Greg Pope – Rise of the Mythical Creatures (Q&A)

Rise of the Mythical Creatures gets rave reviews. That’s not surprising because Greg Pope’s latest contains ten perfect songs. Power Pop with a little bit of Prog, to keep things exciting.

Rise of the Mythical Creatures gets a lot of positive reviews. It won’t surprise you because you must have noticed somewhere during the creative process that you were fabricating something special, or is that assumption too easy?

I’m very grateful when a good review pops up, but I never assume anything. There have been plenty of times when I worked really hard on something, and then no one seemed to care about it that much (except me, haha). I try not to worry too much about what anyone will think of what I’m working on. I don’t think that’s good for any creative endeavor. I just try to make stuff that I want to hear and hope others will want to listen to it too.

The title suggests that it is a concept album, correct?

Actually no. Album artwork and album titles never seem to come easy for me, and this one was no exception. I probably had 10 or 12 album titles and designs, all suggested by the songs and lyrics. But none of them felt right. One night my two young sons and I sat down to watch 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), and shortly after, I came up with the title and artwork.

I’ve always been intrigued by mysterious creatures like the giant squid. And I love old etchings and illustrations like the ones on the cover, some of which are by French painter Alphonse de Neuville for the 1869 serialized version of 20,000 Leagues. I thought the title sounded like an old fantasy novel, so I tried to give the artwork the vibe of a book cover.

The world has changed between the release of your previous album, Wishing on a Dark Star in 2020, and Rise of the Mythical Creatures. Did that affect the way the new album came about?

This album came about pretty much the same way they all do. This past Spring, I had a few songs that I felt might be worthy of putting out there, so I started kicking around the idea of releasing something in the Fall. I started recording it in May and just worked on it here and there over the Summer.

My past few albums have featured some playing and co-writing with my older kids, but this time, it didn’t work out that way for whatever reason. I run a fairly busy freelance business, so I had less time to focus on music. So I found it more efficient to just play and sing everything myself whenever I had a few hours to spare.

The Spotify algorithm decides to play Tommy Keene’s Places That Are Gone for me when Rise of the Mythical Creatures is over. Pretty cool, right?

Totally cool!! Though I might have preferred Songs From the Film because “I Don’t Feel Right At All” is on it, which is my fav song by Tommy Keene.

When I hear Words No One Can Say, I regularly take my Iron Maiden pose. I wouldn’t be surprised if you also like to listen to Metal?

To be honest, I’m more drawn to blues-based hard rock than Metal, though I have a healthy respect for that genre. I have pretty eclectic tastes. I grew up listening to a lot of 70s radio pop. Then I went through a pretty intense progressive rock phase. Then moved on to more singer-songwriter and guitar-driven stuff. These days I’m kind of all over the place as far as what I like to listen to. But my favorite band of all time is still The Police. When I put on Outlandos D’amour, the energy I felt listening to those songs as a 14-year-old kid is still very much there.

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