What is your full name?
Do you have any aliases?
I mostly go by my last name "Stout" or any variation of the phrase involving my last name.
What bands are you actively involved with?
As of this interview's launch date, I'm solely involved in my project 'Apeiron Bound'. Never say never on getting your toes dipped into other waters [projects] whether for guest/session work or being a member of another project sometime in the future. AB remains my musical priority indefinitely.
What was the first instrument that you played?
The first instrument I learned was the piano when I was around 6-7 years old. I dabbled with it briefly but then quickly got bored of it. Thankfully, I still remember how to play keys and a few other noodles here and there. The rest had been transferred into my predominant instrument, the guitar. Looking back, I wish I had stuck with piano a lot more as a kid while getting into the guitar the way I did equally. Then I'd be a lot more versatile of an instrumentalist [laughs]. I was more of a hyperactive kid during my much younger years leading up to middle and high school. I was more into skateboarding, dirt biking, snowboarding in the winters, as well as video games. Especially action adventure and skateboarding video games. Age 15-16 (high school days) was when I hardcore got into guitar, while picking it up first at age 12 in the 7th grade. 16 was when I knew I wanted to write music for the rest of my life.
Tell me about one of your first musical memories?
That is a toss up between getting into video games and a family friend's brother playing guitar and getting hooked on flirting with the idea of playing guitar. For the hard rock/metal side of things, that came the moment I heard Dead Kennedys "Police Truck" on my THPS1 game for the first time. Around that time, I grew an interest on wanting to pick up the guitar from a family friend that played stuff like the Tony Hawk games I played as well as some of the more hardcore stuff. The whole idea of being able to play THAT type of music and not just hear it intrigued me as a kid. I also had a babysitter and their brother that got me into bands such as Korn as well as Kittie being the first all female metal band I've heard. And the rest just gets progressively deeper into the musical rabbit hole. From there, my guitar teachers Craig Palmer and Guy Unger [Cape Fear Music Center] got me into the world of prog learning songs from Rush to Dream Theater as well as introducing jazz theory and the rest is history.
What was the name of the first band you were in?
I had little projects I've started up with some musicians that more so turned into jams. Some of them even came with some pretty neat recording ideas that didn't go anywhere monumental but was still a fun process. The first OFFICIAL band I was involved with was a prog rock band called 'The Mourning'. I had joined them back in February 2018 shortly after their EP "Theosis" came out. In a way, I became step daddy for that record [laughs]. With that project, we played a number of shows from local gigs to opening up for 'The Three Tremors' (metal project featuring Tim "Ripper" Owens) as well as playing 'Wacken Metal Battle USA' back at one of the local venues we had called 'The Verona' a month before the pandemic really took off in early 2020. Over time, the project was on hold as well as other priorities in life to take care of. Over time, AB became the sole focus for myself. Wishing everyone in 'The Mourning' the best on their endeavors. Everyone in that band is tremendously talented and looking forward to seeing what comes from them next.
Tell me about the genesis of Apeiron Bound.
Musically, the project had been around long before its covert birth in 2018. From new ideas I'm always piling to ideas spanning as far back as the late 2000's/early 2010's, I had all these different musical ideas ranging from extreme metal touching on black/death metal elements to some of the more avant garde prog noodle fests to symphonic and new age elements and everything else in between. I could never 100% settle for ONE SOUND. I've always wanted to explore different territories as well as treat the compositions like a storytelling soundscape. Much like movie and video game soundtracks but with my approach to prog metal. I wanted an outlet to express my creativity but for a long time, I had a hard time finding the musicians to back it up as well as vibe with. Moving from NC to FL in 2015 helped in a lot of ways but it wasn't until I got more involved with the Florida scene as well as going to ProgPower USA and 70,000 Tons of Metal meeting new people that the doors started opening more. Some people still get hit with the curve balls with some of my music but at this point, I feel it's a lot more accepted overall despite some of its weirdness as opposed to back in the late 2000's/early 2010's. I also had some refining on my own to do but then again, we're always working on ways to improve everyday [laughs].
What inspired the name Apeiron Bound?
How long did it take you to write and record 'Multiplicity'?
The music recording took from late May 2018 to September 2019. Then we did the main audio engineering and mastering from then to around late summer 2020. As far as the compositions, half of the music had already been written while the other half were ideas I'd laid out but refined during the 2018-2019 timeline while Michael used that time to write out the storyline and our back and forths for song titles, themes, etc. As far as the theme of "Multiplicity", we wanted that theme to align with the theme of 'yin-yang', 'organized chaos', 'balance' in terms of the musical soundscapes, lyricism that could resonate with the listener, as well as any way to make a strong statement for a debut record.
Do you have any non-metal musical inspirations?
Mostly video game music from franchises such as 'The Legend of Zelda', 'Final Fantasy', 'Assassin's Creed', and 'The Elder Scrolls' series. Most specifically, 'Skyrim'. I also like electronic music from 'Gunship', 'Carpenter Brut', and 'Scandroid'. Also, if you count jazz fusion rock, 'Special Providence' are one of the most unbelievable bands in the genre and super underrated. They utilize metal elements but the way they write is way more influenced in the jazz fusion realm. Jakub Zytecki is also someone that's been doing amazing work with his latest solo releases, which are way more edm and fusion in writing. His roots are metal but he transcends beyond genres with his compositions and the way he utilizes his guitar playing and electronic synthesizer and keyboard work. 'Two Steps from Hell' and 'Hans Zimmer' for the cinematic symphonic side of things. Any sort of new age meditative music you scroll through on YouTube can spark some ideas for the wall of sound type of production as well as its soothing elements.
Is there a non-metal song that you'd like to do a cover of?
