Alternative pop duo APRE, consisting of Charlie Brown and Jules Konieczny, have just come to the end of their headline UK tour this February, after a busy year of festivals and touring last year. The duo have still been entertaining fans throughout this lockdown period through Instagram live sessions, acoustic versions of songs, and even podcasts. Earlier this April, the duo released their latest (ironic) single, ‘Go Somewhere’. I got the chance to chat with Jules this week to discuss this release, as well as an anticipated ‘mini-album’.
How are you coping in quarantine?
Good! I’ve embarrassingly just done a home workout so I’m really embracing lockdown life. It’s made me feel surprisingly good actually! Honestly, it sounds weird to say it, cause obviously there’s a lot of shit going on, but I’m kind of enjoying it… I like the routine; getting up at the same time every day, doing a workout, then just writing and doing covers, making a really nice meal and going to bed! I was expecting to feel slightly depressed cause of the rain, but I actually feel kind of cosy! It’s quite nice.
Are you living with anyone? Or any of the band?
I’ve got two housemates, but Charlie is two miles away; I haven’t seen him now for five weeks. He lives with his gran, so we’ve decided not to risk it.
Are you finding it strange being apart from Charlie whilst still releasing music?
It is really odd. We are in a very fortunate position that we both produce everything ourselves, so we can just send ideas back and forth constantly, so nothing’s really changed. But we’ve definitely noticed there’s a lack of inspiration from not being together. I feel like when we’re writing, we’re always trying to please one another, so by not being able to see his facial expressions- whatever I’m sending could be terrible! But in a positive way I feel like I don’t always have someone peering over my shoulder whenever I’m trying to write!
So you’ve released the two songs ‘Heart’s Like a Jungle’, and ‘Go Somewhere’, are they leading to the release of an EP?
Yeah! Well actually, a mini-album, which is somewhere between an EP and an album. It’s gonna be around 7 or 8 tracks. We’re planning to release it sometime at the end of the year, like October/November time, all things depending.
Is that going to be including songs from the other EPs or mainly new stuff?
‘Go Somewhere’ and ‘Heart’s Like a Jungle’ will be on it, but apart from that it’s gonna be completely new stuff. It’s exciting, we’ve never done anything that’s longer than an EP, so I think it’ll be nice to release something that’s more of a journey to listen to.
Are you feeling more excited or nervous for that release?
I’m very excited, but I am nervous cause there’s some weird-arse songs on there. There’s some weird “alt-J-esque”, hippy stuff, and I don’t know how that’s gonna go down. I’m always scared cause I think that we toss around the genres so much that people might get confused, but in time, I think that’ll be a good thing.
What has the reaction to releasing ‘Go Somewhere’ earlier this month been like?
It’s been really good. We’ve been playing that song live for like a year or two now, so I think it was nice as it’s been the first song where everyone kind of already knew about it, so when people actually heard it they were like, ‘Oh yeah this is sick, even better than the live version!’. It’s been great, but it’s also a really weird song to release, because obviously it’s called ‘Go Somewhere’, but we can’t go anywhere! It’s become oddly more relevant now than it ever has been.
So you released the live version of the song from Scala, was that a recording from the UK tour?
No, that was actually from just before the tour. We recorded it when we went to have a look at the venue and were like, “Oh my god this is gonna be great when we play it”. Then there’s the actual music video for the song which was recorded at Scala as well. We’re basically an advert for Scala! It’s ridiculous!
Would you say that that was your favourite venue of the tour?
It was definitely the moment where we were like, “Oh shit, this is going quite well now”. It felt like a step up as well as it was the biggest venue on the tour by quite a long way. Plus having all your family and friends there getting to see that what you’re doing isn’t just you being lazy, so yeah it was a really great night. I think that was our favourite gig that we’ve ever done.
What’s been your favourite part of still interacting with fans through social media?
Well it’s weird cause Charlie and I are very open about the fact that we find social media incredibly boring, so it’s been quite nice to start to develop a positive relationship with it all. We’ve just recorded a cover of a Weeknd song with each of us playing each instrument which is really nice. It’s cool doing a Q&A on Instagram live as well, and seeing around 100 people tune in, to see people are into what we’re doing; a bit of recognition.
So you’re playing the Homeschool Festival next week [8th-10th May], which looks amazing!
Yeah, we’re very excited. APRE is obviously mostly Charlie and I, and then we get the other two in to play live, so it was nice to actually have them in a video. That’s gonna be really cool to see I think, I’m very excited. Plus the line-up is sick! If it were an actual festival I’d go- well I’d have to cause we’re playing it!
Have you got any other virtual gigs lined up?
We’ve got one for Jimmy’s, which is a venue in Manchester, and then The Leadmill which is in Sheffield. But we’re gonna continue to do loads of stuff online. Although, I don’t know how you feel, but after the first two weeks of lockdown I think everyone got a bit sick of everyone constantly doing Instagram lives; it was like every band was like, “Shit we can’t do gigs, what now?! Ah lets do an Instagram live!”. So I think we’re gonna tone it down a little bit so that people aren’t fatigued by our constant interaction with them on social media.
Has it been tricky recording the live sessions separately and merging the tracks together?
Yeah! All the acoustic stuff required that; we’re yet to find a way where we can actually play live with each other, without it lagging cause of the internet. So we’re constantly back and forth, and it’s a right faff, but it’s worth it.
What would you say you’re missing most in isolation?
I mean if I say beer gardens I may seem like an alcoholic, but not even for the beer! Just for the sheer satisfaction of being with your mates on a sunny evening, obviously not right now cause of the terrible weather. Or, and I know this sounds weird and really middle class, but just a café. I ordered an iced latte and a panini on Deliveroo the other day just to feel like I was in a café and it was lovely.
What’s the first thing you think you’ll do after lockdown, besides obviously going to a beer garden or café?
Probably just going to Charlie’s and writing a song I guess. Actually I don’t know. I feel like it’s gonna be such a gradual release back to the normal world (if we ever go back to the normal world!); I was thinking the other day, do you think anyone will ever shake hands again? Probably not.
I have no idea! It’s strange even just watching old gigs; like the idea of a mosh pit?!
I saw a thing where there were gigs in Sweden, but with social distancing, so people had to be four metres away from each other. I saw pictures and it was just really odd.
Did you guys have a lot of summer events planned?
Oh, no. Live wise, we were very lucky in that we basically didn’t have anything in the diary. I mean last year we did like 30/40 festivals, it was ridiculous! So this year was supposed to be a bit quieter, so we were very lucky that we didn’t have any tours planned. We were very fortunate; I know a lot of bands that have suffered a lot.
Did you enjoy being that busy last year?
It was amazing. But there was a period in October/November where we supported Inhaler, Friendly Fires and Half Alive, which meant being away from home for 9 weeks in a city van. We went around Europe like 4 times, and Ireland about 7 times. It was great fun at the gigs, but after 9 weeks of being in that van, it does start to get fucking annoying. So December and January were wicked cause we were home. I was watching an interview with Yannis from Foals the other day who says exactly the same, but it’s like, when you’re on tour you wanna get off tour, and when you’re off tour you wanna get on tour!
The festivals were amazing though, we went to some amazing places; we did this really cool one in Slovakia.
Have there been any other artists you’ve been enjoying during this time?
The new Laura Marling album is the most beautiful bit of feminist song-writing I’ve ever heard. I’ve just discovered a band called Alvvays, not sure how you pronounce that! Also, the new Dua Lipa album is really good, every single song is a single, trust me, you’ll love it. It’ll put you in a happy mood wherever you are.
To give yourself the illusion of being at a live gig, check out the music video for ‘Go Somewhere’.