Apes of the State is an independant Lancaster, PA based folk/pop/punk band consisting of: April Hartman (guitar, banjo, vocals, songwriting), Dan Ebersole (mandolin, guitar), Mollie Swartz (violin, keys), and Maddy Scott (vocals, bells, guitar).
April's first release, "All I Did This Summer Was Go to Rehab (2014)," can be self-described as equal parts cringey and genius. It documents her first ever experiments in songwriting and sobriety after uprooting her life in New Jersey to start over post-rehab in Lancaster, PA. A short EP of songs, "Things I Never Meant to Tell You" followed in 2015 featuring songs that would later be worked into the full band known as "Apes of the State." 2016 brought the band's first recording, "This City Isn't Big Enough" which was a far leap both instrumentally and quality wise from the lofi solo bedroom recordings.
Their sound is very lyrical and melody driven, influenced by storyteller singer/songwriters such as Paul Baribeau and Everyone Except Me. Apes of the State takes the simplicity and straightforward, emotional writing style of these influences and combines it with the drive and power of a full acoustic band.
Their sound is under constant evolution but is deeply rooted in punk rock, folk, and bluegrass. It uniquely stands out among all of these genres, often relying on catchy lyrical hooks reminiscent of 90's pop punk--but speaking a new message to a new generation of millennials.
As a band, they are driven by DIY ethics with a goal of helping as many people as possible with their music. They sing songs about whatever makes them feel things, like love, heartbreak, student loan debt, regret, and overcoming addiction.
They have performed across the US anywhere and everywhere, from basements, backyards, and living rooms to the Warped Tour and TEDx stages. The members are also heavily involved in activism for people recovering from substance use disorder. In 2016, April and Dan founded an organization called Second Chance to Play which aims to help individuals in rehabs and in recovery communities participate in the music scene of their hometown Lancaster.
Apes of the State has been interviewed by/featured in the following publications:
A Fistful of Vinyl
Live Session - "I Listened"
Giving Addicts a Second Chance Through Music - Apes of the State - TEDx Lancaster
WITF Fm Music, Central PA
WITF Music - Apes of the State
Listen to the full interview below:
Punk With A Camera, Houston, TX
DIY Sessions - Timeline
DIY Sessions - Plate Glass Apology
The Houston Press, Houston, TX
Friday Free for All
PunkOut! Blog, Philadelphia, PA
Artist Chat - Apes of Second Chance to Play
FLY Magazine, Lancaster, PA
Apes of the State on 30 Bucks Vinyl Podcast
Eat Sleep Breathe Music, Tri-State Area
Song of the Day: Apes of the State "I Listened"
Speak Into My Good Eye, NJ
SIMGE Exclusive Premiere - Sober Intentions
Independent Music News, UK
Rock Isn't Just for Boys II