The rules are simple...there's a hat, this hat is filled with many questions ranging from the personal to the off beat. We pass the hat, and artists gets a chance to answer the question they choose from said hat. Fun is had by all.
POP ETC recently wrapped up a whirlwind tour opening for Oh Wonder. We got a chance to chat with frontman Chris Chu before their sold out show in Philadelphia. The band releases their newest album, Souvenir, this week. A highly upbeat and enjoyable future pop classic that I've had on repeat since I got it in my hands. Souvenir is not only the band's most impressive release to date, but it offers something we need in pop music today. It's not your basic manufactured Taylor Swift pop tunes, it's authentic in it's 80's vibes, while offering a fresh and modern voice. The album is available HERE...while you download that, let the interview commence:
-If you could invite two people to a dinner party, who would they be?
That's really hard because there’s a lot of people I really love and respect as artists or something, but would maybe not be great company. I think one would have to be Larry David, because I think he would be insightful, and hilarious, and awesome to hang around. If I could say living or dead, I’d probably say John Lennon. He’s the best, and my hero.
-What’s your favorite city you’ve toured to?
Tokyo. That’s one of my favorite cities in the world. We go there a lot, we’re really lucky.
VZN: I’ve defiantly noticed that theme in your recent releases with the artwork.
CHRIS: Yeah! I’ve started the last few years producing and writing for other artists, and I’ve just met a lot of Japanese artists, so I’ve been working over there a lot. When you’re doing that it’s a longer time, so you get to really experience the city. When you tour you’re just there for a few days and it’s a whirlwind. I’ve been there for a month at a time working on a project. It’s awesome.
-Would you rather never be able to speak again, or always have to say everything that’s on your mind?
Wow, that one’s hard. I guess always have to say everything that’s on your mind. The idea of never being able to express yourself sounds pretty depressing.
-What/Who is your biggest influence?
I already said John Lennon or The Beatles, as far as musicians go. Maybe Neil Young. WHAT is my biggest influence…people in my life, love.
-What is your favorite 90’s show?
Seinfeld. Seinfeld is like a religion.
-What’s the stupidest thing you did in your teens to look cool?
Growing up in the 90s, I had some insane JNCO jeans that were just so baggy and sagging all the time. I never bleached my hair, which is awesome. Probably sagging, what a stupid thing. I still see people sagging, it’s not like it’s completely out of fashion. Maybe it will come back and I’ll have to start again.
-Outside of music what are you known for with your friends?
I’m probably known for being really into food. I’m really into cooking and taking people on food adventures into weird ass neighborhoods in the outskirts of town.
-Favorite scary movie..
I actually don’t like scary movies that much. My favorite is probably The Shining. That movie is just so beautiful. I really love a lot of David Lynch too, which I don’t really think of as scary. But David Lynch is amazing, and I love Twin Peaks.
-Where did your band name come from?
We really wanted to name our band something that could work as something bigger than just a band. We liked it in terms of designing things from a visual standpoint, like making shirts and stuff. Now we’re putting our record out on Pop Etc Records, and we kind of like being able to shift into all these things, which is hard since a lot of band names wouldn’t really lend themselves to that. We like that it also feels like a genre too. That’s the music we play, pop, etc. We like that about it.
VZN: You guys used to be under a different name, right?
CHRIS: Yeah, we were called The Morningbenders. We changed our name, technically, but then we took a pretty long break, so it kind of feels like there were different stages. When we named ourselves The Morningbenders we didn’t really think about it at all because we didn’t think it was going to be a real band. It was just having fun around town.
-What do you do to pass the time on the road?
Recently we’ve been listening to this podcast called Topics. It was started by Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter. It’s really amazing, so we’ve been kind of binge listening to that. We just listen to music really. It’s fun, since at home these days it’s hard to sit down and listen to a whole album, since we’re working on music so much and listening to music were working on a lot. Then when you’re in the van for hours, you can actually listen to a full album and it’s kind of nostalgic.
-Give me your best door to door salesman pitch for your album.
When we set out to make this album, Souvenir, we realized that what we felt compelled to do, and what we felt like a lot of our friends were doing, was becomes this momentum and rhythm of when you’re in a band of… you make an album, tour for awhile, take a little break, then make another album. When we started making this album we promised ourselves that we weren’t going to put something out until we felt like we made an album we really needed to make. As I mentioned before, I was doing all this songwriting, producing, and doing all this stuff to try and keep busy, so I was never was like “oh i have nothing to do, let’s throw out an album”. So we really just waited, we were patient, and it took almost over two years of just writing and tweeking things, throwing tons of shit away, and starting over. Now I feel like we really have an album that is special and it’s from all three of us, and we put our heart and soul into it.
PHOTOS + INTERVIEW + WORDS BY: Carolyn Lederach