Like most bands, Apollo Cruz has worked its way up the ladder. Starting with jam sessions to headlining with David Wilcox and MonkeyJunk — Apollo Cruz has found a name for itself and the band is now set to release their first music video, “The Man I Want To Be,” along with a live show on Sept. 2 at Buds on Broadway.
Apollo Cruz is self-described as a high-octane blues power trio that incorporates a little rock into their blues. The band consists of lead vocalist/guitarist Nick Longpre, drummer/backing vocalist Aiden Currie and Brandon Ziola on bass, keyboard and backing vocals. Both Ziola and Currie have attended the University of Saskatchewan — Ziola graduated from Edwards School of Business in 2014 and Currie is currently in his second year in the College of Arts and Science.
Playing at Buds on Broadway holds a special place with the band, as it is where the members all first met each other.
“I first jammed with Nick at Buds about six years ago, with two other musician friends of mine. Six months later, Nick and I were without a bassist for a Saturday afternoon jam and Brandon was our savior. The rest is history,” Currie said.
When Apollo Cruz first started playing together as a band, much of their influence came from Texas blues artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and ZZ Top. However, over the past four years the band has been pulling inspiration from elsewhere.
“We’ve really looked to the great tradition of Canadian blues acts for inspiration, from legends like David Wilcox and Big Dave McLean, all the way to new Canadian blues artists like the Harpoonist & Axe Murderer and Jesse Roper,” said Ziola.
After playing afternoon jams and smaller shows for a while, Apollo Cruz played their first headlining show at Buds in 2012, and since then has worked their way up to playing the coveted Friday night time slot.
“To make it to the weekend at Buds, you have to prove to the bar that you have what it takes. There is a small group of bands that play on a Friday or Saturday, and getting there takes a combination of putting on a great show for patrons and bringing in big crowds,” said Ziola.
Ever since the band first got together, they have wanted to shoot a music video but a couple things always stood in their way.
“The timing never seemed to work out. We also had yet to meet someone whose vision and style matched how we wanted to present ourselves. That all changed when we met Ryley [Konechny] from RAKK Productions,” said Ziola.
Konechny approached the band with a plan and storyboard, impressing them with his past work, his unique and novel location ideas for shooting and his professionalism.
“The final product will be more than well worth the time and effort,” said Currie.
There are some common perceptions about blues music, many of which are negative but Apollo Cruz hopes that those who attend their concert leave these preconceptions behind and come out to enjoy their unique take on the blues and just have some fun.
“Whether they think it’s ‘old’ or ‘boring,’ we are going to change that. We’re going to put on a high-energy show that brings them in and gets them dancing,” said Ziola.
Friday, Sept. 2 at Buds is to be a night of celebration, filled with excitement, good music, food and drinks.
“We are so excited to release this video to the public, and celebrate the achievement of making it to the weekend. As for U of S students, I think they can expect to hear songs and see a show like nothing they’ve ever seen before,” said Ziola.
Bridget Morrison / Culture Editor
Photo: Andrea Evans / Supplied