072 Mad Apple Circus

Mad Apple Circus – Left to Right: Craig, Jennie, Josh, Luke, Stat, Steph, Jello, Emma & Dubbington Esquire


Location: BRISTOL


Last December, The Spiralling collaborated with Music Ape Studios, which is run by members of the Crinkle Cuts, to put on a free one day mini festival. It was an amazing day with a whole host of different musicians who use the studio playing on two different stages. The vibes all day were super chilled, and we even managed to organise the weather so it stayed dry! It was a great opportunity for me to meet some new Bristol bands, and it was here that I met Mad Apple Circus.

Dubbington Esquire & Josh on stage

Back in 2002, four of the band (Stat, Luke, Jello and Josh – who all originally met in primary school) formed and played in a Ska/Punk band called Sullied. “Gigs were few and far between but ultimately all that mattered to us was jamming out in our sheds, and putting our spin on songs from our favourite bands – mostly NOFX, The Offspring and Lagwagon. Craig, who we meet in secondary school, joined the band a few years later as our singer and saxophonist. This in turn brought in our horn element and encouraged us to take things a bit more seriously.”

A couple more years rolled on and in that time they had started gigging regularly. “Realising the trumpet was a great addition to our outfit we got Emma in as a full-time trumpeter.  The trombone was the next instrument played by our good friend Tom. After he left, Steph took up the trombone in his place, also bringing her strong and soulful vocals along too. Lloyd had recently started learning the saxophone, which was good timing so we got him in. After three years of gigging and building our profile, Lloyd eventually called it in and went on to bigger better things. Jennie then joined as our new saxophonist. So now we’re a full on knees-up nine piece!” 


Playing on the Devil Kicks stage at Boomtown Fair

Mad Apple Circus describe their sound as “an original blend of horn-fuelled styles, built on Ska/Hip-Hop/Jazz and Latin grooves.” Owing to their unique sound and energetic performances, they have fast become festival favourites. Last year alone they performed at Secret Garden Party, Sunrise, BoomTown Fair, Symmetry Festival and Glastonbury to mention but a few. Not to mention sharing stages with some notable greats including UB40, The Beat, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, The Skints, Suburban Legends and Hot 8 Brass Band.

Beyond the usual headaches of being in a band Mad Apple Circus haven’t met with any serious struggles. “What we do, we do for the fun, and as cliché as it sounds, for the love. There is little money in what we do especially when you have to split it 9 ways. We simply enjoy playing music as friends, creating something unique and sharing it with the world. The buzz you get from playing on an open stage to sea of people is something else, there’s not a lot that compares. It’s out of our mutual enjoyment and respect for our craft that we keep doing what we do time after time. Whatever the weather! If it starts getting stressful we shrug it off and remind ourselves why we’re doing it.”


Madness occurring – the bands get up for a Halloween show

The band take their inspiration from anything and everything. “Our ideas come from all over. Luke even got the idea for a horn line when a few of us were cruising down a windy country lane. It can be as simple as that or sometimes you just develop a melody you’ve been humming all week. Beyond that I don’t think any of us have embarked on a deep spiritual journey. At least not yet…” 

The launch of their debut Self-Titled album in 2015 saw the band reach new heights. As well as making appearances on local radio shows, their music started receiving airtime across England and abroad, After a successful European tour in 2015, MAC are currently in the early stages of planning an American tour. “With thanks to social media platforms and friends over there we’ve started building a small fan base that side of the pond. To be able to follow that up and build on it would be incredible.” New videos are also on the way soon but everything else is under wraps and you’ll have to stay tuned to find out what it is. “With our calendar forever getting busier, it’s safe to say more will be added to this short story and personally I am really looking forward to living it.”

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