The name APE MACHINE is a nod to the days of reel-to-reel magnetic tape audio recording; a fitting moniker for the heavy-hitting quartet as the band plays through vintage tube amplifiers and lays down its songs using exclusively throwback quality studio equipment. With a heady mix of animal aggression and technical precision, APE MACHINE’s music carries an organic depth and warmth rarely heard since the time of rock’s glorious early years (or your Dad’s badass record collection) infused with an exceptional modern sensibility. When the mystical lyrics of vocalist Caleb Heinze lock in with the band’s stone-cold groove, APE MACHINE demonstrates an earth-shaking ability to rock. A true four-piece, the group has been called “a rock and roll band with a finger on the pulse of the 70’s and their asses firmly in the present” and “real heavy-psych for the iPhone generation” that delivers “true guts and glory rock and roll.”
Ape Machine started in 2009 after Ian Watts and Caleb Heinze wrapped up some national touring with Minmae (Portland psych-rock band that Ian had joined in 06 and Caleb had joined in 08). Minmae disbanded after singer/songwriter Sean Brooks moved to Germany in 09, so Ape Machine became a new full-time project for both Ian and Caleb. Brian True, a friend from their hometown of Sacramento, was recruited to play bass. He had recently relocated to Portland after a split with his previous band, the Evening Episode. After some searching around for a drummer, Monte Fuller was added to the group, and then Jimi Miller was added as a second guitarist after being recommended by a friend and local recording engineer. The band immediately started touring the west coast and then recorded their debut album, This House Has Been Condemned, which was released in May of 2010.
After some regular touring in the western US for their debut album, Jimi moved on from the band (to pursue medicine) and Ian was introduced to Ikey Owens (Mars Volta / Jack White / Free Moral Agents) through a mutual friend, Chase Frank (who had toured with Minmae). Ikey quickly became a friend and agreed to produce the next Ape Machine record. Ikey camped out with the band to work on War to Head and ended up playing organ on several songs and becoming a great friend of the band. War to Head was released in 2011 and the band was invited to play some fests and the release led to more touring over the next year.
The touring was too much for drummer Monte Fuller who left the band and was replaced by Damon Delapaz (Formerly of Fenix TX, Demasiado). When the band had enough new material for a third album, Ikey Owens again agreed to produce the record. Having already worked with Ikey on War to Head, the new record was even more progressive and was recorded as a concept album. The songs were all written together, to be played without stopping and it was decided that the album would be done fully analog, on 2” tape, and that each album side would be recorded live in one take. The result was Mangled by the Machine, which was released by Ripple Music in 2013. After its release, the band was invited to play the Freak Valley Festival in Germany, and additionally, the band did their first European tour, teaming up with Nightstalker (Greece).
Ape Machine continued to tour the US after their European tour and had once again agreed with Ikey Owens to do another record. Unfortunately, Ikey Owens passed away while on tour with Jack White in October of 2014. The next year, Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds, asked the band to do a record. The band agreed to do an EP, and Coalition of the Unwilling came out in late 2015, followed by another European tour.
For the next two years, Ape Machine wrote new material and did some package tours around the US. When enough new material was ready for a fourth full length, producer Steve Hanford AKA Thee Slayer Hippy (formerly of Poison Idea) was recruited to produce the record. Due to scheduling issues with drummer Damon Delapaz, Steve was also recruited to play drums on the album and found himself touring with the band for several US tours. Darker Seas, the new full length from Ape Machine, is due out in September of 2018 and will be released by Ripple Music.