We get the inside scoop from Apartment 99 on what to expect as they “shift from their alternative rock style” on upcoming EP Addicted.
Apartment 99 are gearing up for what’s sure to be their best effort yet, the upcoming sophomore EP Addicted. While fans of the Switzerland band might think they know what’s coming following the debut EP New Way last year, the four-piece rockers are committed to switching lanes with Addicted, teasing a pop-punk collection that also showcases “a dynamic mix of genres.”
Ahead of the release of Addicted — a five-song collection featuring the singles Shelter In You and Best Of Me — we caught up with Apartment 99 for a deep-dive into the upcoming project.
Teasing the EP, set to arrive later this year, the band dishes on everything from the “shift from our previous alternative rock style” to the promise of their “music continuing to evolve within the post-hardcore genre.”
Catch our full interview with Apartment 99 below, and keep an eye out for the band’s sophomore EP Addicted out November 4.
HAPPY: What are you up to today?
APARTMENT 99: We’re staying quite busy these days! Right now, we’re in the midst of working on our upcoming EP, which is really exciting. We’ve already got demos for four out of the six songs, and they’re coming together nicely.
In November, we’ll be starting the final recordings, right in our own band room. We can’t wait for our fans to hear them!But that’s not all – there’s a lot on our plate for the next month. We’ve got four concerts lined up over the course of four weeks, and one of them is extra special.
It’s the EP christening for our latest release, ‘Addicted,’ which came out this year. So, it’s going to be a month packed with music and performances, and we’re absolutely pumped for it!
HAPPY: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the scene like in your neck of the woods?
APARTMENT 99: We come from Bern, the picturesque capital of Switzerland. Well, to be precise, three out of the four of us were born and raised in or around this city. As for me, Will, my journey to Bern is a bit of an epic tale, but the important thing is that I finally made it here!
Now, when it comes to the music scene in our city, it’s wonderfully diverse, just like the people who call Bern home. You name it, we’ve got it – from the world of classical music to the realm of rock and all its sub-genres.
And if you’re into hip-hop or poetry slam, you’ll find thriving communities for those too. It’s a place where musical boundaries are constantly pushed, and that’s something we absolutely love about being part of this scene.
HAPPY: Describe an average day?
APARTMENT 99: Our average day can vary quite a bit depending on which band member you’re talking about. We all have our unique routines.Most of the time, you’ll find us grinding away at work or hitting the books.
But on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the evening, something happens that actually makes us get through the day and reminds us why we need to go to work and earn that cold hard cash: it’s band rehearsal time. These sessions are where we bring our music to life and fine-tune our sound.Now, Wednesdays are a bit of a special treat because both Finn and I get to enjoy a day off.
It’s during these moments of freedom that we often dive into the creative process, coming up with new demos or brainstorming content ideas for our social media platforms. Plus, since we recently moved into our new band room, Wednesdays also become a day dedicated to setting up and perfecting our musical haven.
And, to keep things balanced and maintain the friendship, every other weekend, we come together for either a jam session, rehearsals, or just some good old-fashioned bonding time. More often than not, it turns into a beer-fueled darts tournament in our band room – because what’s life without a little friendly competition, right?
HAPPY: What did you listen to growing up that fuelled your passion for music?
APARTMENT 99: Our musical tastes growing up were quite diverse, and each of us had our own set of inspirations that fueled our passion for music. Here’s a glimpse into some of the bands and artists that left a lasting mark on each of us:
Finn: Bring Me The Horizon, Bruce Springsteen, Marilyn Manson
Julian: Hammerfall, Architects, Black Tiger
Kimmo: Travis Barker (Blink-182), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), John Dolmayan (System Of A Down)
Will: Billy Talent, Rise Against, Foo Fighters
HAPPY: Can you tell us more about the origin of Apartment 99 and how you found your unique sound?
APARTMENT 99: Apartment 99 came into existence as an unassuming and nameless project, born from the shared passion of Roger and I, two music enthusiasts who found each other during their school days. Our dream was simple – to play in a band and create music that resonates with people.
