If you haven’t already immersed yourself Holding Out For A Hero, the new single from Popular Music, go listen to it now. Originally written by Jim Steinman, the new reinterpretation is a dark and pulsating slice of industrial synth-pop. It’s also the second single taken from their upcoming full-length album, Popular Music Plays In Darkness.
So, fresh off the track’s release, we caught up with the group to chat all about it, their new record, life in lockdown, and heaps more.
With an amazing new single hot off the press, we caught up with cinematic pop duo Popular Music to chat about all about it.
HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?
POPULAR MUSIC: We’ve been locked away at our home for the past few months — a strange, century-old barn/studio in Upstate New York. Doing our best to stay busy/not completely lose our minds.
HAPPY: We’re loving the new single! How does it feel having out there in the world?
POPULAR MUSIC: Thank you. It’s been an unexpectedly long journey, so more than anything, we’re relieved.
HAPPY: Originally recorded for the Footloose soundtrack, this song is so recognisable. Was there a particular part of this song’s history that drew you to it?
POPULAR MUSIC: It’s a song written by Jim Steinman, who’s probably best known for writing Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell record and Bonnie Tyler’s other hit, Total Eclipse of the Heart — and whose lone solo album is maybe the most overwritten, Wagnerian pop record ever released. Holding Out For a Hero is pretty restrained by comparison. He’s a genius.
HAPPY: All Bandcamp proceeds for the first week of the single’s release go to the National Bail Out — can you tell us a bit about this organisation?
POPULAR MUSIC: National Bail Out helps black mothers and caregivers in America pay bail so they can get out of pre-trial detention. Many of these people shouldn’t even be detained to begin with, and the close-quarters in U.S. jails are creating a hotbed for the coronavirus. They also provide supportive services and fellowship opportunities for those who are bailed out.
HAPPY: Are these singles a taste of something bigger to come? An album perhaps?
POPULAR MUSIC: These singles are anticipating our debut album, Popular Music Plays in Darkness, which will hopefully be available this fall. It’s a twelve-track reimagining of songs from 20th Century cinema. It’s a sad, dreamy, dark mix of synths and strings that we’ve been working on for the better part of a year.
HAPPY: Regarding the visual side of things, we hear you’ve put a call out?
POPLAR MUSIC: Yes, we’re currently asking people to help us with a forthcoming music video, considering the limitations of life in the U.S. right now. We’re humbly asking for their lost moments in VHS and Super-8. We’re taking submissions here.
HAPPY: There are so many different genres incorporated in your music… do you feel like your sound is always evolving? Or do you feel like you’ve settled on something concrete?
POPULAR MUSIC: We always set out to do something quite specific, but the recording process tends to reveal other things we may not have predicted. We’re very into the idea of settling on something concrete, but historically are both guilty of pretty schizophrenic approaches to genre, so we’ll see how it goes.
HAPPY: What artists have been in your isolation rotation?
POPULAR MUSIC: A lot of sad, sort-of-dystopian instrumental music: Vangelis, Michael Nyman, Morricone, Krzysztof Komeda, Angelo Badalamenti, Goblin, etc. We have a running Spotify playlist which contains much our of isolation soundtrack, Variations on a Theme, which we’ve been updating pretty regularly. Prudence has been listening to Emerald Web and the Greenhouse album, Songs For Invisible Plants by LA artist Olive Ardizoni.
HAPPY: What’s next for Popular Music? Any other exciting plans in the works?
POPULAR MUSIC: It’s a strange time to be making plans, but we’re working away on our next album — a collection of originals this time. It’s a slow process, but it’s keeping us busy.
HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!
Holding Out For A Hero is available now. Listen above.