Apollo Vermouth Plays Nausicaa And Speaks On Ambient Music Expression
Riverwest DIY venue Nausicaa hosted an ambient music night Friday evening and had performances from Milwaukee artists So Zuppy and Apollo Vermouth, in addition to NYC touring acts There Are No Thieves In This Town and Johnnie Baker. Nausicaa opened as a venue this past fall.
Apollo Vermouth is Alisa Rodriguez, who has been performing and releasing music for about nine years. Her last album “Crashing Into Nowhere” came out in summer 2017.
Because ambient music often has sparse lyricism and focuses on immersion into soundscapes, it can be difficult for listeners to discern the subjective meanings behind an artist’s compositions. Rodriguez explains that her music is communicated less through words, but through feelings evoked by her material.
“It’s a very therapeutic thing for me. I was diagnosed with anxiety back in 2013, and making Fractured Youth and (Crashing into Nowhere) have been therapeutic experiences compared to going to see a therapist and talking out my problems. I have a hard time talking out exactly how I’m feeling and sometimes it just makes more sense to make music to express that. I’ve always been a very shy person growing up and music has been a way for me to do that instead of conjuring words that make sense in a therapist way. Doing Apollo, even playing out live, is a great experience and it means a lot to me when people are able to get something out of it. That means the world to me.”
Rodriguez explains how her songwriting is different in other projects she has been involved in.
“A lot of songs I’ve written in other bands are usually about something I’m going through or are about someone but twisted in a way. I wrote a song with my band Sundial Mottos, and it was about my friend who ended up passing away from drug addiction. The song is about how much he hurt his significant other because of it, and how everything in Milwaukee makes me think of him. A lot of those songs deal with how I feel about someone or myself.”
Despite how outlandish her music might be to some, Rodriguez has played a number of pop-oriented venues and has periodically breached from the “underground” nature of playing ambient music.
“I’ve played Cactus Club and I opened for John Maus at Turner Hall. That was such a surreal experience considering the music I make, and it meant the world to me to open for him. It just goes to show that the more you work at it and put yourself out there, you never know what could happen. It’s so cool to think that your music can influence someone in a way that they’re typically not exposed.”
Rodriguez believes that while genres will always be used to describe music, all music is capable of having some form of pop appeal.
“Almost everything can be slightly considered pop music if you think really hard about it. Like you can think something is slightly catchy. Not like I’m saying Apollo is Britney Spears or anything, but we all grew up listening to the radio and eventually you get to a point where you don’t like what’s on there so you want to listen to something different. Then you go on the Internet and research and find whatever niche you’re into.”
Apollo Vermouth is debating on what direction to take her sound next, and plans to take her time doing so.