In the beginning, we just tried things out and played around on our instruments to figure out what kind of music we wanted to make and how good it was in the first place.
Recognizing the need for a complete band setup, we embarked on a search for like-minded musicians. Finn, a passionate drummer, soon joined our ranks, injecting a fresh rhythm into our compositions. With the desire to stand out from the crowd, we also welcomed Dominique, a versatile keyboard player, adding a unique dimension to our music.
HAPPY: The band has experienced significant lineup changes. How did these transitions impact the dynamics and creative direction of Apartment 99?
APARTMENT 99: It depends somewhat on which changes we’re talking about. From the time Finn joined, the core of our songwriting has primarily revolved around the collaboration between him and I, I was mainly responsible for the songwriting on our first EP, but then Finn took the reins for the newer songs.
So, in terms of workload distribution, these changes often didn’t have a major impact. However, these transitions did influence the general mood within the band and occasionally shifted the musical direction we were heading in. The impact varied depending on the individual leaving the band.
When Roger, one of the founders, expressed his desire to part ways, it was a challenging moment for all of us. Roger had not only co-founded the band but had also invested so much time and energy into it. He was, and still is, an integral part of our close-knit circle of friends.
This departure prompted a period of reflection where we asked ourselves: ‘How do we want to proceed from here?’. Julian temporarily filled in before we were able to find a new bass player and decided to continue in a similar fashion to what we were doing before.
While we did have a few lineup changes along the way, these changes allowed us to reshape our dynamic positively, enabling us to focus more on our music and creativity. That is until Dominique decided to leave the band at the end of 2022…”
HAPPY: The departure of Dominique led to significant changes in your lineup. How did this impact the band’s musical direction and sound?
APARTMENT 99: At the time, we were at an interesting crossroads in our creative journey. We had already recorded all the demos for our second EP, and we were gearing up to start the final recordings. These new songs had a slightly more pop-punk vibe, which was a departure from our previous style.
Dominique, our keyboardist, felt that the keyboard didn’t quite fit the new songs anymore. It was a sentiment that we all quietly shared but found difficult to admit. Ultimately, this disconnect became the main reason for his departure from the band.Once again, we were faced with the question, ‘How do we move forward?’
After much reflection and discussion, we made a significant decision. Finn, who had been our drummer, switched to the guitar, which allowed us to generate more musical power with two guitars. This shift in our lineup gave us the flexibility to better explore the pop-punk direction we were heading in.
We then began the search for a new drummer, and that’s when we found Kimmo. Shortly after Kimmo joined, Julian also joined the band on bass guitar. He had already been part of the band in the past and filled the position of the bass player when Roger left the group.
That’s when our current lineup was complete, and we were ready to embrace the new musical direction with renewed energy and determination.
HAPPY: Your band room in rural Switzerland seems to have played a crucial role in your creative process. How did the environment influence your music?
APARTMENT 99: At the time, we didn’t all live in the same place, which made it challenging for us to rehearse during the week. Instead, we had a unique ritual – every other weekend, we would gather in our band room, a cozy space where we did everything together.
We ate, drank, discussed ideas, caught some sleep, and, most importantly, made music for two intense days. During those weekends, it was just us; the rest of the world ceased to exist. This immersion in our craft led us to rehearse our songs for hours, dissecting them, and brainstorming how we could make them better or different.
These weekends were where we not only honed our skills as musicians but also forged a deep bond as a band. In this very band room, we experienced several significant milestones. It was here that we played our very first concert in front of about 30 friends and relatives.
It might not sound like a massive audience, but the nerves and excitement were as if we were performing at Wembley Stadium. That adrenaline rush continued to fuel us for weeks. It was during these formative times that our band name was born: Since we essentially lived together for those two days, we humorously dubbed it our ‘apartment.’
The room itself, once a simple basement, had been transformed into a band sanctuary back in 1999, hence the name: Apartment 99.
HAPPY: “New Way” is your debut EP. Can you share some insights into the creative process and the emotions you wanted to convey through this collection of songs?
