5 December 2021

interview CONNOR BUSBY
hair TOMOAKI SATO using oribe – make-up MEGHAN NGUY

Poppy. She’s Poppy. She is Poppy. Poppy. She is Pop-py. She’s Poppy! Poppy? These two syllables have captivated so many of us for the last 8 years and for good reason. Ever since she first graced our screens eating cotton candy, we have been collectively enthralled by her ability to seemingly hold out the answers to our questions tantalizingly just beyond our reach. But despite all the internet conspiracy theories in the early years that she was some kind of sentient android, Poppy’s humanity has always been very clearly on display (that first cotton candy video devolves into a flash of genuine fourth-wall breaking silliness at the very end). And as she has grown as an artist and a musician over the years, this flash of humanity has quickly expanded from an infinitely concentrated pre-Big Bang ball of energy to a whole galaxy and macrocosm of creative expression. Along the way though, Poppy has lost none of her enigmatic charm and the answers she gives below would make Shakespeare’s Polonius proud with their brevity and wit. And we guarantee that once you have read them, you will never look at smoothies in quite the same way again…

If you had the chance to do so would you change your “public” name from Poppy to something else and if so, what would your new name be? Does Poppy mean anything different to you now, as you explore heavier, cathartic styles of sonic expression?

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Your last album was entitled I Disagree. Is disagreeing with something an inherently more individualistic act than that of agreeing?

I’d say so. But only if it’s wholeheartedly believed and not a disagreement for the sake of being argumentative.

How much of our identity and sense of self is tied to the physical vessels that we inhabit? Are the borders of our bodies the defining limit for the individual?

I believe the mind is more valuable than the body and there are no limitations of the mind.

Is imitation the highest form of flattery? Is originality an overrated or obsolete concept?

Imitation is flattering but an attempt at originality is more impressive than direct imitation. Your influences shouldn’t be so easily traced. Make a concoction to make it your own. Like a smoothie.
Is the Internet more of a process of connecting broadly with others at large or of finding our own intimate, niche little corners for very specific interests? What is the best way in your opinion to go about trying to find ourselves in its often slippery and troublesome landscape?

I believe you need to ask yourself what you’re seeking from it otherwise it will eat you alive. You control your own virtual food.

The music video for “Her” from your new album, Flux, seems to be partly a commentary on the fickleness of the music industry. What are some of your thoughts on how an individual’s creativity or perspective is commodified and turned into a product to be sold?

Music and business don’t exactly go hand in hand. There’s always a bit of compromise when you have to work with others in the industry. Just hold on to what you believe cannot be touched or changed and protect that. No matter what.

I believe the mind is more valuable than the body and there are no limitations of the mind.

You have a lot of experience collaborating with others and have stated that this latest album is the product of “warmth and togetherness and [a] live element” found through recording with your band as a group all in the same room. Does working closely with others reveal hidden layers of yourself that you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise? How does one make sure to still maintain space for oneself that is personal and private while still allowing this spirit of teamwork to flourish?

I think it reveals more about yourself that you might not have entertained or stumbled upon otherwise. On the question of “how to maintain space for yourself” – I believe you need to find that on your own.

Can you talk a little about your creative process for your new collection with Q-pot. – were there any parallels between creating these physical product designs and the process of crafting your music?

The parallel is – it starts with my idea. But then in a collaborative process you hear someone else’s side as well. You take bits of their expertise and yours, throw it in a blender and hit frappe and voila!