INTERVIEW: PREPing our ears for a new EP release!

Elated once again by the tones and nuances that smooth the creases of our hearts, we got British city pop group PREP to tell us more about their latest jam – ‘The Kid’!

London-based four-piece PREP have one mission. That is to kick out elegant jams that make you dance while simultaneously luxuriating in the memories of late nights past. 

With a blend of sounds from contemporary R&B, electronica, and 70s to 80s inspired pop, this four-piece band comprising vocalist-lyricist Tom Havelock, keyboardist Llywelyn ap Myrddin, drummer Guillaume Jambel, and producer Dan Radclyffe are welcoming 2022 with “The Kid”, their first release from their forthcoming EP.

Explains vocalist Tom Havelock,

“I imagined ‘The Kid’ as the way an insecure older guy in an 80s film would dismissively talk about a younger player who’s threatening his territory.

It’s a song that’s trying to capture that feeling of seeing someone you used to be with, who’s moved on to something new – and it’s only now, when it’s too late, you realise what a good thing you had.”

Their first release since their 2020 self-titled debut album, the band explores new sonic elements in ‘The Kid’, a shift that fans can look forward to in their upcoming EP.

Keyboardist Llywelyn ap Myrddin recounts,

“‘The Kid’ started life in PREP studio 2 where myself and Giom were messing around.

I remember playing the chorus chords and it felt good so we made it into a loop and the rest flowed quite naturally. The off-kilter intro was added by Giom and once Tom was singing it all came together. This is the first time we have written a track without live drums which is a departure for us, although I think it still feels like a PREP production.”

The band is no stranger to Southeast Asia having played multiple shows in the region, notably their 2018 Asia Tour that included stops in cities like Jakarta, Singapore, Bali, Bangkok, and Manila. Most recently, the band played a set at Java Jazz Festival 2020 in Jakarta right before the pandemic hit. The band hallmarks their time building their fanbase in Asia as an important pivot where PREP’s sense of sonic possibility expanded. 

Says Llywelyn, 

“At one point we thought PREP would just be a studio project. But we played gigs that went really well, and we spent some amazing time in Asia.” 

We spoke to the band to find out more about their latest single, what they’ve been up to since their gigs in Asia and what fans can look forward to in their EP coming later in the year.

AL365: Hi PREP, Vanessa here from AsiaLive365. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us again. We’ve missed you! How have you been since your last visit to this part of the world?

PREP: Hey Vanessa! We’ve been good thanks – apart from MASSIVELY missing playing live. We’ve been keeping busy making as much music as we can, sometimes all in a room together, sometimes all doing our separate things over a screen, but yeah, the big thing we’re all waiting for is when we can come over and play for you guys again. Hopefully not too much longer…

AL365: Congrats on the release of your single ‘The Kid’. We love the smooth chill colours of the song. Would you say that the song is a representation of the soundscape and colours that embodies the forthcoming EP or do you have some surprises in store for us?

PREP: Thanks – we’re very happy it’s going down so well! The Kid is definitely at the more energetic end of the spectrum, although we tried hard still to keep it in that smooth neon-lit Prep world. Then there are some other songs coming which are slower and more dreamy – especially the next one. 

AL365: Tell us more about the conceptualisation of ‘The Kid’. It looked like everything moved pretty quickly. How long did it take to put everything together?

PREP: I don’t know about ‘quickly’! Maybe for us…I feel like we’re incredibly slow and it always takes us ages to finish things, but I think that’s just how we like working, where we get to sit with things for a while and really make sure we’re happy. 

We had a good stretch in the studio in the middle of last year and this one came out of those sessions. The others had made a load of instrumental demos, and this one jumped out at me straight away. The idea of ‘The Kid’ was that it was the sort of thing an older guy in an 80s film would say, trying to be rude about the new young arrival who’s making him feel insecure. The song is about watching somebody else enjoy the honeymoon, the beginning of something that’s over for you, and you’re only now realising how good it was.

AL365: Is there anything that you can share with us about your forthcoming EP? For instance, what’s the evolution of the EP from your previous self-titled album, in terms of how it was inspired, created and how it sounds sonically?

PREP: I think this ep will feel like it’s more about the four of us. With the last couple of releases there’s always been a lot of talk about who we could involve as collaborators and guest musicians, but with this one it’s going to be mainly just Dan, Llywelyn and Guillaume and me in the studio in London – plus a couple of friends doing extra bits where we need it. Maybe that’s something to do with the way the world’s been over the last couple of years: it’s felt like a time to just hunker down and do our thing. The sound is still very much Prep, but I think there’s a really intimate feel to the sonics on one or two tracks which feels new.

AL365: What’s that one song in the EP that you’re most excited for your fans to hear?

PREP: The Kid was the obvious opener because of its energy, and I really love the next two coming out. I can’t say what they’re called yet, but one is a real slow jam, and then there’s a super smooth track where you really need to watch out for the intense modulation in and out of the guitar solo. That’s as much as I can say!

AL365: Besides the EP, what’s in the pipeline for you guys at the moment? Any chance for a tour to Asia?

PREP: We’re so desperate to come over and play. It was heart-breaking to have to postpone those shows, and we really hope we can make it back this year. I don’t want to tempt fate because we’ve had plans in place a couple of times now and then had to move them, but watch this space…. Apart from that, we’re putting the finishing touches to the next couple of releases and working on new music. We’ve moved upstairs to a new studio too, so we need to get a couple of lampshades. And some plants.

AL365: Thanks again PREP! We’re really looking forward to having chill vibes with you guys again!

PREP: Thanks for having us! We really miss you guys, and we’ll see you as soon as we can. X

Photo credit: Em Cole





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