APARTMENT 99: When Finn joined the band, he brought the first single, ‘Chasing Ghosts,’ with him. The other four songs were collaborations between me and Roger. These tracks are from our early days, and it’s worth noting that the initial versions were quite different from what we eventually released.
At the outset, Dominique wasn’t part of the band, so there wasn’t any keyboard integrated into the songs.When it came to the emotions we wanted to convey, authenticity was paramount. We aimed to tackle themes that were not only close to our hearts but also experiences we had personally lived through.
These themes include struggles with depression, anxiety, self-doubt, the complexities of failed relationships, the relentless search for love, and the desire to break free from the monotony of everyday life. Music has always been a form of therapy for all of us, a means of navigating through life’s challenges and triumphs.
Our primary motivation for making music has consistently been to create songs that others can relate to, songs that might help them navigate their own difficult situations. If someone were to tell us that our music played a part in helping them find their way through tough times, we would consider that the highest reward imaginable.
It’s a source of immense joy for us, knowing that our music might touch someone’s life in a meaningful way.
HAPPY: Switching genres to pop-punk is a bold move. What inspired this change, and how do you feel it complements your overall musical vision?
APARTMENT 99: Switching to the pop-punk genre came about for a variety of compelling reasons. First and foremost, we’ve always had a genuine love for this genre.
The infectious melodies and irresistibly catchy songs practically demand that you immerse yourself in them, and that’s exactly the kind of energy and experience we want to share with our audience during our concerts.
Moreover, the themes explored in pop-punk music resonate deeply with us. These are the themes that are close to our hearts, the ones we’ve experienced and felt on a personal level. It felt like a natural fit for us to express these emotions through pop-punk.
Another pivotal factor in this change was my journey with singing lessons over the past three years. The development I’ve undergone in honing my vocal abilities led us to believe that my voice was a great match for this genre. When we began experimenting with pop-punk, it became clear that this was the direction we wanted to pursue.
It marked a shift from our previous alternative rock style to embrace the energetic and emotive world of pop-punk. The decision was driven by our passion for the music, and we couldn’t be more excited about the musical journey we’re on.
HAPPY: Your lyrics touch on themes of anxiety, self-doubt, and love. How do these personal experiences influence the way you create and connect with your audience?
APARTMENT 99: Absolutely, the melody in a song is essential, but for us, the lyrics are equally, if not more, crucial. We place a strong emphasis on the emotional depth of our songs, and that’s where the lyrics play a pivotal role.
Our goal is to create music that resonates with our listeners, especially through the lyrics. In my view, crafting lyrics about themes like anxiety, self-doubt, and love can be a profoundly personal process. To write lyrics that truly connect with our audience, I believe one needs to have experienced these emotions firsthand.
It’s not only about making the writing process ‘easier,’ although I use that term with caution because songwriting remains a challenging and deeply introspective endeavor. Instead, it’s about infusing authenticity into the lyrics, making them genuine and relatable.
For us, drawing from our personal experiences has allowed us to create songs that listeners can genuinely identify with. When we share our own struggles, moments of doubt, or experiences of love, it’s as if we’re extending a hand to our audience, saying, ‘You’re not alone; we’ve been there too.’
This connection with our audience, forged through shared emotions and experiences, is what makes the music truly meaningful to us and, we hope, to those who listen.
HAPPY: Can you elaborate on the significance of each track on your EP, especially “Everything I Cherish,” which leans towards the Post-Hardcore genre?
APARTMENT 99: Our EP features a dynamic mix of genres, each track carrying its unique significance. We kick things off with the pop-punk energy of ‘Addicted’ and ‘My Daydream,’ setting the tone for the EP. However, nestled in the middle is a song that takes a more introspective turn—’Shelter In You.’
‘Shelter In You’ holds a special place in our hearts. It’s the only track where I took on the lyric-writing duties while Finn handled the instrumental aspects, making it deeply personal for me. The song’s message revolves around the struggle with self-doubts, the kind that we often keep hidden, fearing that sharing them might burden or disturb others.
