Apache Relay will be performing at the Highdive this Sunday, February 23rd at 8 pm. Tickets are $10, and they’ll be performing with The Lonely Wild and Promised Land Sound, starting at 8 p.m.

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