Could you tell me a little about you and your trajectory? What made you choose a creative pathway?
It sounds quite cheesy to say, but the creative path chose me. At school, I always knew that I wasn’t cut out for a “regular” job. I was lucky to be able to choose a more creative pathway – my parents were incredibly supportive, although I think at the beginning of my career there were some moments they perhaps felt frustrated with my choices and wished I had chosen a more “stable” route into employment.
How did you become a drummer? What does music appeal to you?
I started playing at school when I was 14 and it really took off from there. I was able to have some private lessons at the local music shop and I fell in love with drumming almost instantaneously – I still remember the car ride home with my dad, telling him how I wanted “to do this forever!”.
How do you think your upbringing influenced what you do today?
I’m not entirely sure how to answer this question because neither of my parents played any instruments – Although they always encouraged a creative life and my sister and I were always being given a lesson in great music from both our parents. They have great taste.
Auprès is much inspired by the art of handcrafting. What’s your relationship with handwork? Clearly, when you play an instrument that relationship is intrinsic, but would love to know more from your personal experience.
I’m very attracted towards humans who work with their hands. My hands (and body) have taken a beating over the years from all the physical strength that comes with playing drums professionally every day for 15 years.
The drums that I play are all bespoke and hand-made by a small drum factory in Missouri in the USA – it’s important to me to be able to work closely with the skilled makers and also support these guys rather than go for mass produced drums.
How does the process of composing works for you? Where do you draw inspiration from?
I usually think of a genre, or type of song I want to make, first. I find that this doesn’t muddy my ideas and I can stick to one path. I usually always start with a bass line – a little loop to create a nice hook and then I create the beats and rhythms around that.
Does intuition play an important part in your process? Or is it something for you that comes more from the mind than from the gut?
I have always learned to do most things in my adult life in a very intuitive way. I learn by doing and I play drums by ear.
Do you have any rituals or routines that help you maintain a creative energy flowing?
I’ve found this more difficult during the last year. I wrote quite a lot of songs during the first part of 2020, but recently I have lost my desire to create a little bit. I take comfort in knowing that, for me, these desires are always ebbing and flowing. Some days I wake up super energised to create and so I seize those opportunities when I can.
Any ideas you are looking forward to explore in the future (new techniques, tools, approaches, etc)?
Currently, I am focussed on getting back with my band and on tour again – it can’t come soon enough. It will be exciting to begin to discuss new ideas for our live shows – costumes/production/lights etc, it’s always a thrilling time for me.
Could you name a few of your favourite artists / makers / creators?
Recently, I’ve been in awe of some local friends here in Lisbon who have just opened a shop/creative studio in Alcântara called Cocoon Atelier and Studio Raggedy. My sister, the illustrator, Kate Prior is someone whom I admire quite a lot.
Any current reading / listening / watching recommendation you’d like to share?
I have been reading a lot of Zadie Smith lately. Her latest book of essays and short stories called Intimations captures the first half of 2020 perfectly.