“I miss the red jackets, but a lot of people thought we looked like a bunch of twats.”
Every now and then, a new band rises up from nowhere. All of a sudden, everyone in the industry is talking about them; their songs are all over BBC Introducing, and indie Twitter is full of it. APRE are one of those bands. Playing a bar at Live At Leeds Festival in 2018, the duo had modest beginnings. Going on to support the likes of indie giants LANY, Sam Fender, and Inhaler, the alt-pop act filled a headline gig Scala in London earlier on this year, before “COVID took a shit on everything.”
Since the release of debut track ‘All Yours’, APRE have subtly revolutionised their sound with every release, with tracks such as ‘Go Somewhere’ shining with a revitalised electronic edge that has since encouraged a multitude of floor-filling remixes. With mini-album, Always In My Head, set for release on the 6th of November, FUZZY chatted with Charlie Brown and Jules Konieczny about 'Without Your Love', James Blunt, and those silly red jackets.
“Always In My Head, the mini-album is eight tracks. It’s just a collection of songs mainly about being free and running away. Jules is quite a positive person, and I can be quite negative. Especially with lockdown, I was looking at the world in a very pissed off way, so the artwork is essentially him looking into my head. That's why we wanted to call it Always In My Head.
When we were writing a lot of the songs, we were writing it to feel free and to get away. When you're really into writing a song, your brain is just in another place, and I think that's why we love it so much. It's a really good way to escape.”
The present is certainly a difficult time to be releasing music, least of all for indie and alt-pop acts such as APRE. Recognising the difficulties the music industry is facing in this COVID-induced state, the duo decided on a mini-album rather than an EP or a full-length LP:
“I think if you're putting your album out this year, you're slightly shooting yourself in the foot. You can't tour it or do anything with it, so I think we'll put an album out next year. This year has been a bit of a write-off, but we wanted to put out a body of work that wasn't a debut album, and I felt like this was the closest way of doing it”, Charlie explains.
In early 2018, APRE’s debut single, ‘All Yours’, had less than one thousand streams on Spotify. Since releasing seminal tracks such as ‘Everybody Loves You’, ‘Come Down’, and ‘Without Your Love’, re-released as a single last week to promote the mini-album, APRE have been on an upwards trajectory, accumulating a solid fanbase very quickly.
“It hasn't felt quick, because we've done a lot of touring. Last year I feel like we went around Europe and the UK about twenty times, and as much as it's bloody fun, it's also a little bit tiring”, Jules states.
“It's definitely not felt like a quick process. I feel like it's been a while, but when we did Scala in London, which is like eight-hundred cap, that took a year and a half to get that many people to come and see us. I think, if you look at lots of other bands, I think that is a quick turnaround. That was a point where I thought: this could actually work out”, Charlie elaborates.
“I feel like the best way to gauge how well you're doing is how many tickets you're selling, but because we can't put any tickets on sale at the moment, we kind of don't have that reassurance.”
On the live front, APRE boast energy. Charlie has a habit of dancing around the stage in a way that would suggest they’ve been performing live for much longer than they have. Jules, on the other hand, is comparatively timid, but it’s easy to see that he’s the grounding force of the duo. Tracks including the instantly lovable ‘All Yours’ and ‘Everybody Loves You’ have garnered the most enthusiastic response from many audiences over the last couple of years:
“I think the song that goes down best is the new single, ‘Without Your Love’. Any song where you have a chant…there's that riff in ‘Without Your Love’ that’s bam bam bam, and we've got ‘Gap Year’ with the la la la, or ‘Come Down’ is quite chanty. It's like a football crowd, which is good because it was on Fifa as well. Get that audience participation, you know. It's like Coldplay when they do that Viva La Vida tune, you know? Everyone goes mental. Anything that can unite the band with the audience I think is my favourite, but I'd say ‘Without Your Love’ is my favourite to play live. That was a really long answer”, muses Charlie.
Anticipating the perception of songs before they’ve received their live debut, Jules continues: “We wrote a song quite recently, but we've never played it live. It's called ‘Friday’, and that's definitely going to be my favourite song to play live, but that's already in the set. ‘Dreamworld’ we play last, and that's always really fun because we all go a little bit mental.”
When APRE first performed, their recognisable, quirky trait was that they wore matching red jackets on stage. Quizzed on the reasoning behind this, Jules states:
“We wanted a bit of a comfort blanket because Charlie had never performed before our first gig. Both of us wearing that felt a little bit like we had a bit of a barrier between us and the audience, but also it was about setting us apart a little bit. We quickly figured out that you can't really go many places with a red jacket.”
“The main reason we wore it was to show we're a duo. We play with two other lads on stage but they're session players, they're not in the band, so we just wanted to have a clear visual. I miss the red jackets, but a lot of people thought we looked like a bunch of twats.”
When it comes to personal tastes, Jules is a bit of a Radiohead fanatic. Quizzed on the one musician he would like to have dinner with, he nervously answered:
“I think it would be a very odd dinner but I'd go for Thom Yorke from Radiohead.”
Labelling it as a “sad” choice, he also picked In Rainbows as the one album he would choose to listen to forever.
“That's my favourite album ever. I also think it goes in so many different places that whatever mood you're in there'll be a song for you on it.”
And, of course, Charlie brought the comedy, initially picking Now That's What I Call Music 61. Jules laughs, asking “what’s on that?” He states, matter of factly, ‘You’re Beautiful’ by James Blunt, a classic choice, before providing the more serious answer of Abbey Road.
On the future, Charlie reveals “We’ll tour next year, hopefully April. In terms of what I'd like to achieve, I'm not really that bothered, I just want to be able to do it for a living as long as possible.”
Jules smiles, simultaneously serious and jovial: “Headline Glastonbury.”
‘Without Your Love’ is available on all major platforms now. Keep your eyes peeled on social media for a music video later this week.
Words by Eleanor Noyce.
1st September 2020.