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A few minutes with Mike Harris of The Apache Relay

With the release of their self-titled sophomore album in just a couple weeks, Belmont’s finest, The Apache Relay has already made an impact across the U.S.

From “Can’t Wake Up,” off the album “American Nomad,” clocking in at over 450,000 plays on Spotify to performing at the Shaky Knees festival this May, the band has capitalized on the love of their fans.

On April 22, The Apache Relay will release their second record, but before that, the group is giving a little taste to their hometown of Nashville.  The band will be performing at the Spring Block Party showcased by Marathon Music Works on Saturday, April 12. The block party will also feature powerhouse Nashvillians such as Belmont’s Sol Cat, and Roots of a Rebellion.

A&E reporter Nick Yacovazzi recently interviewed guitarist Mike Harris about his thoughts on the band and the new record.

— Belmont Vision: What has been the inspiration for the album and what makes it different from the previous one?

Mike Harris: Some artists that have definitely been an inspiration towards our newest record’s sound are Jessie Baylin and Shelby Lynne. We also had an incredible time playing the Newport Music Festival, where we got to see some incredible folk bands perform. They definitely had an impact on us.

For this record, were going towards a much different sound. It’s much more of a throwback record with a ‘60s pop feel.BV: What has been the best experience creating this new album?

MH: We had the opportunity to collaborate with a guy named Jonathan Rice. He really helped with working on this album and it was great creating music with him.BV: With the recording of this second album, have any of your views about the music industry, or being a band changed?

MH: One of the biggest things is we have matured a lot in the past three years since “American Nomad” was released. We’ve become more comfortable in our sound. On top of all of this though, we’ve become better studio musicians. We played a bit in the studio during our time at Belmont, but we really honed our craft playing for The Apache Relay.BV: What has been the driving force behind this record? What has helped the band the most as an inspiration or reason for putting out your self-titled album? 

MH: Well I would have to say one of the biggest driving forces was coming away from “American Nomad” and being stoked about coming away from the experience. Then we started to listen to it more and more, and looked at what we would have done differently or what parts needed improvement, and you want to go back in fix it, you know? Putting ourselves out there to the best of our ability and being all you can be for your audience is always our major driving force.BV: My last question for you, Mike, is what advice would you give to Belmont students who are starting bands, or who are already in music projects? 

MH: Drop out. I’m serious, drop out and make it your whole entire life. If you already have a backup plan, you are already planning to fail. If you are going to Belmont, and you think you have a good band, drop out and do it full time because school is going to do nothing for you. It’s absolutely what I believe. For the most part, school was nothing but a waste of my time, energy and money. I’m not saying it can’t do something for you if you want to be an engineer or a teacher, but it doesn’t even compare to being out there and experiencing everything firsthand.

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