It’s about that vital realisation that sometimes, opening up and talking about your inner battles is essential. It’s a reminder that communication can be a powerful tool to prevent problems from festering until they become overwhelming. This song serves as a reminder that it’s okay to seek refuge and support in others.
Now, onto ‘Everything I Cherish.’ This track takes a different sonic direction, leaning more towards post-hardcore. The choice to explore this genre shift was driven by our musical inspirations. Many of the bands we admire create a somewhat ‘harder’ sound, and I’ve always harboured a desire to explore this genre.
However, for that, the right vocal confidence is essential. It took time for me to feel ready, but now, we’re excited to delve into the post-hardcore realm. This shift represents our commitment to evolving and embracing a broader spectrum of musical expression.
HAPPY: Your EP is a DIY project, from recording to mastering. What challenges and rewards did you encounter in taking full creative control of your music?
APARTMENT 99: One of the most significant challenges we faced was ensuring that our final mix stood up well alongside professionally produced songs. We didn’t want our music to sound out of place when played in a playlist of well-mastered tracks.
This meant that Finn, in particular, had to dedicate countless hours to immerse himself in the world of audio production, scouring videos, articles, and any available resources to refine our sound. However, the rewards of taking full creative control far outweighed the challenges.
It allows us the freedom to release as much music as we can, enabling us to connect with an ever-growing audience. The DIY approach also offers financial benefits since going to a studio for every recording can become costly over time. Moreover, recording at our own pace means we have the time to revisit and fine-tune our songs.
We can implement changes or incorporate new ideas that might arise during the recording process, ensuring our music reaches its fullest potential. Perhaps the most satisfying reward is hearing feedback from listeners who are genuinely surprised to learn that we handled every aspect of our music ourselves.
Their reactions of ‘You did all of this yourselves? It doesn’t sound like it at all’ serves as a testament to the dedication and hard work we pour into every DIY project, making it all the more worthwhile.
HAPPY: What can fans expect from Apartment 99 in the future? Are there any upcoming projects or performances you’d like to share with us?
APARTMENT 99: In the near future, we have some thrilling projects in the works that we’re eager to share with our fans. The most significant endeavour on our horizon is our upcoming EP, which is a departure from our previous work and will embrace the post-hardcore genre.
We can’t emphasise enough how excited we are about these new songs. It feels like we’ve finally arrived at the musical destination we’ve always aspired to reach. The melodies are incredibly gripping, and, as always, our lyrics are heartfelt and serve to enhance the emotional depth of our music.
We believe these songs will enable us to convey emotions in a way we’ve never achieved before, and we can’t wait to share them with our audience. Another exciting project is related to our newly established band room. We’ve designed this space to be versatile and have plans to use it for organising concerts.
This initiative is our way of providing a platform for fellow artists to share their messages with an audience and continue developing their craft. We understand the challenges artists face in finding suitable venues and organising concerts, and we want to contribute to the music community by offering support and opportunities.
HAPPY: How do you see Apartment 99’s music evolving in the coming years, and what messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience through your music
APARTMENT 99: In the coming years, we see Apartment 99’s music continuing to evolve within the post-hardcore genre. Our primary goal is to continually refine our craft and reach as many people as possible with our music. While our genre may have shifted, our underlying message remains steadfast and unwavering.
From the very beginning, we’ve sought to address critical and relatable issues that resonate with our audience. Our mission is to help others navigate and overcome difficult situations in life. We believe in tackling themes such as self-doubt, anger towards oneself, reflections on past decisions, general dissatisfaction, and the complexities of love.
These themes, while at times carrying a weight of vulnerability and introspection, should also offer solutions and hope. As seen in ‘Shelter In You,’ we aim to convey that it’s not only acceptable but crucial to share your inner struggles and doubts with others.
We want our music to serve as a source of connection and empowerment, reminding listeners that they are not alone in their journey and that there are pathways to healing and growth. This mission will continue to drive our music in the years to come.
HAPPY: What makes you happy?
APARTMENT 99: That’s a very simple question: What makes us happiest is being on stage, playing our songs, and connecting with the audience. Those moments when we forget everything and can share this wonderful moment with the audience are, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful in the world.