GREG POPE – Guiding Star (interview)

Someone just said to me the other day “You know this is your best album, don’t you?”. No actually.

Great reviews! How does that make you feel? Also a bit strange?

Honestly I think having my albums reviewed at all amidst the sea of releases coming out each year is a real honor. I have been completely surprised at the reactions to Guiding Star. Someone just said to me the other day “You know this is your best album, don’t you?”. No actually. I just thought it was my ‘next’ album. So it’s nice and a bit strange. 

Was there a specific moment when you knew you were on the right track, making a great album?
I’m constantly working on new material but there’s usually a point when I realize I’m actually working on an album as opposed to a handful of songs. But I never know what people are going to like or respond to. And one of the challenges for me is just to not worry about that and make the music that I’m hearing in my head. 

How did you record Guiding Star?
I do most of my recording at my home studio. It’s basically an upstairs bedroom in our house. I’ve done plenty of “proper studio” recording in years past but for some reason the stuff I record at home just seems to resonate more with people. I do things a bit unconventionally in that I almost always start by playing the drums. I don’t use a guide track or a click, I just sit down and play drums with the song in my head. Once I’m happy with that performance I lay in the other instruments and vocals. I typically work quickly and I use a pretty basic set up. It’s all a very low-fi endeavor.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?
I think the aspect that has effected artists like me is the access to listeners world wide. It’s fairly common for me to hear from listeners in other countries and that is so exciting to me. I suppose the negative is the fact that it’s easier to make and release recorded music which has made it tougher to be heard or noticed.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?
Ugh. I don’t like her already. Do I really have to go out with her again?? And how will I explain this to my wife? But seriously, mix tape of some of my favorites…I might include:

Can’t Stand Losing You (The Police)
It’s A Wonderful Lie (Paul Westerberg)
The Kids are Alright (The Who)
Another Nail For My Heart (Squeeze)
Death of the Party (Keene Brothers)

What are your expectations? How are you going to promote Guiding Star?
My band (Greg Pope & The Popmonsters) is doing a few shows in the Southeast this Fall and we’ll be doing material from Guiding Star, my previous releases, as well as songs from my former band Edmund’s Crown. I’ll also be releasing a video or two. Stay tuned. 

My blog:
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