5 writers, 5 questions, 1 band, hand-picked by the MWA writers. Welcome to FIVE x FIVE. This week: Cincinnati’s most evil pop/rockers, Pop Goes The Evil.

A few months ago, we gave Pop Goes The Evil a spin, and we’ve haven’t stopped listening since. The trio celebrated the release of their sophomore album, Love Stained Heart. at the beginning of the summer and has spent the last few months performing across the Midwest including slots at both the Mile of Music and Midpoint Music Festivals. The group will be in Chicago tomorrow night for their last performance until March, so if you’re in the area, don’t miss out! In anticipation of the gig, Pop Goes The Evil was kind enough to answer a few of our questions for this week’s FIVE x FIVE.

I know that it’s only been half a year since the release of Love Stained Heart, but do you have anything in the works for your next release?

Something is always in the works, I suppose. The creative juices have definitely been flowing lately. We’d like to release our next LP in the Spring of 2016. The majority of the world has not heard our first two albums, so our focus this year is going to be tour, tour, tour. I can imagine us doing an EP or a 7″ in the interim, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Did you approach the writing of Love Stained Heart any differently than White Cream Soda?

Yes. It was very different. The songs on White Cream Soda were written almost a year and a half before we recorded the album. We had some line up changes, and that’s why it ended up taking so long to get into the studio. The songs on Love Stained Heart are a strange mash up of riffs I wrote when I was a teenager and brand new material. Making Love Stained Heart taught me a valuable lesson: do not book studio time until you are done writing the songs. I thought the pressure of a deadline would inspire my creativity, but it stifled it, causing stress and anxiety. I think that’s a big reason why this album ended up being more aggressive. I remember the exact time that the creative juices finally kicked in. Something clicked in my head, and I thought, “Oh my god. I don’t give a shit. I’m just going to be myself and say exactly what I want to say how I want to say it”. For our next album, I’m going to take that mentality along with not booking time until the songs are done. I think the result is going to be lovely.

There’s only two tracks on Love Stained Heart that don’t break five minutes, do you set out to write longer songs or does it just happen that way?

I definitely don’t set out to write longer songs, but the way I like to write lends itself to the length. I really enjoy things like tempo changes and big fantastic outros, changing the song completely and riding it out. I never realize how long the songs are until I finally record a demo or bring them to the band. It never seems like an option to trim them down, as I never write any parts as “filler” just to make songs longer. Each song ebbs and flows, having it’s own Jekyll and Hyde kind of personality. Sometimes you just gotta slow things down and groove.

A lot of your songs feel almost theatrical, where do you pull inspiration from when writing?

In terms of the theatrical aspect, I’ve been performing on stage since the first grade. My first big part was the big bad wolf in a 50’s musical adaptation of Little Red Riding hood in the 3rd grade. I graduated as a theater major from the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing arts is 2007. I’ve always loved being out lands and theatrical, the center of attention. It’s just in my blood, and I think I have my father to thank for that. The other part of the theatrical aspect comes from being a teenager, watching a lot of kids sing-a-long shows with my baby brother. The songs were always catchy, repetitive, boisterous, and sometimes kind of creepy. When I came up with the concept for Pop Goes the Evil, I wanted to make music that would capture the strange vibe of those children’s shows. I wanted to make a sing-a-long band for adults that would inspire people to be themselves and take pride in their desires. I know that sounds kind of weird, but it’s supposed to. Those kids songs were always fun and encouraging. Sometimes adults need to be reminded that they are special too.

I’ll also just throw in that I really love Elvis, Marc Bolan, and Sabbath.

In March, you ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the release of Love Stained Heart. Do you think crowdfunding is the future of independent music? Would you use it again?

It’s inevitable. Unless we strike it rich or score a deal, we will always have to rely on our fans for monetary support with these big projects. With that being said, we would never ask for money if we didn’t need it, and we would never ask for more than the exact amount we need. If crowdfunding has taught us anything, it’s that people have no problem donating money to something they really believe in. Regardless of the money, crowdfunding is a great way to strengthen the bond between bands and fans. It’s always amazing to see people you never thought would even donate make a pledge that blows your mind. Do I think it’s the future of independent music? I’m not sure if it’s the future, but it’s definitely the most useful too for the here and now. In an industry where everything is constantly changing, something different is bound to come a long that people will latch on to. Something as simple as crowdfunding platforms raising their charges substantially could result in a worldwide boycott of such sites. I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon, but everything changes eventually.

If you’re in Chicago, don’t miss Pop Goes The Evil at the Metro tomorrow night playing alongside Mutts, Archie Powell & The Exports, and The Kickback. You can pick up your tickets here

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