by Matt Conner
Jordan Phillips and Adam Stark, the men behind Apollo LTD, never set out to make Christian music, per se. They’ve just always obeyed their creative instincts and interests.
“Nothing really feels off limits to us when we create. We’re open to exploring anything,” says Stark.
The longtime friends earned their stripes together with The Kicks, a successful stint that saw them opening for John Mayer, playing Vans Warped Tour, and earning placements on numerous hit TV shows. After years of writing, recording, and touring, the pair felt like they wanted to take a different musical route than their bandmates. After some difficult discussions, Stark and Phillips left to pursue music with a newfound freedom.
At first, the duo invited numerous friends to make music with them. They produced random projects, co-wrote with each other and their friends, and generally just tried to enjoy the ability to make music without boundaries. Apollo LTD came into view with two initial EPs that mimicked the path already taken.
“For the first year and a half, we kind of picked up where we left off with our old band, in the sense of general market touring and that whole thing,” says Phillips. “That’s fine. We’re comfortable there since that is where we cut our teeth, but we’ve never really created a delineation in our minds between Christian or mainstream. It’s all just music.
“If you’re a believer, then you will create art that reflects your life and reflects the things you love, the things you feel, the things you’re passionate about,” he continues. “So even though we were in the general market space, we were always Christian dudes in a band and that’s where God had us.”
The pair eventually signed with Residence Music, an imprint of Centricity that allows artists of faith to craft music that allows for greater expression or complexity than perhaps a typical Christian radio format might appreciate. Yet even with that as their home, Phillips says it still didn’t strike him to seek out a specifically Christian audience.
“It never crossed our minds that it was even on the table. Even though we were signed to Residence, which half of the staff there is Centricity, it never occurred to us that could work. But of course, if they’re into it, we’re all about it. We had no qualms with that. We’d just never thought about it. The song was “Gold” and when it went to radio, the light bulb went on for me and Adam.”
Watch the video for their hit song “Gold” here:
The only thing that matters to both Phillips and Stark is that they’re able to write what they want to write, regardless of where it fits or what label it earns. Forget categorization. It’s all about creativity. The approach is built on the belief that if the band loves it and is proud of it, then it’s that much more likely to connect in an authentic, meaningful way with the listener.
“Maybe there’s a space of believers who also want to participate in our career,” says Stark “If they want to be a part of the conversation and it’s resonating with them, we want to go there, too. The older we’ve gotten, we’ve realized that we want to connect with those who want to connect with the art. So we’re going to our listeners and serving as many as we can. If that’s in a club in Atlanta or New Orleans, that’s awesome. If that’s at a Christian radio station in Dallas or St. Louis, we’re there. It’s all fresh for us.”