Who are or what is Apt?
Apt is the project of Martyn Bailey and Jon Russell. The two met a few years ago after Jon got talking to a barber in Worthing! "When you create electronic music, you are always dreaming of finding 'that voice' which will open what you are doing up to a wider audience." Explains Jon. Whilst having his haircut, the barber told Jon about an a-ha tribute band and that the singer sounded uncannily close to Morten. Curiosity got the best of him and so Jon met up with Martyn. In 2010 they released an album of a-ha covers limited to just 100 numbered copies.
Fast forward to 2013 and we find Jon and Martyn writing an album of original material together...
Where did the name 'Apt' come from?
M: Jon and I were racking our brains for a couple of weeks and then it came to me... 'Apt' I told Jon straight away and he liked it. I just thought that in the writing process when Jon passed me the pieces of music he had written and then what I added to it seem to fit... was very 'apt' so that's how it came about.
How did you find the writing process for the Apt album compared to your own solo material?
M: It was a completely different way of writing for me comapred to my solo material as I would write the lyrics first and then work out the vocal melody and take it to my producer and turn it in to a full song. This way I had the music first and I could do what I wanted with it, write anything I liked... Jon was ace he pretty much gave me full control to deliver whatever I wanted as long as it wasn't too mushy lovey dovey... but he knows that isn't my style now anyway haha. Jon's music makes me write in a different way, his music opens up new doorways within me that I didn't know were there until I heard the music, it was very exciting! I had complete freedom and when I sent him the results he was very pleased. It's very trusting to give someone your work and then watch it become something different and hope you connect with it or like it...
J: It's very different for me as most of my solo material is without a vocalist, well a human one anyway! I had experience of including vocals when working with OMD's Paul Humphreys and Propaganda's Claudia Brucken on their Onetwo project which was song-based. For me it's very much a case of picturing a song as having platforms, some deeper than others, for the vocals to sit in.Of course you have to find the right person who you can trust to fill those gaps with something you like! I never had any preconceptions and was always extremely pleased with what Martyn had come up with lyrically and vocally.
Did you work with any themes for Apt?
M: No not really. This is the beauty of Jon's music because I'd listen to it and immediately something would jump out at me and within moments I would give it a song title and then work around that and theme it that way, track by track not as an album as a whole.
J: Musically I made a conscious decision to have a dark edge to the overall sound of Apt.
What inspirations did you have when writing the Apt songs?
M: I wanted it to sound quite mythical and filmy, as in all my works I am inspired by a dreamscape train of thought... I just took it one song at a time and each and every piece of music Jon sent , sent me on a journey and now you have the results.
J: I did go and listen to bands like OMD and Depeche Mode purposely hoping some of it would rub off on me, but it's important to not lose yourself, I would hope Jon has brought something to the table too!
Was it a difficult album to write?
M: No not at all, in fact I can't believe how quickly it all came together. I worked on the songs in block of 3 songs at a time. Jon would send them over and as I mentioned before I would come up with the titles first and then the lyrics would follow. Most of the songs took about half an hour to write and the occasional one would take a few days, probably because I was being fussy and wanted the exact right words or phrases.
J: I don't think of music in that way, it's either happening when I am working on something or it isn't. I just have to be 'in the zone', some days are better than others but that's life.
How would you describe the sound of Apt?
M: Electronic wonder... like walking in to a Steven Spielberg movie you know nothing about and letting the wonders unfold before you.
J: Electronic pop music with a big voice.
What was it like working with Martyn?
J: Extremely easy, sometimes the whole process seemed to go too well. I'd hand over a demo of a backing track or three at a time and he'd go off and write the lyrics and go into the studio and record the vocals. I would then get the vocals and mix them whilst finishing the track around them.
What was it like working with Jon?
M: It was an absolute pleasure to do and felt very natural, we have worked together before and who knows maybe there is alot more to come... but we haven't discussed it yet. Let's wait and see.
Do you have a favourite track from the album?
M: That's a tough one because it keeps changing, but I guess the one that keeps winning me over time and time again is 'Make Contact' it's purely haunting and beautiful!... who knows maybe the aliens we are trying to reach will think so too and get in touch!
J: Today I'll say 'At Night I Come Alive' but it's a really good album, I'm so happy with it and my favourite track will probably change frequently.