Biff Butler (vocals)
Jon Greasley (guitars)
Brad Booker (drums)
Louis Macan (bass)
Andy Huckvale (keyboards/programming)
It's truly rare when a band comes along determined to change the very fabric of the contemporary music form. Indeed, it takes a brave unit to spit in the face of convention and boldly forge their own path of rock and roll creativity. Make no mistake about it, Apartment 26 is just such a band. Heavily electric, heavily eclectic, yet also heavily heavy, this young British contingent seem intent on playing the rock and roll game by their own rules-- destroying (or at least drastically altering) some time-honored musical "traditions" in the process. As heard throughout their debut Atlantic album, Music for the Massive, all of these ground-breaking musical musings and brash rock and roll experimentations accomplish the net result of astounding the listener with their energy and unabashed sonic creativity... not bad for a bunch of lads still in their early 20s. What else would you expect from talented young musicians--vocalist Terence 'Biff' Butler, guitarist Jon Greasley, bassist Louis Macan, keyboardist Andy Huckvale and drummer Brad Booker-- who've been playing, thinking and dreaming music since the band's "core" members (Biff, Jon and Louis) first met as school chums at the tender age of 14. Since then it's been a series of fits-and-starts that has led this intriguing unit along their quixotic path of musical conquest. With each step along that path, Apartment 26 (the name taken from a David Lynch film... a constant source of both inspiration and perspiration for this talented unit) has expanded upon a skeletal structure drawn as much from the heady rhythms of jazz as the straight-ahead fury of contemporary rock. And as Biff (who by the way, is the proud son of Black Sabbath's legendary bassist Geezer Butler) is quick to explain, his band's notoriously unpredictable, and highly cerebral approach to their musical craft remains this band’s primary means of nurturing their "organic" sound. "There are so many different influences and styles in there somewhere," Biff said. "Everything from jazz to grunge to electronic music has impacted us and can be heard in varying degrees in the music we make. For us, creating music is a fascinating process because we all come from very different points of view. We all like different things, and we rather staunchly bring those tastes with us when we write and play. Somehow, it all seems to come together for us." The simple fact of the matter is that Biff and his mates have worked hard to make the seemingly divergent musical pieces that comprise Apartment 26 fit together. The result this group achieves manages to simultaneously astound and amaze all who fall under Apt. 26's hypnotic spell. Through the components of electronic energy, '40s-era jazz attitudes and 21st Century technology that serve as the key ingredients in the band's heady musical mix, Apartment 26 now emerge as an unpredictable, cutting-edge unit that as shown throughout Music for the Massive stand at the forefront of a new musical generation. It would certainly appear that despite his noble metal lineage, Biff is very much seeking to be his own man. While he jokingly admits to using only his first name because "Biff Butler sounds too much like that guy in Gone With The Wind," he would one day consider going about his musical work under his given name, Terence Butler. Mind you, his current nonconformist musical actions are not in any way intended to detract from the admiration he holds for both his father and the Sabbath legacy. It's just that young Biff and his cronies realize that this is a new musical day, and they are very much a part of hard rock's new breed. "I must admit that nowadays I am as likely to listen to John Coltrane or Bjork as I am to Black Sabbath," he comments. "I try to keep my mind open to everything that I hear. It all can be an influence... or none of it can be. From the very beginning, we loved the idea of blending a variety of influences with hard rock, but we want those unexpected things like jazz phrasing to be in there as well. We also liked the effects you could get with a sequencer. It can give the music a groovy kind of feel that also had these very precise sounds." Apartment 26 has been searching on-and-off for the ideal means of expressing their varied influences and styles for the last eight years. As soon as the band's roster began to solidify, it became abundantly clear that this was going to be a very democratic-- and, at times, a very volatile--unit. Indeed, each band member brought his own well-defined set of likes and dislikes into the group's collective musical imagination. Before long, the band's sound began turning in a far more experimental direction, with their output earning raves from everyone who heard it either live or on the group's indie debut, Within. Touring on Ozzfest 1999 led directly to the band entering into the studio to lay down the explosively-charged tracks that comprised their first full-length disc, Hallucinating. But while that effort did little to "break" the band on an international scale, it served as the all-important stepping-stone in the evolutionary process that has now led directly to the emergence of Music for the Massive. Here, songs such as “Give Me More”, “Stupid World” and “Be My Friend” show that this is clearly a band ready, willing and able to carry the hard rock form towards its next great frontier. “When the time came to take our next step, we decided not to tour but to put our heads down and learn our craft. We thought, 'We're young and we're not going to go to college, so if we're going to do this stuff, we should really be good at what we do.' On the first album I said 'I'm not really a singer, I'm just a vocalist.' But now I say I'm a singer because I have paid attention to how one sings." "Everyone else in the band has grown by leaps-and-bounds," he added. "I can't even quantify how many times better a musician each one of them has become. We're all creative people who have very strong opinions when it comes to music. Instead of being a rock band that writes songs or an electronic band that's helmed by one person, we have a band that's 50% creativity and 50% creative differences-- and that's something we really enjoy. A little bit of creative conflict never hurt anyone. We all are willing to fight for what we believe in, and that makes this group work. Our goals in this band are relatively simple-- they are to make great music, and to expand people's minds." It is abundantly clear that on their new album, Apartment 26 have taken a bold step towards proving they belong among the true elite of contemporary music society. In sharp contrast to the majority of today's cookie-cutter hard rock practitioners, these guys seem to have taken extra pride in separating themselves from the conventional rock and roll pack. So while Biff may have grown up under the pervasive influence of Black Sabbath, studied on bended knee at the Shrine of Reznor, and more recently opened his rhythmic senses to the more upbeat feel of bop and big band swing, on Music for the Massive he and his bandmates have emerged with a sound all their own. In fact, with a little luck, the jazz-tinged electronic hard rock music made by Apartment 26 may end up serving as a major influence on the next generation of hard rocking practitioners. Nothing would make Biff happier. "The title of the album says it all," he said. "Whenever we come over to America, we always over-English ourselves, so that everything is something 'massive' so among our associates we were jokingly known as the 26 Massive. Our group of friends are The Massive, and we got to the point where we realized, essentially, even though as much as you write and perform music for yourself, you're really just doing it for others; friends, family, cd buyers, concertgoers, music lovers. So it's all of the people who listen to music-- or anyone who helps the band out in any way shape or form-- that are part of the massive. This album is filled with music for them."