Apollo Vermouth - Music For The Missing

Image: Tyler Chambers

Image: Tyler Chambers

Alisa Rodriguez is a Milwaukee native. Her solo project, Apollo Vermouth, focuses on nostalgic, dreamy, experimental pop music. Although, fans could debate sub-genres until their faces turn blue. One thing for certain is that Apollo Vermouth is involved with more than just music lately.

Alisa started playing guitar at ten years old and claims that the first Franz Ferdinand record changed her life. She grew up listening to Motown music like The Temptations and Disco. As a teenager, Rodriguez loved 60's and 70's music, such as The Beatles.  

“Whenever there's something on my mind and I can't seem to express how I feel, I make music. I never feel satisfied when I make music for the sake of making music,” explains Rodriguez.

On February 24th, she uploaded a three track release entitled “Don’t Forget The People Around You”. The album itself is dedicated to the people that were forgotten about. In particular, Johnny Gosch who disappeared in Iowa 30 years ago.

The suburban shoe-gaze artist attempted setting up a screening at the Oriental Theatre for the documentary “Who Took Johnny”, a film about Johnny Gosch. Unfortunately, the screening never happened.

Rodriguez elaborated, “I didn't get enough people to pre-order tickets. I had to get 100 reserves in order for the screening to take place and I think I only got 10 or so. One of directors of the film emailed me a link to watch a stream of it. It's an incredible documentary. I'd like to show a screening of it sometime at the Borg Ward once it's released on-demand, hopefully very soon.”

I asked Rodriguez what introduced her to the idea of missing people and Johnny Gosch.
“Two summers ago I got hooked on this show called Disappeared. It's about people who've gone missing. There's commentary of family members and usually police officers or private investigators who go in detail about the missing person case.  Netflix used to have every episode and I watched almost all of them.”

Image:   Joe Kirschling

After an Apollo Vermouth set, Rodriguez cracked open a PBR and went into detail.
“I felt hopeless, sitting in front of my TV, 
hearing these family members go on about how they can't find their loved ones. It’s heartbreaking. I would not wish on my worst enemy to have someone in their life to go missing unexpectedly and to never have closure.”

I couldn’t help but wonder, why the case of Johnny Gosch in particular? Rodriguez divulged, “The Johnny Gosch case is insane. He was kidnapped at twelve years old in 1982 by a sex trafficking network. There's rumors of him being passed around by high-profile politicians and rich men. His mother believes he's still alive. That case really sparked me to write “Don't Forget the People Around You.”

Plain and simple, Rodriguez says this album is about being grateful, “In 2014, the NCIC reported that 635,155 people are missing in the United States. 466,949 are juveniles under the age 18 and 168,206 are over the age of 18. It's easy to take life for granted and forget about cases like this where people your age, your parents age, or your siblings age disappear forever. This album is about remembering these victims and embracing who you are and what you have in this life.”

Her efforts towards spreading the word on missing people go beyond the music. “Don't Forget The People Around You” is available for $5 on Bandcamp. All of the proceeds are sent directly to the National Center of Exploited and Missing ChildrenApollo Vermouth curates music that paints vivid and clear landscapes in your mind. By supporting her music, you are supporting a very overlooked and powerful cause.