Cameron and Maxwell, together Seattle's Apt E, have a hand in cultivating a growing community of dedicated globally-eared electro and, halftime dance music goers through their events, individual support for acts such as Lone and Fixate, association with Seattle's Tech Startup Records, as well as vinyl distribution through Lobster Records. Their selections range from wide-eyed and frenzied breakbeat to soothing synthetic ambiances, filling the spaces between with a diverse and compelling sonic beatscape.
The blissed out breaks of Apt E 01 immediately broke ground featuring Seattle heavyweights Flora FM, Eve Defy, and 'nohup', while the juke and footwork shakedown by Wetman and Sword of Thorns on Apt E 02 solidified their presence as a force to be reckoned with. With a third release on its way in early 2021, Apt E promises another unique blend of lush techno all their own to celebrate their second year laying Seattle's underground dance music foundation.
Tell us about the early days of Apt E, and how your relationships with the label have developed.
When we were first getting started, the concept of actually operating a label was probably the last thing on our minds. The first "event" we hosted was an afterparty dubbed "Midnight Migration 35" which was about 20 people jumping around in our tiny living room. Reminiscing on those days is a reminder of how far the label has come. Our ambitions moved towards one-off warehouse parties that went as late as we could go. The next logical step was releasing vinyl that, in tandem with throwing parties, created this self-sustaining cycle of musical inspiration.
When did you decide it was time to press vinyl, and what has that done for the label? How has that affected the production process?
It was apparent to us that Seattle sits on a trove of musically gifted artists that just needed a proper platform to establish their sound. The Apt E approach to releasing vinyl has been and will continue to be a ragtag cooperative effort that evokes a feeling of unity beyond the music. This manifested itself first in the form of a 12" vinyl compilation featuring the talented local artists Eve Defy, Flora FM and 'nohup', who all also inaugurated the record announcement by playing an unforgettable allnighter at an Apt E party in February of 2019.
The cast of selectors behind the Apt E name includes a unique mix of individuals. Can you talk about the community involved in the label and party series, and the collective identity behind Apt E?
The Apt E selectors are exclusively us, Max and Cam. The two of us are known to often draw from an infinite well of different aliases to express whatever it is we are feeling in that particular moment, be it a DJ set at a party or a recorded mix like the ones on our soundcloud. This is an extension of how we love and experience music, since it's so easy for us to get swept away by sounds and projects that bear no relation to each other while all existing in the same world that is Apt E. Our interpersonal relationship drives a goal of us constantly challenging ourselves to access the sweet spot between our tastes. Although just the two of us operate the label and host the events, we wouldn't be able to do any of this if it weren't for our friends and the lovely community that we are fortunate enough to be a part of.
Despite Seattle's growing support for underground music, the city remains notoriously unaffordable for independent artists. Has this been a challenge for Apt E? How else is Seattle's underground scene growing to support artists like yourselves?
Seattle provides a unique set of challenges to the promoter. Gentrification has made throwing late night parties all but impossible, and the historical legacy of Seattle's infamous Teen Dance Ordinance has cast a certain mood on the general public over the idea of a "rave". It's important for us to keep Apt E events affordable, accessible, and safe for the people that want to be there. Historically, underground dance music has been an important staple in queer and black cultures, and as Apt E we do our best to uphold a very high standard of comfort and safety for our guests and partygoers, and to prioritize and uplift marginalized groups in and outside of the Seattle community. It's hard to maintain certain ideals at a more established venue. Apt E has always focused on hosting DIY events in order to evoke a strong sense of community and freedom, and provide an alternative to the mainstream club crowd. The number of available spaces for DIY dance events in Seattle is small and ever shrinking, and we are (or were, pre-covid) constantly on the lookout for new potential locations and opportunities to host events, led by a strong belief that there are perfect spaces out there just waiting to be found.
The new record (Apt E 03) is influenced, among other things, by krautrock. What can listeners expect to hear, and what is the mindset behind the production of the record?
Apt E Vol 3 is the first musical output on the label from the Apt E cast themselves. Max and Cam are joined by friend and roommate Taylor to form the trio known as Tape. Krautrock is just one of many inspirations driving the sound of the record. There are many stylistic similarities between dancefloor genres like techno, and the psychedelic pulse of krautrock. We are honing in on the potential that exists at the intersection of such styles, and looking forward to further exploring the outer reaches of what one might consider "dance" music.
Apt E Links: