MULTIPLICITY – ANDREW STOUT
Art: Darcy Kelly-Laviolette
Apeiron Bound was quietly formed in the summer of 2018 by Andrew Stout (composer/guitarist) as a one-man project to unleash his musical creativity. From there, he started his collaboration with producer and fellow musician John Galloway (Hallowhymn / Phantom Wave Audio) to further expand upon the instrumental side of the compositions. Shortly after, Michael Calza (vocals/lyricist) and Phillip Colacecchi (additional guitars) were recruited to further expand the music for a more dynamic range. To top it off, a number of sessions and guest musicians make appearances on the debut record, adding their own touch to bring forth more dynamics within the music. In 2022, a full lineup was concluded with the addition of Kyle Sokol (bass guitar) and Kristopher Huffman (drums) to prep for shows and future recordings going into 2023 and beyond.
HMA: Describe your process.
Andrew: There was indeed a process that went into creating the theme for our debut album, ‘Multiplicity’. From the music to the lyrical themes to the song/album artwork and everything in between.
Adam Hutton, Burnedinsilence Designs, created the Apeiron Bound band logo. Darcy Kelly-Laviolette created the artwork for our songs, album cover, and overall branding. She [Darcy] has quite the background working as a Creative Executive Director for the Sarasota Scene Magazine and artwork for bands within the Florida music scene. She’s also done work with international acts such as Head With Wings and Drifting Sun. In fact, I first contacted her due to a few shirt designs she did for a Florida-based band called All Hail the Queen back in 2018. The designs were incredible to the point that I wanted to see what else she could do.
Digging deeper into her catalogue, I saw that she has the quality touch for the abstract art style. Knowing that Apeiron Bound is this abstract prog metal project combining many different influences, moods, and so on, it was crucial that the artwork best represent the entire picture. Even more important was utilising the abstract art form without appearing cheesy, try hard, or edgy for the sole purpose of shock value.
This leads us to the overall theme of the album cover. The concept of duality inspires the cover. One major theme on our record is the theme of Zen and Chaos. On the cover, we have a face separated by two sides. The more blue-tinted side represents Zen, while the red symbolises Chaos. Overall, the yin-yang philosophy that’s not only engraved in our music and lyrical themes. The theme continues to be engraved within the band name. Apeiron is Greek for ‘infinite, boundless, eternal’ and BOUND being ‘confined’. It could be viewed as an oxymoron. It could be viewed as another interpretation shining the light on the concept of duality. At the end of the day, it’s within the eye of the beholder that gives it the interpretation.
HMA: Describe your lyrics?
Andrew: The short answer to that question is that the themes we touch on with our music focus on the various aspects of the human condition and experience. As to what aspects of the human condition and experience we touch on, that’s where we dive deep into the rabbit hole that is ‘Multiplicity’.
We have songs such as ‘Thought & Memory’ kicking off the record with themes of nostalgia. ‘Eleutheromania’ focuses on a frantic society forfeiting their freedoms for a sense of security. ‘Melancholic Zen’ is an instrumental Interlude co-composed by Frank Sacramone [Earthside], which paints a picture of a person attempting to find contentment in their chaotic surroundings [mentally or physically]. An appropriate Interlude that leads into our track ‘My Sweet Stockholm’. Stockholm touches on the theme of Stockholm Syndrome, mostly within the cycle of abusive relationships. ‘Firmament’ touches on themes of escapism using extraterrestrial elements for symbolism. The Interlude ‘Precocious Tribalism’ co-composed by Steven Mundinger [DJ Lykanthrope] lays down the groundwork for the next track painting a picture of a society that never escapes its primitive ways despite technological, philosophical, and medical progress. ‘Emotive Servitude’ plays the role of the sequel to ‘Eleutheromania’. This time, that song focuses more on the themes of emotional manipulation on the sociopolitical and religious level and the result that comes when mob mentality goes haywire. ‘Absent Familiarity’ touches on themes of narcissism and delusions of grandeur. The song focuses on an individual who uses others for personal gain. Along the way, they feel they’re losing parts of themselves, but they choose to continue down that dark path until it consumes their entire being. ‘Chaotic Fervor’ is another Interlude that is co-composed by Frank that paints an eerie dark atmosphere. The Interlude plays the role of a premonition of sorts. That’s the point of the record where Zen and Chaos become personified. Chaos taunts Zen in the Interlude with their speech leading into the second to last song, ‘Astral Reflection’. ‘Astral Reflection’ lays out the groundwork for Zen and Chaos clashing with one another. You have bargaining, two different mindsets clashing with one another, and so many different ways this can be interpreted. The last track, ‘Era in Fenim // Novis Initiis’ [Latin: End of an Era // New Beginnings] paints an open soundscape where one contemplates whether we will break the shackles cursing humanity or will we begin one day anew. All in all, the theme of the record front to back takes you on life’s journey. Whether you find a personal connection to it through personal experience or just love the music, there’s something for many people to gravitate towards.
