If Bonsai Trees is not yet on your radar, that definitely needs to change.
This indie rock band from Connecticut just released their newest single "Apology Note". This track is said to be the first in an upcoming collection that you absolutely do not want to miss!
The single begins with a fast-paced, rock-influenced intro. Its hard hitting sound is cut short by the first verse, but we aren't mad about the pace change at all. The transition into a more relaxed sound and slower tempo is perfect and complements the song's somber lyrics. "Rain soaks over every apology note that you send to me" immediately gives life to the simple title of the track, and sets the mood of the piece from the very beginning. The song then picks back up, again transitioning beautifully. If there is an area where "Apology Note" thrives most, it is in its ability to take us on a rollercoaster ride that is the range of pace and style while still maintaining the ballad-like storyline that tugs at every listener's heart strings.
Bonsai Tree's ability to take clear inspiration from multiple genres and styles while maintaining their own unique sound stands out. The rock-influenced instrumentation and pop punk/new wave emo-like lyrics mesh perfectly for a piece that stands out amongst releases from similar artists we've seen so far this year.
In anticipation for the release, we spoke with vocalist/guitarist/songwriter for Bonsai Trees, James MacPherson. Check out the Q+A below!
What did your songwriting process look like when creating “Apology Note”?
"Apology Note" started as a keyboard and drum loop in 5/4 that we had demoed in 2014, but we scrapped it. I didn't come back to it until after we finished recording our third LP "Learn to Grow", during which time the lyrics formed out of frustration with how slowly that album was being mixed and finished. At that point I changed the dynamics and time signature to fit better with the new lyrics and themes. Once Nick started playing over it I knew immediately how heavy it had to be, so we went with that and it all fell together.
Your style, combining indie-rock with intermixed emo elements, is pretty unique. Who have been some of your influences in crafting your own sound?
Everyone from the band comes from a very different musical background, and I think that's why we can create such a unique sound. I take influence from indie rock like Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Paramore, while also listening to a lot of Prog, electronic, and pop/hip hop. Nick has always enjoyed more emo pop punk and alt rock like Muse, Foo Fighters, and Motion City Soundtrack.
While on the topic of genre, have you found genre-specific labels to be limiting at all? In other words, have you found there to be a certain amount of pressure to define yourself or your “brand” as a band?
Everyone who listens to pop punk thinks we're indie rock, and everyone who listens to indie rock thinks we're pop punk. People can call us whatever they want, but we're always going to make whatever records speak to us.
How have you seen your own sound evolve over the years you’ve been making music together?
Since we started in high school, the major difference is that we're actually able to functionally play our instruments now! But we've also been less afraid to try things and songwriting gets easier every time I bring something to Nick. It just clicks instantly now.
If you had to make a highlight reel of some of your favorite moments as a band, what would be on it?
The whole experience has been amazing, it would be too hard to rank all the moments. We've recorded at amazing studios, played House of Blues in Boston when we were just out of high school, won awards, and toured through the US and Canada for the past three years. Whether we're playing a dirty basement or a huge full room it's always special.
If your band had a theme song (not one of your own) what would it be?
Be sure to stream "Apology Note" now on your preferred streaming service, and check out the rest of Bonsai Tree's discography while you're at it. This is a band that truly has something for every music junkie out there. You won't regret adding them to your favorite playlists!
Review and interview by Caroline Moll