Shadow Estate – Interview – Thanks for Asking

Written by on March 26, 2024

Shadow Estate – Interview – Thanks for Asking – by Liam Sweeny.

We connected with Chris Appel from the band Shadow Estate. This is what he had to say.

RRX: Who are you? I don’t mean philosophically, but for real, who are you? Are you a solo artist? Are you a band? Do you do originals or covers, or both? Tell me one thing few people know about you? (for bands, pick one member, whoever’s got the coolest thing)

CA: I’m Chris Appel and I’m the bassist and one of many songwriters in Shadow Estate. We mostly do original songs. Progressive based rock I guess. Even though we’re nominated as best prog rock band, I’m not sure I’d really call it that. I’m sure there’s a lot of people who don’t know anything about me or the band, so come see us live!

RRX: Do you have anything out there for the hordes to consume? What do you have? (most current thing) And do you have any shows or events coming out next month?

CA: I love the term ‘consume’ lol. It’s so emotionless. We have stuff on our website Shirts, stickers and of course, music. You can also stream and download our music at We’re playing at Putnam Place in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, March 30.

RRX: With services like Spotify, streaming revenue can be pretty dismal. Without spilling state secrets, do you have a promotional strategy? Anything work well? Anything you recommend other musicians avoid from your own experience.

CA: We’re trying to figure that out. I always tell people to buy directly from bands at their shows.

RRX:  Our style comes from the extension of our influences. It’s like an evolution. We’re influenced, and it inspires us to influence. What can you say about your influences, and what you feel you’ve done with their influence as a musician or band? Have you extended their work?

CA: There’s so many different influences in our band – progressive, ska, classic rock (you know, real classic rock from the 70’s), even theatre and rap. Elements from all of these can work together. My earliest bass influences were Geddy Lee, Steve Harris and Chris Squire. Guys who played a lot of notes lol. Discovering Tony Levin and Leland Sklar changed how I played bass. They didn’t need to play a lot of notes to play a great bass line. So I think having many influences of many styles gives you the skills to come up with what works best for the song. Our singer, Agatha, grew up singing along to all kinds of music, from folk groups like Peter, Paul, and Mary, to The Cranberries, Queen, and Iron Maiden. She also spent a lot of years doing musicals in a variety of style. We’re an eclectic mix of musical dna.

RRX: Part of learning to be a musician is to fall in love with a song, an album, and hammer away at your instrument until you can play that whole thing. What was that song for you? Was there a hardest part?

CA: I’ve been playing for almost 40 years and I’m still hammering away. I remember early on playing certain songs I didn’t think I’d ever learn. The hardest part is improving. I don’t think I could narrow it down to just one song I loved. As far as albums, brave by Marillion is my desert island album. For Agatha it was a combination of “Zombie” by The Cranberries, “Barracuda” by Heart, “Aces High” by Iron Maiden, and “Heaven on their Minds” from Jesus Christ Superstar (the Carl Anderson version).

RRX: Playing out is tricky because you never know what’s going to happen when you get there. Sometimes everything goes wrong. What was your worst show like?

CA: Like when only 5 people show up, or your fingers stop moving or your gear stops working? Everyone has had a night like that. It’s frustrating and embarrassing but ultimately you forget about it. Not knowing what’s going to happen is part of the journey. When you’re playing with the right people, sometimes you end up having the most fun when things go wrong, because in the end, you’re there to make music and have a good time – and live performances always bring the unexpected. You learn to let go and trust in your band mates to get through it as a team.



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