HMA: Do you have any creative rituals?
Andrew: I wish I could say my life was that interesting where I’d be making blood sacrifices. The only things I sacrifice are my wallet and sanity [laughs]. As far as what inspires me to write the music that I do, there are many factors. There are life experiences that go back 31 years to my upbringing. There’s the day-to-day aspect of life. I’ll even get an idea going from a drive, listening to music, watching a video, or anything in between. I’ll be noodling on my guitar until I get a cool melody. I then document and save for a song idea later on. Some days, I’ll complete a song within a few days. On other days, I’ll need to step back from it a number of times until I can come back with a more objective view of the music. If I feel something, I’ll add to it and tweak it. If not, it’ll either be left in the folder of infinite ideas to never be seen again. Or until enough time passes where I can do the idea justice. Either way, I have the philosophy to never finalize my work publicly until I’m 100% satisfied.
HMA: Do you have a philosophical fixation?
Andrew: I grew up in a Protestant Christian household. In my later teen years, I felt betrayed by these so-called religious organisations and the people masquerading as the arbiters of morality. I grew up religious. I tried to be the best version of a Christian I could be. In my later years, a combination of uncovered hypocrisy along with finding inconsistencies in the religious texts of not just the Bible but as a whole. All these different circumstances over a period of time have moulded me into a sceptic. If you had to pin a label on me, the agnostic theist would be the most fitting. I say that on the count of being open to the possibility of a God or God’s existence. If God exists, then best-selling religious texts cover 0.01% of what that God would want. Looking back, even when I was a Christian in my younger years, I still questioned everything about the world around me. I would question other people’s actions and why things had to be a certain way. These questions initially were led to ‘that’s just the way things are, and you have to accept time’. More often than not, it’s not ‘because that’s how it is’ but rather the refusal of one to make a positive change for the long term. This is also a hyper-individualist. Always questioning more about life and the way things work.
HMA: Is heavy music a form of modern cult worship?
Andrew: To answer the ‘modern cult worship’ portion of the question, anything can be idolised. Especially when we have a society that glamorises celebrities and public figures for the sake of being famous, amplify that with the digital age that brought about social media. Idolatry has always been around and will continue to exist until the end of humanity. Idolatry is taking the concept of a ‘role model’ and cranking it all the way to 100. That’s when you head into dangerous territory [laughs].
I got into music at a very young age. My first bit of exposure to genres such as rock, punk, metal, and rap came from the Tony Hawk franchise. Movie OSTs such as ‘Jet Li’s: The One’ and video games such as Zelda, Assassin’s Creed, and all sorts of 2000’s extreme sports OSTs also played a huge role in the first bit of exposure. Follow that up with an infatuation for guitar thanks to a family friend’s brother and lessons the same family friend’s younger brother and I took back in 7th grade after school. We initially wanted to make music like in the Tony Hawk games and skateboarding clips. Over time, it became a deep dive into the vast oceans of genre and subgenres galore. Some of my favourite albums shaped me musically, not in any particular order (just to name a few).
