• Beth Kaufmann

Prep (Bright Antenna/AWAL)

In 2015 Prep formed as a band in the UK, with its founding members coming together with a clear purpose and an elegant, fresh sound. Their mission was to kick out jams reflecting that elegance and smooth classics that make the listener want to dance while reminiscing of the memories of past late nights. Their songs dig into contemporary R&B and Electronica, while also exploring the soft sounds of the late ’70s and early ’80s, sometimes referred to as “Yacht Rock.” That style united vocalist-lyricist, Tom Havelock, keyboardist, Llywelyn ap Myrddin, drummer, Guillaume Jambel and producer, Dan Radclyffe. Prep is Pop music that feels familiar even though it’s not been heard before. The songwriting is classic but still feels contemporary.


By 2018 Prep had released three EPs, 2016’s Futures, Cold Fire and Line by Line in 2018. During this period Prep’s “sense of sonic possibility” expanded. “At one point we thought Prep would just be a studio project,” Myrddin says, “We played gigs that went really well, and we spent some amazing time in Asia. A Japanese friend inquired why Prep was so influenced by the slick sound of City Pop.” Prep had never heard of City Pop, but digging into the work from genre greats like Tatsuro Yamashita, they were surprised at what they learned. “What Tatsuro and these guys were doing, they were taking influences from a lot of the same stuff we’ve been influenced by, and by adding their own fresh take on production, which is what we’re doing,” Jambel says. Each band member has a different musical dialogue, with Llywelyn possessing a classical music education in composition and piano, while Jambel moonlights as a house producer and DJ, Radclyffe produces Hip-Hop, and Havelock works as a pen-for-hire songwriter in the Pop music world.


Every Prep song begins as and instrumental demo, that with collaboration is eventually transformed by Havelock with lyrics. The tune “Over,” has a muted opening that feels like a sample from the back of the record bin, before the track springs to life with “crisp drums and keyboard stabs.” “It hit me hardest of any of the songs we’ve worked on,” says Tom Havelock. ”It sounded like a dark tropical evening, the heat and humidity, with a seductive groove at the center of it.”


Prep was poised to tour beginning in February 2020 when all plans were put on hold due to the pandemic that swept the world. A full-length debut was released in late-2020, but touring will depend upon the return of live music. At radio, stations playing Prep’s music including WXRV, WRLT, WFUV, KUTX, WPYA, WTMD, WZEW, KVNA, and WCOO.