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Talking With: Heath Farmer of Island Apollo

By Devin Strecker

September 18, 2015

Only in Hollywood is excited to have So-Cal band Island Apollo performing as part of our #OIH2015 Only in Hollywood Music + Arts Festival. We recently caught this band in action at The Study and wanted to chat with them in advance of their appearance at the festival. Guitarist Heath Farmer was kind enough to answer our questions.

Island Apollo (courtesy photo)

Island Apollo (courtesy photo)

Only in Hollywood: How did Island Apollo come together as a band?

Heath Farmer: We’ve known each other our whole lives – Addam, Austin, and I are brothers, I’ve known Ryan since we were in preschool, and I’ve known Matt since I was in middle school. We were all interested in music growing up, and would always make music together growing up, but we never realized it was something special until we got older. We always assumed it was just normal for friends to be creative, jam, and learn instruments together. My senior year of high school, the five of us started identifying ourselves as a band, but it wasn’t until last year when I turned 24, that we started identifying ourselves as Island Apollo.

OIH: How would you describe your music and your live shows?

HF: “California beach cities at night” – five words which sum up what we visualize during the writing process. There’s so much we can do within this framework, and we feel like the music naturally flows out of us this way. The live shows are multifaceted. We want the experience to playback like a movie within everyone’s memory, and so we do this in the way we know best by sequencing the music to feel cinematic. The songs are sequenced so we can introduce different personalities of music and performance at the right time. For instance, “Pure Love”, an upbeat song with a chanty feel, comes after “Avenues”, a darker song with a dancy feel – it’s hard to explain why it feels right with those songs following each other, but it does, and that’s how the whole show works. At the same time, we want the live show to feel human, so we always take time to connect with the audience on an intimate level.

Island Apollo performing at House of Blues (courtesy photo)

Island Apollo performing at House of Blues (courtesy photo)

OIH: What do you like best about playing in Hollywood?

HF: We can always count on meeting some memorable characters in Hollywood. The thing I have personally noticed about Hollywood, and all of Southern California for that matter, is everyone has seen it all – success, failure, failure after success, and success after failure. The people of Hollywood are utterly unimpressed by fame, money, and status. If your art is great, or isn’t great, then it doesn’t matter to them who you are. All which matters is who you ought to be. That’s what I love about playing in Hollywood.

OIH: Where would you want the Island Apollo star on the Walk of Fame to be located?

HF: Probably next to the Capitol Tower. One of our first experiences in Hollywood was recording at Capitol Studios when we were younger, before Island Apollo, and a lot of our influences have spent many days there, so it would be pretty sweet to bookend the Hollywood experience by having a star next to the Capitol Tower. Maybe one day when we’re old and grey, who knows.

OIH: This being Hollywood, what are some of your favorite movies to watch as a band?

HF: I think we’re all pretty excited about the new Star Wars movie. We’ve always felt a certain magic with Star Wars, amongst other movies and artforms, and we always try to channel this sense of magic into our music.

Island Apollo performs at the Library Bar @ The Redbury on Thursday, November 5, 8:00 p.m. as part of the Only in Hollywood Music + Arts Festival.

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