Photography: Nisha Sondhe
The Alternative Press Music Awards return to Cleveland this summer after being moved to Columbus last year to make way for the Republican National Convention. Quicken Loans Arena will host the APMAs on Monday, July 17.
Performers include Korn, Machine Gun Kelly, The Pretty Reckless, Against Me!, and Bone Thugs. Panic! At The Disco, A Day To Remember, Good Charlotte, and The Deftones are just a few of the nominees vying for recognition in categories like Song Of The Year to Most Dedicated Fanbase.
PressureLife snagged AP boss Mike Shea for a Q&A about the upcoming event:
PressureLife: Can you talk about being shut out by the RNC last year? What happened, how it affected the APMAs, and how you’re bringing the show back to Cleveland?
Alternative Press: “We heard after the show at the Q in 2015 that the RNC was gonna come to Cleveland and it was very possible they would take over everything downtown and we were probably going to have to move our show. We looked around in Pittsburgh and Detroit, we had some industry people suggest we move to L.A., but we wanted to keep it in Ohio. We thought, ‘Why don’t we make our show have a presidential campaign theme, to match the election? Since everybody in Columbus is coming to Cleveland for the convention, why don’t we go to Columbus?’ We swap it out, so we have a party in Columbus while the parents are out of town.It turned out to be great. [After the RNC,] the City of Cleveland came to the table and said they really want to support the show and use it as an example of what Cleveland can do with music, outside of just having concerts. I’m really happy to be back.”
PressureLife: How did Machine Gun Kelly and Bone Thugs end up on the bill, the Cleveland connection? What was the thinking behind bringing rappers to a metal/punk audience?
Alternative Press: “When I was growing up in high school in the ‘80s, kids were into to mostly one kind of music. You could tell what everyone listened to by how they looked; they sat at their own lunch tables with the other kids who listened to the same kind of music. Today, everything is different because of streaming services and iPods, the mixtape culture became the norm. There are no guilty pleasures anymore, everybody kinda likes everything, so you can be into hard rock but also like pop and people don’t really judge you for it. The hip-hop community has had a foundation and always been a part of the alternative community. Many of these fans that may like Fall Out Boy also like a lot of hip-hop.
“Bone was going to play with Taking Back Sunday and had to pull out from the 2015 show for an emergency and we always said we wanted to get them back, and we got them this year. MGK was with us the first year; he’s so incredibly talented and has been awesome to work with. He’s professional, and he just brings it every single time.”
PressureLife: Tell us about the grant program you’re collaborating on with Hopeless and Sub City Records.
Alternative Press: “Hopeless and Sub City wanted to do something a little bit different to try and get fans to start non-profit organizations and be a lot more involved rather than just commenting or liking things on Facebook. They made this challenge for fans to write a grant and submit it. Whichever one wins, they’re going to give a nice chunk of money to someone to start their organization. Soupy from The Wonder Years is their face for it and he’ll be directing the whole thing. I think Hopeless is being very forward-thinking in the way they want to do it.”
Voting for award winners is open now. You can vote for your favorite nominees on AP’s website, altpress.com until June 30.