Popstar | Interview | New EP, ‘Obscene’

Uncategorized April 12, 2024

Popstar | Interview | New EP, ‘Obscene’

Popstar, born from the creative minds of Minnesota-based artists Alec Tonjes and Lars Oslund, fuses an array of influences including metal, industrial, electronic, and hyper pop, culminating in a vibrant and danceable sound.

Throughout 2023, the duo diligently worked on their debut EP ‘Obscene’, infusing it with aggressive tones, distorted vocals, and captivating melodies. Recorded in their hometown studio, this EP serves as a compelling introduction to the world of Popstar, hinting at the exciting musical journey ahead.

Photo by Sam Bramble

“The key seems to be avoiding the pressure for individual elements”

What inspired the name “Popstar” for your band, considering your diverse range of musical influences?

We were definitely at the drawing board and sat with some options for a bit at first until legitimate inspiration struck. In our hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, there’s a venue called First Avenue. There’s this myth about a band that existed for a short while called “Porn Star,” and apparently, they managed to go from their first show in a basement to the main stage seemingly overnight. No one could sort out how they moved so fast, and still, no one has. Anyway, the band managed to grab the attention of Adidas, and they bought out the name for a clothing line, which quickly ended the project, all within the span of a year. It’s a wild story and very inspiring to our band’s name, no doubt!

Can you walk us through your creative process when co-writing and recording your debut EP ‘Obscene’? Were there any challenges you faced during production?

Both of us play a variety of instruments, so many of the songs started at different points. Some originated from jam sessions in the same room, while others began with us exchanging ideas remotely, eventually deciding together on necessary changes or embellishments. The recording process followed a similar pattern: most parts were recorded individually, although there were instances where we tracked together. Collaboration always presents its challenges, as reaching agreements can be difficult, but we both share a passion for our material and strive for the best possible outcome, which helps us navigate any disagreements about musical choices.

The single ‘Afterparty’ boasts a captivating blend of glitchy synthesis and powerful vocals. How did you approach blending these different musical elements to create such a dynamic sound?

The genesis of this tune was the electronic drums and the 8-bit synth line that kicks off the first verse. We then transformed that line into a guitar part, adding layers of guitars to differentiate each section. We enjoy experimenting with guitar sounds that defy their traditional identity. As for the vocals, we found that distortion, delays, and modulation effects, along with some screaming, suited the song best.

Could you share any funny or memorable moments from the filming process of the video?

One standout moment was shooting the live band scenes in the car club. We felt out of place surrounded by such beautiful antique cars.

With influences ranging from metal to hyperpop, how do you navigate the diverse musical landscape to find your unique sound?

Both of us have a broad appreciation for various bands across different genres, making it natural for us to blend different elements together, much like many of our influences. While it can be challenging to merge certain sounds seamlessly, the key seems to be avoiding the pressure for individual elements to conform to the clichés of their original genres.

What’s next for Popstar after the release of ‘Obscene’? Any plans for live performances or future projects you can share with your fans?

Our plan is to hit the road for a bit and continue crafting new material while advancing the production elements within our collaborative workflow.

If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

It’s a tough choice! We’d likely lean towards someone like Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack, Trent Reznor, or a personal weirdo hero!

Photo by Sam Bramble

Let’s end this interview with some of your favorite albums. Have you discovered anything new lately you’d like to recommend to our readers?

Some of our collective favorites include ‘Mezzanine’ by Massive Attack, ‘The Egg’ by Shiner, and ‘Post’ by Bjork. There’s a wealth of great music out there right now. Recently, we’ve been impressed by bands like Sextile, French Police, The Soft Moon (RIP), Model/Actriz, Frost Children, They Are Gutting a Body of Water, and a Minneapolis group we’re particularly excited about called killusonline.

Klemen Breznikar

Headline photo: Sam Bramble

Popstar Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp

‘Afterparty’ by Popstar | New EP, ‘Obscene’

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