The story of Kansas' Appleseed Cast is not lacking in complexity or dramatic shifts. Over 18 years and several lineup changes, the band's sound today hardly resembles the emo-tinged one that put the group on the map. But through it all, founding member Christopher Crisci has retained a singular hold of the project, and his sensibilities have been the grounding element that has allowed the Appleseed Cast to weather the storm. Crisci recently chatted with New Times about his rotating door of bandmates and styles, the good old days of label advances, and escaping the ghosts of emo.
The Appleseed Cast
New Times: To what extent has the Appleseed Cast always been more of a personal project for you?
Christopher Crisci: Each member brings something different, both strengths and weaknesses, to the table. I've written the majority of the songs, you know — I've always felt ownership. Really the only other person who would bring song ideas was Aaron [Pillar, former guitarist]. Everyone writes their parts and contributes, but it comes down to those two ideas of composition and accompaniment, and I've always done the composition.
The band's history is dotted with lineup changes. Why do you think that is?
When we first started, we had a bass player who quit before the demo. After our first tour, the drummer who I started the band with quit. That's kind of been the story — people move on. It's not easy touring and being in a band that doesn't make a lot of money. It's got to be a passion. Everyone who's quit the band has always gone on to better things. It's always been amicable. If someone is really good, really nice, or they work hard, they're always welcome. There has to be at least one redeeming feature. Problems only arise when none of those features are apparent anymore.
Do you think the old Appleseed Cast would identify with what you do today? How is the substance of the band different from the earlier, so-called emo incarnation?
When we started, we were minimal emo. From Mare Vitalis on, that wasn't emo to us. That was us trying to get away from emo,
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What was it like working with famed producer Ed Rose? Does he influence the way an album comes together in the studio? Do you still seek producers with that kind of singular voice?
Ed Rose's recordings of us were kind of bare-bones early on. There are so many moments where we just start taking off with the tempos. We were kids, you know, and I love the record. There was a kind of a push-pull with the songs, and the way we knew how to ratchet up the emotion was to play faster and faster. On later albums, Ed would talk us through the parts because we didn't want to rush. Just giving us mental cues, like, 'Listen for this one hit, and everything else will fall into place.' I think on our next record, we're going to do a lot of the recording in different places and then
The Appleseed Cast with Dikembe, Annabel, and Wish Around. 8 p.m. Friday, August 7, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE 2nd Ave., Miami; 305757-1807; churchillspub.com. Admission is $14.