London-based four-piece PREP have released a new single “Open Up” via Bright Antenna Records, an upbeat track that explores the advantages of being emotionally vulnerable with other people. A tinge of regret hovers as vocalist Tom Havelock sings of this lesson in retrospect, delivering what PREP is best known for – pairing buoyant instrumentation with lyrics that cut deep. Fans can stream “Open Up” here ffm.to/Open_Up and watch the music video here.
Tom explains, “‘Open Up’ is really a message to myself. About the energy you can find in allowing yourself to be emotionally honest and vulnerable, and the relief that comes with dropping your guard. And that pretty much sums up the whole experience of making this record for us. We broke out of our usual studio situation in London and escaped to LA to write in the sunshine, then took the songs to Paris to record with the groove clinician Renaud Letang (Feist / Chilly Gonzalez / Benny Sings). It’s been a brand new process for us – new ways of working, with new people, in new places. And really exciting.”
Directed by William Sipos, the “Open Up” music video follows a curious turtle exploring and discovering the world outside of its shell. Keyboardist Llywelyn shares, “We had all seen some of director William Sipos’ work over the years and it always made an impression, so it was super exciting to have his vision applied to a PREP track. Life pushes the Turtle into the world, things aren’t easy, the Turtle opens up but is still afraid. In the end the threatening shadow is the Turtle’s own self. We loved this interpretation of the song, special mention to Tasty the Turtle.”
PREP is gearing up to return to Asia in the coming months, playing at VERY Festival in Thailand before heading to China for a string of headline shows, and finishing off their Asia run with Clockenflap in Hong Kong.
The band hallmarks their time building their fanbase in Asia as an important pivot where PREP’s sense of sonic possibility expanded. “At one point we thought PREP would just be a studio project,” keyboardist Llywelyn ap Myrddin elaborates. “But we played gigs that went really well, and we spent some amazing time in Asia.”
In 2015, the four members of PREP came together to cut deep grooves that mine contemporary R&B and electronica while hearkening back to the soft, sheer sound of the late ’70s and early ‘80s—what some listeners have retroactively dubbed yacht rock. The love for that style united vocalist-lyricist Tom Havelock, keyboardist Llywelyn Ap Myrddin, drummer Guillaume Jambel, and producer Dan Radclyffe. PREP is pop music that feels tip-of-the-tongue familiar even though you’ve never heard it before.
The freshness of fusing well-worn genre tunes with modern sounds is a product of the distinct backgrounds that make up the group. Llywelyn has a classical music education in composition and piano; Guillaume moonlights as a house producer and DJ; Dan produces hip-hop; and Tom works as a pen-for-hire songwriter in the pop music world.