utre_airparkbwpressphotobymelissamadisonfuller-1When beloved Nashville folk rock collective, The Apache Relay, made the difficult decision to disband at the end of 2015, bandmates and brothers Michael Ford, Jr. and Ben Ford decided it was time to explore uncharted territory.  “Ben and I are so passionate about crafting music and doing the band thing, it’s part of who we are,” explains Michael. “We knew we wanted to continue playing music,” adds Ben. “We didn’t know exactly what that would be, so we took a good chunk of time to write and demo songs without preconceived thoughts or filters in mind to see what came out. We scrapped some songs, kept some songs, and arrived at Airpark.”

While Apache Relay was known for its lush, and at times, elaborate wall of instrumentation, Airpark, the Fords’ new project, forges an exploratory path in an intriguing and minimalistic direction. “One thing we wanted to do, and something we’ve done throughout our careers, is to evolve and challenge ourselves and explore different musical landscapes,” says Michael. “We felt like going a more minimalist route was something we hadn’t tried before. It really informs the music we’re making and gives it a uniqueness we really like.”

“A lot of the songs were written with Michael on drums, and we experimented a lot with our ideas,” continues Ben. “We liked how it felt, it was a healthy challenge.” The duo’s setup and stripped-back production compels the brothers to place focus and emphasis on carefully crafting lyrics. “Having a lot of space in the songs really forces the melodies and lyrics to really be there, those things are more out front in that kind of production,” explains Michael. “The songs have to be stronger to stand on their own,” adds Ben. “We’ve reduced things down to the most basic elements.”

ON March 3rd, Airpark will release their debut EP, Early Works, Volume 1. “We co-produced the EP with Gavin Paddock, who engineered the last Apache Relay album we did. It was a dream come true,” says Ben. “Michael and I have been really fascinated with groove and rhythm lately, so there’s a lot of emphasis on percussion.” Even a cursory listen to the new album is proof positive of the brothers’ renewed spark of creativity. Currently on tour supporting the EP’s release, the Fords plan to record Volume 2 intermittently, and then hit the road again. For all you brokenhearted Apache Relay fans out there, pay attention: “We’re sprinkling in some Apache Relay tunes here and there, it’s been fun to change them up and present them in a way that feels fresh and familiar at the same time,” says Michael. “It’s been a blast. Be on the lookout for more new material.”

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3/2 – Asbury Park, NJ – The Saint

3/3 – New York, NY  – Pianos

3/4 – Charlottesville, VA – The Ante Room

3/5 – Raleigh, NC – The Pour House Music Hall

3/11 – Florence, AL – 116 East Mobile

3/19 – Baltimore, MD – The Metro Gallery

3/21 – Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern

3/23 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry

3/31 – Ocean Springs, MS – Government Street Grocery

4/1 – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa

4/2 – Houston, TX – Private Event

4/7 – New Orleans, LA – French Quarter Fest

4/19 – Oxford, MS – Proud Larry’s

4/28 – Jackson, TN – Barefoots Joe

5/6 – New Orleans, LA – House Of Blues

5/9 – Boston, MA – Middle East Upstairs

5/10 Brooklyn, NY – Gold Sounds

5/11 New York, New York – Rockwood Music Hall

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