Norwich's Aphra make jaunty pop with hints of folk, rock, and soul.
They gathered early success with the launch of their first EP, selling out a headline release show at The Waterfront Norwich and their track “Billboards” was BBC Introducing Norfolk’s track of the week.
Before the pandemic they played festivals such as Latitude and Sundown and supported Billie Marten and The Regrettes. Aphra recently moved to the big smoke to chase down some dreams.
Latest single 'Sugar Cube' was released 4th of June. It's a celebration of femininity. A modern jazz and pop fusion.
She will be playing our gig on the 18th of June at The George Tavern in London so we thought it was about time having a little chat with her/them.
Please give our readers a little into of you who are / Sum up your band for me in a few words.
Wibbly and also Wobbly. To find out who we are, enter into our world listen to our music.
What was the role of music in the early years of your life? What would you say are your biggest influences?
Music acted as perhaps escapism, therapy, and also a pure enjoyment of something. The act of getting lost completely, complete focus, and absorption. As I've grown I've had a range of really brilliant people introduce me to influences who have shaped my songwriting and also motivation to be an artist. These include Courtney Barnett rolling rock songs, Big Thief's light, and dark, and Haim's absolute rise to one of my favorite records of all time Women in Music Pt. III. They all have one thing in common god darn good lyrics.
When you create music, what is your personal purpose or goal? What's a subject you always wanted to write a song/sing about?
I want to capture a mood, a moment, and hold people there. I think this is happening, especially when we play live and I'm yet to tell whether our recorded music captures that same all enthralling vibe. That's what I'd like. Honesty is very important and I think authenticity too, sincerity really shines through to me in a song.
I'll answer this second part in an opposite way... I didn't really want to write about love in its typical sense at first. I think I've found my own way of writing about love now though and really it's just one of those all-consuming human emotions that must be written about, right? I always end up using endless food metaphors as well.
Let's talk about the new single 'Sugar Cube', released 4th of June, - What's it about? What was the process for writing and producing it?
The song's about being fed up with being sweet or the expectation of being any which way at all.
This song's been cooking for a while now, I think it's developed so much over the course of having different drummers involved in the project and It's really come together recently with Mitch on drums and Sam always a steady bass player. We've also recruited Eli B who's played some really fun silly keys, he knows how to bring alive the cheek of the tune with really minimal parts. Finally, there's Dom Trevor who's played some Saxophone for us, impeccable job, the pièce de résistance. Finn Doherty's brought it all together really well, endless hours of fiddling with lil bits of the tune, sometimes with me over his shoulder, sometimes days alone. I'm so proud to have these people putting their time, energy, and love into the music. That's what makes it fun after all.
What do you do outside of music? / Do you have any hobbies that you turn to to rejuvenate your creativity?
Outside of music, I do a lot of stressing out about the music. I love to cook, good food feeds the soul, reading and I watch a lot of films.
You moved from Norwich to the Big Smoke – tell us a bit about your big hopes / dreams you try to achieve now you are living here?!
I think my hopes and dreams are just the same as the next guy, playing a gig every night and writing songs for the other half and sustaining it. I want to get on a tour, that would be very lovely. We're on our way. This is it right now! The dream!
Unfortunately we are hit by these awful stories about predatory behaviour within the music industry esp. towards young women - Have you experienced situations where you feel you were treated as a lesser artist simply because of your gender? What advice would you give young females who just start out?
The music is riddled with strange men who are very creepy and I've come into close proximity to it. It can be a strange experience going into a space and every single other person working that night - the bands, the tech, most of the staff are all men and sometimes I feel very aware of that and it's the same through to the top. It's changing though, the space is becoming more inclusive and it's very exciting to hear all these new voices in the mix, very refreshing, very inspired.
Be cautious when it comes to intertwining with boys in bands, I've found as well as the lovely ones there's a lot of self-absorbed dudes with little respect for anyone's boundaries because they're living out some rock star fantasy. More importantly, though know your worth and value whatever knowledge and skills you've collected. Be assertive and resilient.
Give us one fact each that no one knows about you....
Aphra - My name used to be Aphra Brown which I think is far cooler now days - Thinking of Charlie Brown and James Brown, two very good Browns.
Mitch (drums) - somewhere out there, in the outermost stratos of the internet, I have a secret alias that I use to join cults.
Sam (bass) - Everything thinks I play drums in another band but that’s actually my twin i can only play bass.
If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
Aphra - think something that works with nature would be very cool. Flying is also good, standard.
Mitch - underwater breathing and underwater eye and ear protection. So that I could sit at the bottom of the pool forever without getting sore or drowny
Sam - flying, I love heights and being on top of tall things but it’s a lot of effort to climb stuff so flying would make things much easier
If we were to have a look at the artists you are listening to, who would we find on your playlist?
Aphra - The Bugsy Malone Soundtrack.
Mitch - been listening to a lot of Alice Coltrane recently, and Joe Walsh. Andromeda's Suffering from Alice's Lord of Lords is giant and very scary and makes me feel like a tiny little bug that is standing at the base of a very tall cliff made of crystals.
Sam - I exclusively listen to Astroworld by Travis Scott and haven’t listened to anything else since that came out.
Check out the video for latest single 'Sugar Cube' here:
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