AEP: Tension and Release
By Nikki Sue Alston | 3/11/2015
Pronounced 'Ape', Like The Primate
I first met the AEP (pronounced Ape--like the primate) at a MAS (Music Arts Showcase) Mixer - hosted by none other than Braylin Jenkins - that promotes collaboration between local musicians across all genres. I had heard of them before, but had yet to see them perform, or heard their music. I was invited to their performance at Center Stage and to their rehearsal space. What started off as just a group of friends playing music together, ended up morphing into the band AEP. The band, Hayden Bogard (Lead Vocal/Guitar), Jacob Cox (Guitar), Ty Soileau (Bass), and Chris Duhon (Drums) collaborate, write and perform all original songs; priding themselves on not accepting the standard. All four guys come from music backgrounds and are music majors at McNeese State University. The Department Head created a special ensemble class for them, allowing them to receive college credit for their time spent practicing and their shows. Hayden and Ty had no formal music training until coming to McNeese, and although AEP has just started playing shows as a band, there hasn’t been a weekend free from performing.
Make Yourself Uncomfortable
AEP’s creative process is both organic and unique, their motto: ‘make yourself uncomfortable’. “It’s ok to be uncomfortable. The process of creating a good song is a sort of tension and release, in the music and lyrics. So it’s ok to be uncomfortable, it’s ok to not know if you like something, it’s ok to question things and to stand out. It’s ok to be uncomfortable and take some risk,” Hayden says.
“I try so hard not to think about what I want someone else to hear. I want the audience to connect with the songs in whatever way they need to or want to. At times we will work things into our music that we want to show them or make them aware of, maybe make them uncomfortable and open their eyes to something new, but we try to remember through every song we play, that ‘it’s not for us’. It may be our outlet but it’s for them,” Ty explains. “We love that concept. Once you put that out there, it’s for the people” Hayden chimes in (classic Hayden).
Writing Good Songs Is Hard...
The guys all have different musical inspirations, which shows in the unique way they compose their music. One of their songs, Falling Man, has very few lyrics which occur at the very beginning of the song, the rest is instrumental in telling the rest of its story. “It’s weird but I know once we get Falling Man recorded to where people can sit and just listen to it, I know there’s going to be pictures painted in their head through the music. We take a lot of time to sit and figure out the how we want something to play out.”-Ty
While I was there, Jacob told me it’s easy for anyone to write a song, but it’s hard to write a good song. The guys may have a lot of ideas but for them, it’s about doing something organic and different. AEP’s songs aren’t the generic tracks you can listen to on any top 40’s or alternative radio station. They leave a large part of their music to be interpreted by the listener.
Katy Perry Halftime Show, Minus Katy Perry...
Although AEP started playing gigs together in January 2015, their favorite part of performing has been having the opportunity to connect with the audience. “I like when people come up to us after a gig to show their appreciation, but it really resonates when they say something later. Two people, at separate times, came up to me while we were watching another band perform on a night we weren’t even playing. One said ‘you’re a fantastic bassist. You guys inspired me to start playing’. That is way better than someone coming up right after the show. If it sticks with them, that’s huge!”-Ty
When asked about their long term goals, Chris says he wants to play the Super Bowl with Katy Perry’s dancing sharks on stage with them while the other guys just want to be able to make a decent living by traveling and doing what they love - creating and playing music. Short term, they plan on growing their fan base and playing venues around Louisiana, Texas and beyond. The coolest moment so far for the guys has been hearing themselves on the radio in Lafayette.
They have received some criticism from fellow local artists saying their music needs to be ‘dumbed down’ and that it was, ‘over their heads’, but AEP stands by their music. “You got to give people credit. People are smart. We aren’t above anyone else. Those with the credentials to appreciate music will find something they like and people who just listen to music for enjoyment can identify with it. Our music is accessible. We write music that anybody maybe can play, but they can’t write like we do. I really feel like that’ll get us pretty far because there are so many songs that we’ve written that I can see literally anyone listening to. We’ve got something for everyone.”-Ty
The group doesn’t want to label their music as any specific genre because they are afraid it won’t reach the amount of people it could. AEP wants to turn you on, not turn you off with a label or genre. If you can’t tell by now, these guys aren’t like your average band. The dynamic of their music makes it difficult to explain, so you’ll just have to check them out to see for yourself!
Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AEPofficial
You can watch videos here, if you fancy (don't forget to like and subscribe).
You can also listen to their first single here.
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