The Great Escape - Interviews with APRE, Iris, Maisie Peters and Tamzene

APRE. Photo by Ollie Tunmore
APRE. Photo by Ollie Tunmore

The ever-popular Great Escape festival returned to Brighton for its 14th year this past weekend (May 8-11), adding to the already-buzzing streets of Brighton during the Brighton Festival and the Fringe.

Spotlight shows this year included Foals and Lewis Capaldi, whilst new break-through stars such as APRE, Confidence Man and Girl in Red made triumphant statements on the festival.

Iris. Photo by Ollie Tunmore

Iris. Photo by Ollie Tunmore

Ollie Tunmore sat down with a few of the weekend’s most promising new acts; including British duo APRE, Maisie Peters, Norway’s incredible Iris and Scotland’s newest star Tamzene.


1) For readers who are just learning of yourselves now, who is APRE, and where did the name come from? I know you met at chess club – which is a great story!

“We’re APRE, we’re a duo – we met at chess club about three-and-a-half years ago now. We were doing our own separate projects in music and then we came together to start playing. We then did that on and off for two years while playing in other bands, but our escape was then coming together and writing music together. After a few years of that, we’d written about 60 songs – and realised we could do something with that...!

Maisie Peters. Photo by Ollie Tunmore

Maisie Peters. Photo by Ollie Tunmore

“We went to an event to showcase our stuff and we met someone from BBC Introducing and it’s gone from there! That was only November 2017, we signed in July 2018, and now here we are. It’s quite mad how quickly it’s happened, it’s definitely a dream come true. And the more we do, the more we want. Signing to Polydor was a real bucket-list moment, it was amazing.”

2) I actually saw you at the Great Escape 2018 – so since then, what would you say has changed the most for you?

“We’re less nervous. Last year we were so scared, we’d only done about four gigs and we had like eight labels in the room. But what’s changed the most... We’re a lot busier! We feel the pressure more.

“The moment it comes out of your bedroom and it’s shared with the world, you feel the pressure to continue writing and continuously do better every single time though.

Tamzene. Photo by Ollie Tunmore

Tamzene. Photo by Ollie Tunmore

3) You’ve got arguably your biggest tour to date coming up – what are you most excited for, and what is one of the challenges of touring you find?

“We’re both so excited about playing London Scala. We’ve seen so many amazing acts there before so to think that we’re playing there too is just madness. Recently though with playing a lot of shows, there’s a lot of hanging around. I’m spending about thre hours a day in Starbucks. It’s worth it though, of course. Think the trick is finding something else to enjoy. I want to learn French this tour.”


1) For readers who aren’t familiar with you, can you please describe who Iris is? What’s your sound, what’s your inspiration?

“It’s very hard to describe in just a few words. I hate putting myself in a box. But I’ve always wanted my music to be honest, and authentically me. I’m trying very hard to just be me. I have visions of what I want to create, I don’t really have plans - I just know what I want it to be when I do it. I put my feelings into sounds and then wrap the other sounds around it until it makes a song!

“It’s a mixture of acoustic electronic, I guess. It’s sad and happy!” 2) How do you write your music? Is it just you? What’s your greatest inspiration?”

What’s the process?

“It’s different from song to song, but I do a lot of sessions with different producers. I write a lot with my drummer, we’re a great team. But I also do a lot of my own writing and producing to keep true to myself. I always bring in clear ideas into a session, but that’s about it. Then my drummer is effectively the musical director, and the band help with arrangements too, so it’s quite a collaborative thing. But the lyrics and melodies are very much mine.”

3) How does Norway compare to the UK?

“Well this is actually my first time in the UK, and this was a part of a showcase! Hopefully I’ll have enough fans to play to at my own show soon. But this was less scary as it was a part of other artists...but naturally it’s a bit scary not knowing people here. But there’s a lovely energy here, it’s very welcoming. It’s also warm too! I played in Oslo recently and it was SO cold!”

4) What does it mean to you to play TGE19?

“At first, I was like, oh gosh...are we sure we want to do this?! But I’m so glad we did. I was very afraid that it would be too early...but it wasn’t! Being a part of this was fantastic. Thinking ahead too, releasing an album is a real dream of mine, I’m really longing to be able to release a full piece of art and share my music with the world as one body. I’d love to be

able to do some more visual stuff too.”

Maisie Peters

1) You performed at Scala recently,how did that go? The pictures looked amazing!

“It was really, really fun. It was at the end of the tour, so we’d really shaped the show together. It was wild. My friends found it mad, they were like ‘Maisie! Everyone’s here and talking about you!”

2) What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

“I’m really looking forward to releasing new songs that I can’t wait to release. There’s a lot more touring, more everything really! I enjoy meeting everyone and chatting to people after

shows. I love the routine of touring too, you forget what real life is really like, you wake up and know what you’re doing and with the same people and you just know what’s going on, so it helps the indecisive person in me! My least favourite thing is the food, European service stations could be improved let’s just say, but that’s a small price to pay.”

3) Who are you listening to at the moment?

“Lemonade by Beyoncé! I’d listened to it before, but it was only on Tidal. So now it’s on Spotify, I am OBSESSED! ‘Formation’ is *that* song. I also love ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’. I also love the first Lorde album.”

4) What does it mean to you to play TGE19?

“TGE is such an important event and festival. There are people here from Australia, America – TGE welcomes everybody from all across the world. They might not have the largest followings yet, but I’ve seen some phenomenal artists here before so it’s amazing to be a part of that myself.”


1) For readers learning about you now, who is Tamzene and what is her sound, what are her inspirations?

“I’m from the Scottish Highlands, I grew up in a really beautiful place. I listened to Aretha, Etta, it’s materialised from there into soulful pop, I guess! I love pop, I love modern productions. But I love the idea of stripping it back and playing it at a piano which is my favourite thing to do.

2) You have three singles released on Spotify. Pitch each single in a few words to me...

“Count Your Days – about living in the moment. Same Place – first broken heart. Last Song – second broken-heart song, but more empowering. I’ve learned that the world doesn’t end!”

3) Who are you listening to / what are you watching now?

“I’m a massive sucker for the cheesy ones... I love Riverdale. I’m sorry. It’s bad. I’ve got better taste than that though! I love the crime thrillers like Line of Duty. Music wise, I’m obsessed with Hozier. Sigrid is also amazing. Her debut album absolutely blew me away.”

4) What does it mean to you to play TGE19?

“I’ve always looked at TGE as something I want to achieve. TGE puts people here who the world is about to know about all together in one place. There is so much talent here and it’s so awesome to play here and have such a great energy and attitude towards new talent.”

Super-early bird tickets are available here

And you can find the artists interviewed above online at: APRE - @apreband Iris – @iris_caltwait Maisie Peters - @maisiehpeters Tamzene - @TAllisonPower