Metallica ‘…And Justice for All’
Chimp Spanner ‘At the Dreams Edge’
Gojira ‘The Way of All Flesh’
Animals as Leaders ‘Self Titled Debut’
Children of Bodom ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’
Kamelot ‘The Black Halo’
Sybreed ‘Slave Design’
Opeth ‘Ghost Reveries’ & ‘Watershed’
Strapping Young Lad ‘Alien’
Devin Townsend ‘Ocean Machine: Biomech’
Epica ‘Design Your Universe’
Regarding the ‘musical idols’ question, Devin Townsend is the most prominent example for me for the last 13 or so years. The biggest draw for me with HevyDevy is his uncompromising approach to composition and wall of sound production that he does for that cinematic soundscape. Mikael Åkerfeldt is another massive influence in terms of dynamics in the composition. James Hetfield for his brutal rhythms and sense of songwriting. The list goes on and on.
HMA: Do you have any figures outside of the [metal] genre that you admire or aspire to be like?
Andrew: I’ve always loved video game soundtracks. Koji Kondo is one example of an absolute genius. His work with all the Nintendo games is absolutely timeless. Most specifically, I love what he did for all the soundscapes for the Zelda franchise. He has a way of writing all these engaging melodies that draw you into the gameplay, which adds more to the cinematic aspect of the game. Jesper Kyd is another composer who writes engaging music such as ‘Ezio’s Family Theme’, the Hitman franchise, and Assassin’s Creed, among many more examples. Of course, we must remember to reference the ‘Cinematic Hans Zimmer Drums’ that play in the middle of our closer ‘Era in Fenim’ [laughs].
How video game and movie soundtracks are structured plays a crucial role in composing music. The way that melodies are manipulated in such an engaging way for the storytelling, whether it follows a ‘verse chorus’ structure or an avant-garde Broadwayesque type of approach. Even something as simple as the ambience, even when lacking melodic structure, in exchange for atmosphere.
HMA: Why is music important to you?
Andrew: Personally, music is one of the ultimate forms of artistic expression. The way it has the power to unite people under the common love of a sonic art form. Everyone can find something to relate to with music, whether it’s lyrical storytelling or something about the instrumentals that grasp at their senses. It has the power to make you forget about the world around you while at the same time planting you into the world. It can make you feel many emotions at once. All about the vibrations.
HMA: Do you like any other off-beat genres of music?
Andrew: I’ve been getting more into electronic music the last couple of years. Gunship, Scandroid, and Varien are some great examples. The production is top-notch and is great for a night drive out, to feel a vibe, or if you want to get pumped. Also, Gunship’s song ‘Dark All Day’ with Tim Cappello unleashing the Lost Boys sax is unbelievably eargasmic. That music video is also top-notch!
If you want more out of the extreme side of progressive metal, check out Without Waves. More specifically, their record Comedian that came out recently. Some elements will remind you of Dillinger Escape Plan, Deftones, and Strapping Young Lad, along with elements of post-rock, jazz fusion, and electronic music. No two songs sound the same, and they’re super unapologetic with their experimentation that will take you on a journey.
For a more laid-back cinematic experience, my buddies from Head With Wings got you covered. Josh is a super-talented vocalist that can branch off into any vocal style and has a unique tone to go with it. He also did a handful of vocals for a few of our tracks, not just the guest appearance for ‘Absent Familiarity’. He did choirs for ‘My Sweet Stockholm’ and ‘Emotive Servitude’ along with additional backing vocals for a good chunk of Absent. Yes, even some of the demonic black metal high-pitched shrieks are Josh [laughs]. Some Porcupine Tree, Coheed and Cambria, and Incubus vibes in the music combined with instrumentation that goes from hard rock to soothing post-rock and everything in between.