This Is an Interview With Poppy
How does one explain Poppy?
Well, if we were to go by her own words (which she may or may not recall, but more on that later), Poppy is your best friend.
But if that answer doesn’t quite cut it, the question doesn’t get any easier. Is she a YouTube star? A pop musician? An elaborate experiment with an eventual Black Mirror-esque ending that none of us see coming?
There are countless forums scattered across all corners of the internet that attempt to understand just what Poppy’s deal is. And whether it’s by digging through the (sparse) archives of her past, or tirelessly examining each aspect of every piece of work she releases, the attention Poppy receives is unique in its intensity.
But for all this sleuthing, the best way to help anyone understand Poppy is to just sit them down and play all her videos. And in a way, that’s how Poppy’s enigmatic existence wins out. You can only begin to comprehend her by going straight to the source - and how you feel about her afterwards is entirely up to your own personal preferences. (It’s sort of a creative person’s dream.)
And so when we reached out to her team for the chance to talk to her, we decided to put her creative work at the forefront. Her latest release comes in the form of her debut album Poppy.Computer (out today), and for all the chatter around her, not nearly enough of it focuses on Poppy’s knack for hooks.
In all honesty though, this was bound to be interesting either way.
So, your debut album is coming out! How’re you feeling about that?
My first album is out on October 6. I chose this date because of the special alignment of the stars on this day. I am excited to share this music with the world.
How would you describe it to anyone who’s gearing up to hear it for the first time?
This album is full of pop music that comes from seeds planted many, many years ago. Popular music has been diluted to a point where quantity prevails over quality and I wanted to do my best to preserve and reignite the things about pop that made it so special in the first place.
The new music that we’ve already heard from the album is quite different from the stuff on your Bubblebath EP. What would you say are the main differences between, well, That Poppy and this Poppy?
The new music is a reflection of Poppy the artist and not Poppy the product. Something very special happens with music when it is written with great enthusiasm. These songs are a collection of writings inspired by enthusiasm and imagination.
And what inspired that shift?
Channeling the purist truth in the universe and careful selection for those involved in this album inspired these magical recordings.
It feels like the songs we’ve heard this year have a far stronger connection to the content in your YouTube videos than your earlier output. Would you say that’s a correct observation? And does that hold true for the rest of the abum as well?
Yes, these are the first songs that reflect the same imagination that inspires the videos on YouTube.com/poppy
What’s your usual creative process for making music?
Every song on this album started on an acoustic guitar and was completely written as simply as possible. From there, we attach drum machines and synthesizers to make it sound exciting to the ears.
The songs on your album have very interesting titles. Could you pretty please give us a brief explanation about them?
The titles of the songs help someone who has never heard the songs understand immediately what the songs are about.
You’ve signed with Mad Decent for this record. How did that come about?
Diplo liked Poppy so he helped Poppy make the first Poppy album. A lot of people like Diplo’s music and he is famous.
My new favorite lyric is “Poppy will break your neck.” It feels like there’s a lot to unravel there... what’s the meaning behind that?
I don’t remember ever writing “Poppy will break your neck” but I will listen again.
What was it like collaborating with Charlotte, especially given your tumultuous relationship with her?
Charlotte was very difficult to work with but I am used to working with plastic people so I can handle it these days.
Are there more singles and videos planned for this era?
Yes, we are currently making a music video for “Moshi Moshi” and we just finished one for “Bleach Blonde Baby.”
With YouTube presumably being your medium of choice, how important do you think music videos are in general?
I don’t think music videos are as important as they used to be. “Content” is “content” for most people and they are content with that.
Do you ever wonder what VEVO’s actual purpose is?
The purpose of VEVO is to continue the tradition of corporations preventing artists from making money on their art.
Poppy, you’ve said before that you don’t really like interviews. Is that still true?
The interviewers should be more vocal and active about those within the community who are giving them a bad name.
You mentioned that you aren’t a fan of them because they tend to pry into your past, or the purpose of your… existence, I suppose. Do you feel a similar way about regular followers who are also more interested in that aspect of you, over the work you put out?
People who pry into the most boring parts about life are just as boring as the parts of my life they think hold some significance.
Do you hope this album might change that?
I don’t think anything will ever change that. All I can do is continue to create imaginative experiences for the people who enjoy my work for the right reasons.
Here’s a two part question of sorts: a large part of social media is all about sharing trends, right? Whether it's music, memes, news, whatever. And Poppy is intricately tied to social media, so do you see a future where you yourself become drastically different, to mirror those changing trends? Could a goth, electroclash Poppy be birthed in the future, as we hurtle closer and closer to the apocalypse?
Poppy is social media. Goth is dead, punk is dead, and rock n' roll is dead. Trends are dead. Nothing exists anymore because the world is spinning faster than any trend. I am creating from a place that is (hopefully) more fun than trends.
One last question: If everything goes according to your plan, where will Poppy be five years from now?
Poppy has no time. Five seconds is five years. Today is yesterday and it is 200 years ago. The internet is forever.
Rebecca Black's Tips For Going From YouTube to Pop Star: