KOPPS on Staying Sane in a World Upside Down
Interviewed by Sam Mackey | Shot by Carianne Older
KOPPS don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s almost impossible to fit them into a genre or label, but if asked, the band might tell you that their sound is an equal and strong mix of Britney Spears and KoЯn, and they wouldn't be that far off the mark. Anchored by Patricia Patrón's sultry vocals, the band “has a knack for pop sensibility that they immediately flip on its head, evoking a titillating mix of electro, pop and nu metal.” Or as they like to call it: CrazySexyCreepy. A flair for the dramatic and a wry sense of humour has given the group a distinct visual style often described as twisted and bizarre, seen in everything from their live shows to music videos. Fresh off of dropping their newest single, OH DANG DANG, we sat down with the group to learning a bit more about their new music, the intention behind their work and their content creation process. Oh, and they’ve got a few sage words on the state of the world today.
Congrats on the release of your new song, “OH DANG DANG”! It has such a clever mixture of upbeat, playful sounds with darker, cynical undertones. Is there anything you’d like listeners to know about the creation of the song?
Well, upon first listen, it could be mistaken for a song purely about butts, but it’s really about unrelenting American consumerism, as well as the quest for “the next best thing.” So, yeah, we’re fans of a good strong double meaning.
Your work shows a recurring focus on today’s technology, with hints of futurism. What statements are you looking to make here?
Everything is fucked, everybody sucks.
If listeners had to take away one message from your work, what would you hope they understand?
That humor and sexuality (both distractions) may be the only way to stay semi-sane in a world this upside down (and flat).
“Humor and sexuality may be the only way to stay
semi-sane in a world this upside down.”
You guys have described yourselves several times as “genre-less,” noting that you all have different tastes. Who would each of the band members individually cite as their influences as a musician?
Patricia - I’m a sucker for the whole package, so I always cite Prince. A dancer, singer, instrumentalist, writer, visionary, fashion-fucking-icon, provocateur … be still my purple-ass heart. I am a firmly-planted ’90s bitch as well, with all genres from that era running deep for me. I also love to sing funk and soul.
Kyle - Blur, Blink 182, No Doubt, Smashing Pumpkins, Gorillaz, Ace of Base, Nirvana.
Travis - KOPPS brings to mind probably Bowie and Prince. In terms of being able to walk on stage in just about anything, as well as their stage presence and not giving a fuck. Bjork, too, for how forward-thinking she has always been in sound and visuals. For me personally, with guitar, I feel like I think a lot about post-punk and stuff like !!!; maybe other outliers like Larry Levan, and the stuff he produced. Otherwise, it’s also paying attention to what’s going on now in the pop-indie (for lack of a better word) worlds.
Patricia - I feel like with everything stated above, you can see elements of these influences in the diverse sound structure of much of our music.
What would you say to people that suggest pop music can’t have substance to it?
I would say that you must not really know what pop music is, then. Pop — or popular music — to me is something that is infectious and addictive. If you’ve ever listened to a particular song (of substance) 20 times in a row, I think you would be hard-pressed to deny that song has elements of pop. For example, Marilyn Manson’s music is pop — hate to break it to you. If you’re talking specifically bubblegum pop like Britney Spears, I think you should give “Every Time” a listen and cry yourself to sleep tonight.
“If you’ve ever listened to a particular song (of substance) 20 times in a row,
I think you would be hard-pressed to deny that song has elements of pop.”
Throughout your career, you’ve had multiple collaborations with Joywave. Are there any other collaborations you have planned for the future?
We and Joywave collectively make up Cultco sound. We are from the same city and have always worked and played together frequently, so I will never say never to the possibility of future collabs. Dan Armbruster has historically been our main producer within our core writing team, and much of our music has been recorded at Joywave studios. We have excellent writing chemistry that is at the core of KOPPS’ sound.
What is your favorite part about performing live? If you had to choose between live performance, recording, or songwriting, which process would you say you enjoy the most?
Honestly, we love all of those things; they’re kind of dependent on one another. Performing live I think is my favorite because it’s like a culmination of all the work you’ve done in real-time. There can be millions of people listening to your music around the world at once but until you see them react to your music in real life it just looks like numbers on a screen. It’s a feeling like nothing else to share a moment with the audience and be fully immersed. It might be the only time I can fully focus my mind on one thing, to be honest. It would be very hard to give up.
“There can be millions of people listening to your music around the
world, but until you see them react to your music in real life, it just
looks like numbers on a screen.”
What I would give up is all the back-end music stuff you need to do when you’re an independent artist … emailing, coordination, bills, taxes, legal [stuff], learning how to manage tech, travel stuff, constant social engagement online, etc., etc., etc.
Your band seems to be on its own schedule, creating quality singles with engaging videos instead of forcing an abundance of content. Do you guys set out to write, or let the songs and videos come naturally?
Studio time is precious — as our team is busy — so each time we write we are aiming for the stars. However all of us independently work on ideas constantly so that things can go faster when we do hit studio time. I am writing literally every day, though many times it’s snippets while I’m on the go, that will or will not end up getting used. As far as our schedule, we have had frequent change-ups on back-end stuff that have sometimes caused delays. We feel we have kind of always had quality work waiting to be released, so it’s not as if we just haven’t had material. Hoping that in 2019 our releases will be more timely.
Is there an EP or album we can be looking forward to in the near future?
Yes — planning for a definite compilation to be out in 2020. Most likely an EP.