Keeth Monta Apgar, master songwriter and multi-instrumentalist for the Northwest-based group, The Harmonica Pocket, delivers rich vocals in harmony with his wife, Nala Walla.
Recently, The Harmonica Pocket released their fourth third full-length children’s album called Sundrops. The recording of the album, as well as previous albums, took place in a solar powered studio on a tiny island in Puget Sound, Washington, where they live.
Prior to the release of their third album, Apple Apple, Keeth and Nala welcomed their first child, Montana, into the world. As a result, many of the songs reflect the experiences and bond they have as a family while also celebrating the natural world that surrounds them on their little island.
Below Keeth shares his thoughts on Father’s Day, and how he is inspired through creative play and his 4-year-old’s wonderfully magical imagination.
Stay tuned for a new video from The Harmonica Pocket, and keep up with the band through their official site, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can listen to and purchase Sundrops through iTunes, and Amazon.
KCG: What are you planning to do for Father’s Day?
KA: Kick back. Hang with my family. Eat some food. Play a little, dream a little, live a little.
KCG: What is the best thing about being a dad?
KA: For me the best thing about being a father is getting down on my belly and playing. I love entering the magical, non-linear world of kids and there is nothing more magical than a 4 year-old’s imagination. This creative play is very inspiring to me as an artist and as a grownup.
KCG: What is the hardest thing about being a dad (especially if you are a touring artist)?
KA: As I type, my son Montana approaches me and says “What are you doing, Papa?” I show him the computer screen with multiple windows open and point to the day’s to-do list. He looks it all over briefly and says “Work is play,” as he heads out the screen door. Yup.
The hardest thing about being a father is carving out time to be with my family, to be present and enjoy the moment and not be thinking about the varied tasks screaming for my attention. It’s maddening and I know I do not hold a monopoly on this aspect of parenthood. Kids are only young for a short time and then they’re off to live their own lives. I’m definitely aware that the childhood clock is ticking, and want to be as present as I can manage.
KCG: How often do you play music/sing with your son?
KA: In our tiny, one-room house we have instruments everywhere. They hang on the walls and are overflowing various baskets and crates, ready to bust out at any moment. I’ve found when musical instruments are handy, they get played the most. We sing and bang and toot almost everyday—some of these improvisations end up turning into songs on our albums.
KCG: Do your kids join you during performances?
KA: Our son was on stage in utero. After he was born we would tour with a nanny who would hang with him during shows.
One day, just after his 2nd birthday, the nanny bailed on us two hours before the show. When we arrived at the venue I set up an extra mic for him and set his ukulele on a chair. Twenty minutes before showtime he woke up from his nap and I told him he was going to play a show with us. He walked right up to his chair and sat down, ready to play. We laughed and told him we still had some time to use the potty and get ready for the show. He rocked it, and has been on stage with us ever since.