Interview: APRE

Arnojya Shree chats to APRE.

Arnojya Shree
10th December 2020
Arnojya Shree sits down with everyone's favourite alt-pop duo, APRE

Hey! Good morning! How are you guys doing? And I'm so sorry that this is an early interview. 

No, no worries at all! It's been my new thing under lockdown, I got up really early at 7:30, so I'm ready for the day so, it's all good. Don't worry!

First of all, massive congratulations on your single. I love it, and I've been listening to it on repeat. How are you feeling with everybody's response coming in?

Thank you so much! Ah, it's been really nice. It's been so nice to get a full body of work with a mini album out at last. It's been a long time coming, especially like this year. I mean we haven't been able to tour, so it's been really nice to have something to really focus on with the mini-album and get the single started and everything. And, still being able to do really exciting stuff like, the latest single has a beautiful orchestra on it. We were able to do that over the lockdown. So, we're very lucky. We're very good.  

So, there's a really interesting thing I have seen on your Instagram. There's a post where you talk about how the song is like a paradox; where it has a very upbeat tune but slightly sad lyrics. So, do you guys have any particular concept behind that idea? 

I guess that's kind of Charlie's work with the lyric writing. Charlie and I, like upbeat pop music so, all of the backing tracks which I mostly make are pretty upbeat, and pretty live, and pretty dancey. But the actual subject matter in the lyrics is pretty dark and pretty negative because most of the lyrics of this mini-album focus on Charlie's mindset throughout the start of lockdown. I don't think he was having the best time, in his mind with his own mental health. So, I think the lyrics really focus on that, and what I really like about that is that paradox is almost a metaphor for social media at the moment, and life at the moment. People are posting really beautiful pictures of themselves and pretending that everything is wonderful and great, where it's really not like they're having a shit time. I really like that metaphor with our music. 

You also said that there's a DNA to your album - in terms of the room, the way you record, vocals, and it separates the sound of your music from everybody else. So, what is this creative process like when it comes to making your music? 

I think the reason it's got this DIY like DNA to it because we still relatively use pretty bad equipment. We're with a lovely record label, Polydor and they have lots of money so they can pay for us to get to a lovely studio. We tried at that, but it didn't sound as good; like to us, it didn't sound like us. So we're really relishing the fact that we're still doing it in Charlie's gran's front room. It's just great. The process that we have is that normally, one of us would come in with a loop of a guitar riff or some keyboard riff and then, Charlie would come up with a melody at the top of that. And then it all would pile in together, but I think, what's really important with us that the production of the song is part of the actual writing of the song, we produce as we go. Only once or twice, Charlie and I have written a song on acoustic guitar and then made it into a proper song. It always starts with the production of it as well, so that we have a clear view of what sonics are gonna be. 

A lot of people think that sometimes when you get addicted to a song, and you're really feeling it, it's either because of the melody. But for others, the poetry catches them. How do you think your music fits into that? 

I think from a personal point of view, I'm really weird. See, I'm 23 and recently in the last year, I actually started listening to lyrics which is probably a fault of my own. But I get emotionally attached to...it sounds very nerdy but, the chord progressions and the sound and stuff, and the sonic. But that's why Charlie and I work quite well because he's very much into his melodies. He'll just be on his phone on tour, on voice note recording melodies that come to his head whereas, I'm very much like, I'll spend hours making a keyboard sound good and exactly how I want it to sound. So, I think personally, musically, I get touched by the actual music itself. 

So, with Covid, everything has become available online and doing live gigs is obviously one of the best parts of performing music. How has it impacted your music in terms of streaming platforms, and you guys putting up acoustic guitar covers on your social media posts? Does it make a lot of difference for your music? 

It is, obviously, from a mental and emotional point of view, it's a bit annoying not being able to tour. I find that doing a gig is a payoff at the end of the journey of a song. So, you write the song, you produce the song, you mix and master the song, and then you release the song. And then, you do interviews with the song, and you promote it and everything. And then, when you actually play it in front of the audience, you get the payoff, a celebration of it and then you see whether people like it or not. So, it's been really weird not having that, but for now, every single label meeting we have ever had, or anything like that has always been like "do more social media". So, I guess this time has finally given us a bit of breather from touring to actually focus on putting stuff online. But, we have done a fair few live streams, live concerts at the start of lockdown. It's just that I think, people got a bit tired of them. I think everyone just went on social media and every band was just doing so many live gigs every week on social media that it got a bit repetitive. So, we stopped. We're kind of very lucky in a way that it exists right now because if Covid would have happened 30 years ago, I don't know how you would hear about any bands, to be honest. 

So, do you guys have any plans at all to come live and perform songs from your new album? 

Oh, online or in-person?

