Michael Kasparis

Michael Kasparis, aka Apostille, takes on our round of quick-fire questions

Hello Michael, where are you right now and what can you see?

“I’m in an office staring at a signed poster for Dorothy Max Prior’s readings from ‘69 Exhibition Road’. I highly recommend that book.”

It’s always a good day when there’s a new Apostille album – are you pleased with how ‘Prisoners Of Love And Hate’ has turned out?

“I am, yeah. I can pick holes in it, but my attitude is to say, ‘Well, that’s what I could do then’ and to move on. I didn’t listen to it for a few months after getting the masters back, then one of the songs came up on my phone, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is great, what is it!?’. So overall, yeah, mission accomplished.”

It’s a dramatic album title

“Well, I love a bit of drama. During lockdown, I was contacted by a cousin I didn’t know I had. He’d been at a mutual relative’s and found out he had a cousin who worked round the corner from his tattoo parlour. As a way of getting to know each other, I got a tattoo from him. He’d done a drawing in tribute to the Teen Angel fanzine of a Prisoners Of Love tattoo, which is a classic design.”

And that ties in with the album how?

“I liked the title anyway, but I’ve gotten into transcendental meditation, and have been thinking about thoughts and emotions being something that you can observe separate from ‘the self’. That led me to realise all my songs are about being beholden, imprisoned by our desires and their consequences. So it seemed like a great analogy for what the songs on the record are about.”

It’s been a while since your last album, ‘Choose Life’, in 2018. What kept you?

“I chose life! I went through a lot in the four years between ‘Choose Life’ and ‘Prisoners’. I was in a popular band that broke up, personal tumult, the pandemic, you know – life. I actually write songs really quickly and fairly effortlessly, it’s all the other stuff that takes time.”

You also run the Night School label, so what’s the news from there?

“It’s definitely been slower this year, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time, and I’ll never be able to pay my rent with it, so I can’t dedicate as much time as I’d like. Having said that, I have six releases in the pipeline, including a compilation of failed, obscure 80s synthpop, which is going to be a lot of fun for people to comb through.”

Back to the new album. There’s a lot going on – 70s power pop, 80s synthpop, 90s house, 2000s trance… could you not find anything you liked from the 1960s?

“I had to stop somewhere [laughs]. I would love to have got some early 60s free jazz on there, but sadly I don’t have the chops. Maybe the next record will be full of baroque layered harmonies like The Beach Boys, who knows.”

I love that you say the record harnesses “melodrama in the vein of Meat Loaf and Springsteen”. It does! That Meat Loaf/Springsteen/electronic pop crossover is long overdue, right?

“Right! I feel like I’m here to fill that gap. It might be a Marmite concept, but you don’t want to make something everybody likes. I feel if people get this record then they’re in my club, you know?”

Where does your love of overblown MOR/AOR come from?

“When I was nine or 10, ‘I‘d Do Anything For Love’ was Number One for 12 weeks, or something, and I was obsessed with it. I’d sit by the radio with a pen and paper and try to write all the lyrics down. I had a cassette recorder, I just didn’t think to tape the bloody thing [laughs]. Even though they played it every hour it still took me about six hours!”

You also namecheck Thin Lizzy, Rick Springfield, Shalamar and N-Trance which sounds like musical mayhem, but it really works, doesn’t it?

“I mean, I hope so. When I’m writing, I try to nail a certain feeling and any music that comes out of the moment gets sucked in. If I can listen to it and get that feeling from it, then to me, it works. It’s like, if I believe in it, it’ll work. Maybe that’s delusional, ha!”

You started out in hardcore punk bands and here you are paying homage to Whigfield on ‘Saturday Night, Still Breathing’. Is there nothing that is out of bounds?

“It’s all the same to me. I’m not saying I love all music, but I tend to love it if it’s from the heart. The best music finds an affinity with the listener and shares the moment with them. If I’m embracing and projecting music with love and respect then it’s fair game.”

Are there any genres you couldn’t make work on one of your albums?

“I like a lot of minimal techno, but I don’t think I could do it justice in that context. I love death metal, but probably wouldn’t bring that into the fold. Besides, I’ve got a death metal band to do that [laughs].”

Country and western perhaps?

“I love country music, but I’m not going to start singing like I’m from Tennessee when I live in the south of Glasgow. Some people could pull that off and I’d be into it, but not me.”

Now you’ve said that, we fully expect you to figure out how to work that into your next album

“I’m working on my concept country album about the horse-riding laws in Pollokshields right now, don’t worry.”

Apostille’s ‘Prisoners Of Love And Hate’ is released by Night School

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Sir Was

Pulling up a chair and making himself comfy in the face of our quick-fire line of questioning, it’s Sir Was