NoiseTrade One-on-One

Interview with POP ETC

As POP ETC continues to lay the foundation for their Infinite Singles Collection project with the brand new song “Losing Yourself,” we decided to chat up the ambitious indie-pop trio’s frontman Chris Chu for our newest NoiseTrade One-on-One. Read on to find out about what inspired the band’s newest track, what they’re doing with their Infinite Singles Collection project, their thoughts on the “singles vs. albums” discussion, and much more!

NoiseTrade: First things first, tell us all about your brand new single “Losing Yourself” that we’re premiering here on NoiseTrade. What was the inspiration behind the lyrics and music?

Chris Chu: I’ve been listening a lot lately to Smashing Pumpkins and this Japanese band I really like called Sakanaction. I saw them play and got to meet them last time I was in Japan and it was really inspiring. The lyrics are pretty straightforward on this song, I think. I’ve seen myself and a lot of the people around me kind of oscillate between thinking about the future and living in the present. Maybe there’s a way to do both, I don’t know.

NoiseTrade: Being that “Losing Yourself” is the January installment of your Infinite Singles Collection project, what’s the backstory on how the ambitious “song-a-month” idea first started bubbling up and what are your plans for it?

Chu: We had started writing our next album when it kind of hit us that making another album just sounded pretty stale and boring. It wasn’t exciting to us. We still love albums, and that format, but with the way the music world works right now, the idea of waiting another two or three years (or even more) to put out an album sounded insane to us. We are constantly making music, and we wanted some way of releasing that felt more free and dynamic.

NoiseTrade: To help listeners catch up, what can you tell us about each of the previous song installments in the Infinite Singles Collection and where each single’s creative roots lie?

Chu: We’ve been making a lot of songs, and they are pretty all over the place! It’s super fun! The couple of songs we’ve put out so far, “Fingerprints” and “Sleight Of Hand,” are much more acoustically based than songs we’ve written on the last couple albums. Aesthetically, I think they sound a bit like some of the old morning benders tunes, some of the first songs I wrote. Not that that was intentional, but listening to them now I can kind of hear it. In the last few months I’ve started writing on acoustic guitar again. Something I haven’t really done for years.

NoiseTrade: Even though you’re only a few months in, what has been some of the best and worst parts of committing to a recurring project like this?

Chu: It’s been pretty much only positive so far. I thought maybe it would feel like a lot of work to put out songs every month, but we honestly make so much music that I can’t imagine it ever feeling like a burden. Even if I inexplicably stopped writing songs today, we have years of material.

NoiseTrade: In a larger context, how do you feel releasing singles (as opposed to releasing complete albums) lands with today’s listening audience? Do you think one format is better or worse than the other or do they both achieve different results?

Chu: Neither is better or worse. I think it just depends on the artist and the mindset they’re in. Right now, it feels great to be putting out singles, but I can see how in the future we might want to release albums again or even arrange some of these songs into albums. But yea, the whole singles thing feels pretty natural and in line with how people are consuming music these days. I don’t know a lot of people that listen to full albums, besides some of my musician friends. Most people I know just queue up random songs. I know a lot of people are mourning the loss of the album, but I don’t look at it that way. I just see this sort of thing as cyclical.

NoiseTrade: Finally, can you give us any hints about future entries in the Infinite Singles Collection? Any special guests, interesting musical inspirations, or covers in the works?

Chu: I would give you guys the scoop but honestly we have no idea what is coming. That’s sort of the beauty of this thing. We can just make it up as we go along!

When writer Will Hodge (@will_hodge) isn’t on a live wire right up off the street, you can find him running off at the keyboard about music, concerts, and vinyl at My So-Called Soundtrack