“The record speaks of wanting to move away to a better place – a more positive world where you can be exactly who you want to be.” says APRE member Charlie Brown about their mini-album Always In My Head. The alternative pop duo, comprising Jules Konieczny and Charlie Brown, have stormed the contemporary music scene as a creative tour de force, hitting number on Hype Machine with their debut single “All Yours” in 2018 and boasting over 250,000 followers on Spotify. Released in November 2020, their most recent musical creation, Always In My Head, turns a new page for the band – charting a lyrical rollercoaster of emotions accompanied by rich beats and modernist melodies. The tunes of the mini-album are bursting with character, as songs like “I Know I’ll Find” perfectly embrace lockdown contemplation, while “Without Your Love” sets a powerful tone of defiance.

The musical pair are very friendly, naturally bouncing off each others’ ideas while creating a welcoming, light-hearted atmosphere as I ask them about all things music, recording, and performing. We delve into the unique origins of the band: they met at a chess club in Ealing five years ago, the club’s owner paired them up as she recognised their shared love for music.

“We were playing chess one day and Jules was telling me he needed to earn some money, so I told him that my grandmother needed someone to mow the lawn”, says Brown. “So he came round and did just that. I asked later on whether he wanted to come in and work with me on some music, so we wrote a few songs in my grandma’s front room – that’s where we record all our stuff now.”

“And five years later, here we are.” adds Konieczny.

Growing up in musical families, both Brown and Konieczny cultivated a love for the art at a young age. “My uncle is a professional guitar player, having performed at festivals like Glastonbury, and my Dad is also a pianist and guitarist.” says Konieczny, “I was always subject to music around the house – there was never a quiet moment. Music was always something I felt I was good at, so the moment I got to school, I knew I wanted to go to London and do music.”

“My Dad sometimes plays music and I always had it around me when I was younger.” Brown remarks, “I liked acting when I was 11, but then got more into the sound production side of theatre. Through that, I got into studio sound and started working in a studio setting. I then got into writing music and because I could produce, I could make whole songs and create final products.”

Having supported the likes of Inhaler and Sam Fender, APRE finished their first headline tour in 2019. I ask them about their favourite performance experiences and Konieczny instantly replies: “Glastonbury. That’s just one for the bucket list isn’t it! We also went to ‘South by South-West’ in Austin, Texas, and did seven or eight gigs in three days. It was wicked. To turn up there a year into releasing music and to have people know the songs was just surreal. Our headline show at Scala in London was the last gig we did before lockdown – everything came together very nicely and we sold out. It was very good timing, I think we were one of the last bands to get to tour.”

APRE's latest album was released at the end of last yearChuffmedia

We move on to discussing APRE’s mini-album, Always In My Head, and how it feels to have it out in the world. “Bloody good”, replies Konieczny with a laugh, but Brown is more contemplative. “It’s a weird one.” he says, “I feel like I was slightly annoyed in some ways because you don’t realise what people will like until you give it to them. There were certain songs that I didn’t think people would like as much, and I almost wish we had released them as singles.”

“Every release you do is good market research because you realise what your audience like and don’t like. It’s interesting to see how people respond and what direction you might want to explore – you always feel like you’ve got to make big pop tunes, especially if you’re on a major label, but I think people enjoy real music that comes from the heart, music that isn’t overdone by loads of big-time producers. I think we have a lot of this on our record, but then there’s a few tunes we’ve made with big producers. It’s interesting to see that people prefer the stuff that comes from us than the songs from a big label. But it does feel good to have it released.”

“My way of dealing with most things is to talk about them through song, which is another reason as to why it’s nice to have it out – it’s like a release of that built-up negative energy.”

“Some of those songs are so old now that it was really nice to finally release them into the world.” adds Konieczny, “We were going to do our debut album in 2020, but with COVID and lockdown, it just wasn’t a good time – we can’t tour it, so we compromised and made a mini-album, putting together a collection of finished songs and writing some more over lockdown.”

Brown outlines the inspiration behind the mini-album’s compelling title: “We called it Always in My Head because it’s a collection of songs that speak of the negative thoughts that I had in my head – and I’m sure a lot of people had in their head too – over the lockdown period. My way of dealing with most things is to talk about them through song, which is another reason as to why it’s nice to have it out – it’s like a release of that built-up negative energy.”

