The first time I heard Omar Apollo's "Brakelights," I was sitting on my front porch, watching bugs chase each other down the steps as a pair of birds chirped in the distance.
The warm guitar tones coming through my headphones matched the pleasant moment so well that I didn't even realize it was a song about Omar's shitty car until I interviewed him later. I was a fan as soon as I heard the gorgeous guitar solo that floats in at the 1:44 mark, but the fact that this guy flipped a song concept about a car that turns off when you go too fast into an emotionally nuanced ballad like this is even more impressive. Keep an eye on Omar, he's on to something.
Listen to the premiere of "Brakelights" below and continue for our interview with the promising 20-year-old Indiana artist.
You've been releasing a pretty steady stream of music recently. What about this song, specifically, makes you excited to share it?
I just really enjoyed it sonically [laughs]. When I first put the guitar over the drums I just kept playing it over and over because I really liked the groove it gave off. I wrote to it right away but I only had the hook recorded, "Days by, baby I don't got no brakelights."
I made a video for it even though the song was unfinished. I didn't think I was gonna to make it a full song but my friends loved it and told me I had to finish writing it [laughs]. I had my friend Iz Burns put horns on it because I thought it would sound really cool with the guitar. I usually only use my bass and guitar to make music so it was cool to be able to get more instruments in the music and you'll definitely hear more horns on my stuff in the future.
I heard you say this is one of the first songs you made where you were honest with yourself. Can you talk about that breakthrough a little?
Yeah, I usually don't talk about my car too much 'cause it sucks [laughs]. It turns off on the highway and I almost died like four times because of it, but I didn't even plan on making a song about my car, I just sort of freestyle'd it when I was listening to the beat and it came out of me naturally so I guess I subconsciously wanted to talk about it. My friends thought it was really funny because they're always in the car when it shuts off and we have to wait like 6 minutes before I can turn it back on so they've gotten pretty used to it shutting off now.
I first listened to this today on a warm summer evening on my porch with birds chirping in the background and it was perfect. If you had to pick an ideal setting for people to hear this song the first time, what would it be?
I would hope that they had just ate some food and are kind of full and just laying in their room with some friends that they share all their favorite music with. Oh, and it has to be kind of hot in the room with the windows open and you can hear your neighbor yelling at his wife and it's gotta be sunny too, but it would be cool if everybody was laying down in different parts of the room and then the song can start and I would prefer nobody have their shoes on just like in their socks or something.
Anything else you'd like our readers to know?
I hope you guys can play my music on the way home from work to watch your favorite Netflix original or when you're studying in the library.