Oh, online, definitely! Haha

So we actually did a live stream for a tv show, performing some of the new songs. So I think that will be out on the 13th of December. So that's coming soon! We also just did an NME Home Sessions, where we performed lots of the new songs as well. So, yeah apart from that I think we wanna wait until we can do a proper one, with a big full production. 

So, now one of the interesting questions. Apart from music, obviously, what else contributes to your musicality? A habit you turn to rejuvenate that creativity? 

I read a lot, I find that kind of inspiring. I think Charlie would definitely say exercise weirdly. He always comes up with a good melody after he's been for a run. I don't know what it is. I think it's probably because it clears your head. I find that if I do something that completely switches my brain off when I come back to music, it's normally good. Like I've done some weird stuff in lockdown, like Paint-by-Numbers, and then I come back to the song and write a genius part. Anything that I can switch off to really. 

Is there something that you are reading right now? 

Yeah, I am reading "All That Man Is." It's a book about masculinity, with short stories. It's really good, I highly recommend it. 

How lovely! I'll definitely look it up. So, with Covid and lockdown, I'm sure you guys have given thoughts to a lot of things. So, have you thought about what you would be doing right now if it were not for music? 

Oh, that's tough. I feel so blessed to still have a job in music right now because so many of my friends are struggling with making any money from music. Actually, we got interviewed by ITV 2 days ago, and it was this woman's job to basically go around and whatever news story it was, she had to produce a piece on that for the evening news. I don't know why, but I thought that was a sick job. I thought I'd be really good at it. I'd do that. 

Journalism is a pretty fascinating job because there's always something going on. So that's a good one! 

Yeah, exactly. But I bet it's really Covid related at the moment, so they are probably very bored with that. 

Is there any best advice that you guys have been given when it comes to music? 

It sounds very obvious but "Don't forget where you came from." I think for a while, Charlie and I were a bit blindsided by fancy studios, fancy gears and stuff that stereotypically makes things good. I think if something works, don't try and go somewhere else. I think our method of working and our method of creating songs, this formula works pretty well for us. So, I don't think until maybe the second album we need to change it. 

Who are some of your musical idols since the start? 

I really love the 80s kinda Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush. I love Genesis, Tears for Fears. Recently, Bon Iver, The National. I even like Coldplay. I think Coldplay are sick. 

Is there anybody you would like to collaborate with? 

I think I'm gonna be really nerdy here and Brian Eno is a producer who I think is incredible. He's done like David Bowie, and some of the best albums ever made. His track record is just amazing. So, I think Charlie and I would never let another producer touch our stuff again except for him. So, I'd collaborate with him. 

That's lovely! And, is there a particular song that you like to perform? 

With him?

Yeah, yeah. 

I think he can make a really cool ambient version of our new track 'I Know I'll Find It.' I'd like that!

Where does your inspiration to make music come from? 

I think for Charlie and I, it has to be fun. We have to enjoy it, we have to be in a good mood. I think we have learnt that recently. If both of us go to the studio or even one of us is a bit fed up or grumpy or anything that is just not gonna work. I think our inspiration also comes hugely from each other. I think we both very much still try to impress each other in the studio and vibe off each other constantly. I know what he likes now, so if I make something he's gonna like, then I'm very excited to see his reaction to it and vice-versa as well. 

Does it make you self-conscious, knowing what the other person would like? So, if you make something, does it make you nervous, wondering if they would like it or not? 

At first yeah, I think it takes a while to get over that because we have been writing for nearly five years now. So we know each other bloody well, we have basically spent every single day of our lives together for the last few years. But just getting along as best mates as well makes a ton of difference because if I don't like something, I'll say no. It took me a while to get over that. For the first 2 or 3 years, if I didn't like something, I'd keep it in, and then, it would really bug me, and I would never say it. And now, if he does something that I don't like, I'll tell him and vice-versa. 

That's a very honest thing. Definitely, I think it translates into your music. There's no layer of pretentiousness, or that you need to dive further and get to some deeper meaning. It's very out there. 

Yeah, music for the people. 

Yes! And, music without borders! That's the essence. 

Yeah. 

What's next for you guys? 

It's very Covid-dependant. We're writing a lot of new songs at the moment. Um, a lot of quite different sounding stuff. I think Charlie & I have got a little bit of very border-sort-of series of pop songs that we've been kind of dogging it. The last track on our mini-album we just released it is called 'Grab My Hand', it's got a kinda weird vibe. I think you'll hear a lot more songs like that. But in terms of next year, hopefully, a debut album, a full-length album. And, hopefully, a tour. I mean, that's the dream right now. I mean, I don't really know what's coming up next. It depends on what this virus seems to do. 

Well, this has been absolutely lovely, and it was great chatting with you!

Thank you very much!

Thanks for giving me the time of your day!

No worries at all! Hope you have a lovely day! Thanks a lot. 

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