One idea I have is a song I used to always hear as a child. "One Headlight" by The Wallflowers would definitely make for an interesting pick, if done in a way that'd justify the rendition while making it our own. Of course, doing a medley of some Zelda video games or anything from the collection would be cool. Definitely Incubus from the "A Crow Left of the Murder..." era. It's hard to pick which one from that record. There's "Sick, Sad, Little World", "Agoraphobia", "Talk Show on Mute", and of course "Megalomaniac".
What band have you played with that has really impressed you with their live show?
Referring to my days with 'The Mourning', I'd have to say 'Silenmara', 'All Hail the Queen', and 'Irra's One' personally got me hooked the most for their interactive performances.
Do you have a favorite venue to play at?
During my days of 'The Mourning', the venue we had called 'The Verona' in the New Port Richey area was a nice, homey place to play. 'The Crowbar' is another staple from the Ybor/Tampa Bay area.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
My main thing is keeping to myself to get mentally prepped, lots of stretching (especially the hands), finger warm ups on the guitar, and getting into the zone before go time.
The year is 2010. Where are you at and what are you listening to?
What advice would you give young musicians that are just starting out in the music business?
Nail the business side of it down as best as you can. The sooner you realize that your band is a business, the sooner you'll be able to navigate through the bullshit. Composing the music is roughly 5% of the "music business". Everything else is learning the PR game, funding for merch, music videos, learning to set up shows, learning the ways of the digital world, and everything else in between. This is also a good time to learn your strengths and weaknesses. In the generation of "jack of all trades", there's still gonna be something you're weak at. That's perfectly fine and shows that you're human. Triple down on your strengths, work on your weaknesses the best you can, and hire somebody that can really help out in your weaknesses. Can't do concept art? Hire a good artist. Can't do film? Hire a good videographer. Can't do accounting? Hire someone. I'm not saying you can't learn some of these yourself, which you should try to the best of your ability. What I'm saying is having a solid team goes a long way. You don't need to spend top dollar on the best of the best kind of people. At the same time, the type of work they do and how good they are matter. Especially with how visual people are these days. They're one big part of the puzzle but also make sure you're also building a genuine relationship with these people and they vibe off of what you're trying to accomplish with your project. Also, never stop learning. The moment you feel you've learned everything or "hit a peak", take a step back and reevaluate unless you enjoy the skyrocket speed of going downhill.
What is an absolute band killer?
Lack of communication blended with the lack of comprehension and holding oneself accountable. If a person wants to TRULY understand, they'll put in the effort despite their obstacles. If they're too stuck in a rut or just don't care, they'll show that through their actions. That's when it becomes apparent that they either gain enough self awareness to step down or you let them go. The sooner the root of the problem is yanked out, the sooner things can move along.
Have you ever recorded a song that you really didn’t like, but somebody else in the band really did?
There isn't a song we recorded for this project that I didn't like, per se. However, there are little things I think about now with some riffs and some production aspects I wish I could've done differently. Then again, that comes as you grow in your craft. You're never 100% satisfied with anything you do. The curses of obsessive compulsory perfectionism [laughs].
What’s the longest time you’ve gone without bathing?
A couple days and that was only when I'd be really sick, like with a high enough fever and cold to be bedridden. Otherwise, I made an effort to bathe daily.
Do unicorns sleep standing up?
Only if you imagine it [laughs].
You’re driving cross-country and you can only listen to one album the whole time. What album will it be?
Devin Townsend "Ocean Machine: Biomech". Hands down!
Rammstein or Slipknot (if you had to choose)?
That's a tough one [laughs]. I'd say Rammstein for the scarcity of their live shows in the United States compared to Slipknot despite both having fantastic theatrics.
Waffles or Pancakes (if you had to pick one)?
PANCAKES! HANDS DOWN!
Star Wars or Star Trek (if you had to choose)?
Star Wars for the first 6 movies. Star Trek from the 1980's to 1990's era.
Favorite band t-shirt you own?
Persefone have some of the best t-shirt designs from any metal band merch arsenal. One design I really love is from their "Truth Inside the Shades" collection.
Hands down, the hibachi steak and chicken from any Japanese Steakhouse. I'm also very fond of chicken burrito bowls with brown rice, black beans, bacon, onions, jalapeños, hot sauces, and whatever else my mind comes up with that day.
Currently, I got "Shredding Light: How My Experiences in Today's Music Industry Can Help You Push Past Your Own Artificial Limits" by Charles Caswell on my Kindle. Very insightful and helps understand the modern music industry.
For comedy, I'm a sucker for 90's comedy. "Tommy Boy" and "Black Sheep" are some of my favorites of all time. For action, I like some of the ones starring Jet Li, such as "The One", which had a soundtrack that elementary and middle school Stout jammed hard to. "Romeo Must Die", "Hero", and "Unleashed" from the Jet Li catalogue are also on the list.
From the Devin Townsend catalogue, his solo project for "Ocean Machine: Biomech". From his days in Strapping Young Lad, "Alien" hands down. That record in particular could come out today and still sound fresh. Hardly any record that's come out with that much brutality and crisp production and that's mid-2000's we're talking about. As far as Ocean Machine, that really showcased his ability to go from new age to arena rock to metal at any given time. And for a debut record, it sucks it took so long to take off. However, I'm glad Hevy Devy is getting the recognition he deserves in the metal community overall and not just among a select group of people these days.
Many, many thanks to Mr. Stout for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate it! Also, Black Sheep happens to be one of my favorite movies. Apeiron Bound’s debut full-length release is just beyond the horizon (Aug. 26th) and well worth the wait. Layered Reality Productions will be bringing you this release in all of its glory. In the meantime, there are a couple of singles available for your listening pleasure.
~El Pedo Caliente (aka Uncle James host of the Fistful of DOOM show)