While for some, becoming a rock star is merely a childhood dream, the young GBS band Purple Apple has taken their vision to next level. They have made a commitment to keep their dream alive and eight years later experience performing on the big stage in reality. The girls’ journey began at age six, with no idea of how far their band would eventually go.
“We have all been really close friends for the longest time, I mean when we were children, small children,” singer-songwriter Olivia Eigel said. “We started writing when we were about six and Nonie played guitar so we just decided to start a little band.”
The band is comprised of freshmen, lead singer Olivia Eigel, guitarist Nonie Anderson, and Madi O’Brien on bass guitar and keyboard.
When the band got more serious, they turned to Eigel’s younger siblings’ babysitter Devin Ulery, an already experienced drummer, to keep the beat.
Purple Apple has performed at various Chicago venues. Their highlight was at Chicago’s legendary rock venue, The Metro, when in 2010 they became the youngest band to ever headline there.
Other major shows, according to the clan, include multiple performances at a small venue downtown called the Hide Out, and a concert at a Lollapalooza after party.
The group’s nonchalant attitude is reflected in their name Purple Apple. They call themselves Purple Apple, in honor of their favorite band, The Beatles, recording studio Apple Records. They all love the color purple and felt those two words fit well together. Purple Apple’s first recording atmosphere was very different from their idol band’s setting. The clan’s recording began as simply a trial, to experiment with their original sounds. The band began their journey from Eigel’s uncle’s studio already set up in the house.
“Livy asked to record one of our first songs, ‘Life as it is’ with her uncle who has a recording studio in his house,” Anderson explains. “So when we did that, they noticed something, like a spark of talent or whatever. Ever since then we picked up a manager and it just grew.”
The group graduated to recording in their current studio, Shirk, in downtown Chicago. Purple Apple primarily writes their own songs, producing twenty original songs so far, because they believe that it’s unique for such a young band to do so.
The band’s method of composing their original songs is a reflection of their laid approach to music. The members agree that a lot of their production happens quite spontaneously.
“We sat down, one time to write a song, with a piece of paper with words we have always wanted to use in a song and just kind of filled in the blanks there,” Eigel said.
Though the girls describe the studio as being very non-hectic and relaxed, there can be a lot of long days. It usually takes eight hours, one day’s of work, to produce a full song. The girls go about creating their music in a very natural way.
“There is no process for writing,” Anderson said. “It’s more of a inspiration, pick it up why don’t we just write a song? […] There was this one time for a song that we sat down with a piece of paper with words we have always wanted to use in a song and we just kind of filled in the blanks there. […] We just lay it out however the music comes to us. Sometimes the music comes first, sometimes the lyrics come first, or sometimes, they come together.”
Anderson explains where the band’s ideas for their music come from.
“We listen to any type of music and when we listen to certain music and really listen to the song, we let it touch us,” Anderson said. “[…] We let other writers influence the way we write. The music is there, you just got to let it in.”
According to Ulery, their music is a mix of the members of the band and that’s what makes performing it so great.
“We all have a clear style and when we put it together, that’s the style we create,” Ulery said.
As the band developed and became part of the music industry, they had to deal with facing adversity in the competitive atmosphere. The girls describe how the music industry is a really tough place to be. They’ve learned to be more adult and have been forced to grow up.
“We’ve been rejected before by record labels, and we’ve been turned down,” said O’Brien. “After that, it’s such a let down. It’s discouraging. […] That’s the only way to put it. After that, it was really hard getting back, but you have to do it. You can’t just stop.”
The group actually views rejection as progressive and strengthening. “After we got rejected this one time, we went out to celebrate,” Anderson said. “You know, ‘yay for rejection’! It taught us one more thing about life.”
O’Brien highlighted that one of the most interesting aspects of being part of a young band is experienced off the stage. O’Brien has seen a lot of value in meeting other high school bands, because they give Purple Apple ideas and motivate them to share their music.
The group does not know what to expect and where they will fit into the musical scene at South, but believes it will generally be supported.
“At GBS it will definitely be more accepted,” Anderson said. “It’s good that people know in school, it’ll be more supported. You always start out as a band living off your fans. That’s how you are successful, locally. School is our little community, so it’ll be good if people know about it. […] We’re still in search of our audience.”
Junior Mackenzie O’Brien believes that her sister’s band will have a lot of success at South.
“With all of the hard work and dedication they put into every song and performance, there is no doubt in my mind that they will do very well as a band at South,” Mackenzie said.
Purple Apple places little concern in their future, according to Ulery. Ulery emphasizes that their laid back attitude is what essentially allows them to maximize their enjoyment of the experience.
“We seem to just stay in the moment,” Ulery said. “We don’t look to far ahead, maybe just a few months. That’s pretty much how we are. That’s really all you need, though.”
For samples of their music and information about the band visit purpleapplemusic.com.