APRE provides insight into their crafted process of composition, which always starts melodically and gradually progresses to a fully-formed creation. “Something in life might be troubling or I might be feeling great – I will get some chords or a loop/drums going. I really like putting old choir recordings into a sampling software too, because you get really interesting harmony and an array of chords that you can use”, says Brown, “I’ll then experiment through singing and putting a beat to it – the rhythm will resemble lyrics. Sometimes the best lyrics just appear and are never written down, they’ll just be in the moment. The best thing to do is not think about it because the moment you start thinking too much, you start over-analysing it and it takes the enjoyment away from the process. It’s meant to be fun – it’s art. ”

“The best thing to do is not think about it because the moment you start thinking too much, you start over-analysing it and it takes the enjoyment away from the process. It’s meant to be fun – it’s art. ”

“Another thing we do lyrically is talk about negative things, but dress them up in a positive instrumental line – as can be seen in “Without Your Love””, continues Brown, “It’s like a metaphor for life, especially for the media and how people go through difficult times, but dress it up online with filters. We make everything seem beautiful and give the impression that life is always great, but it’s not really like that. The message you’re giving is that you’re going through a lot, but you’re just choosing to show it in a much more positive light. We take the negative lyric message and throw it into a positive song, hiding it behind the uplifting nature of the music.”

Drawing from several contrasting styles and genres, APRE’s eclectic sonic influence shines through every one of their songs, seldom confining the band to a distinctive sound. “Anyone who listens to our whole back catalogue can tell that it goes everywhere. The genres are endless... I don’t even know what genre we are.” states Konieczny, “I think subconsciously our influences come out – I’m really into 80s stuff – like Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. We also bonded over 2000s indie-pop, the likes of Two Door Cinema Club and The Fold. Even a bit of Coldplay.”

“We never planned on doing this band as our job – it was just a laugh, which I think is always the best way of doing things because you’re not thinking about it too much”, adds Brown, “So it’s a natural sound. I think that’s why our songs are so varied in style, which can be harder to sell because you sometimes want to make music easy to consume and understand for an audience. If you’ve got songs that are all over the place, you might get a fan that loves one and then you release another song and they might not like it as much. But if your music is the same all the time, people eventually get bored of it. It’s good to have a varied mix of tones, genres, timbres as it expands your horizons and allows you to move forward into a long-lasting career.”

In spite of the difficulties lockdown posed, the band continued their process of song-writing and music-making in quarantine, but what was it like? Konieczny reflects: “It was quite difficult at first, because we started working on this album a few weeks before lockdown, just as our tour ended. Obviously, Charlie and I couldn’t be in the same room together for two months – we were just chucking things back and forth via email. Not being in the same room is less than ideal for APRE, we really vibe off each other and get a lot of inspiration from being around each other, probably trying to impress one another. So it was quite hard to finish it in the first lockdown, but then we came back together and some really good stuff happened, meaning it turned out really well. One of the highlights was getting an orchestra to play at the end of the song “I Know I’ll Find It”, albeit remotely, but that was always another one for the bucket list.”

“Composing music remotely is so different to doing it in person – it’s like having a date on Zoom, it just isn’t the same”, adds Brown, “I think there’s always something quite good in stepping away and taking a month or two not just from music, but anything in life that you do on a regular basis – it’s something we never normally do. The good thing is you gain a lot of perspective and get that excitement and joy that you almost lose if you do something all the time. It’s like when you go on a bike ride for the first time in a few months.”

I ask what the band would like to see from the music industry in the next few years and Brown gives a short and sweet reply: “Some good music. Especially in terms of bands, they’re not really as much of a thing any more – I don’t know many that I’ve caught onto in the past few years.”


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Konieczny agrees and comments on the commercialisation of music: “Quite frankly, there’s such an influx of shocking music at the moment. I’d really like to lose the corporate aspect of music – so much of the music industry is becoming all about ticket sales, facts, figures.”

“TikTok!” Brown exclaims, leading directly on from the corporate theme, “Burn TikTok to the ground. At every single meeting with the label, they tell us to get onto TikTok and we tell them no. There is some entertaining stuff on there, but some of the music is just not good.”

With hopes for a tour later in 2021 and a new album brimming on the horizon, APRE is definitely a band to look out for this year. As the end of lockdown comes into sight and we eagerly anticipate the summer ahead, their music is perfect for the current climate – songs filled with a positive yet fiercely honest tone, complemented by an unstoppable sense of freedom and release.