POP WILL EAT ITSELF Move with the time

Industrial “Grebo” rockers Pop Will Eat Itself return to the Rosemount Hotel on Sunday, March 11 with special guest Jim Bob from Carter USM in tow. MICHAEL HOLLICK talked to Pop Will Eat Itself vocalist and songwriter Graham Crabb ahead of the Poppies return to Australian shores.

The Poppies were always known for their high energy gigs and having seen your last tour, I can confirm that the energy is still there. What drives that?

Just lots and lots of enthusiasm. Like we’re all well up for the night and as soon as you step up to that stage you get that excitement, just back you go (to the time when we first made the music). And obviously if the crowd is into it then it’s just that much better. We’ve always found Australian crowds are very enthusiastic so that’s why we make a point of heading down there.

Do you have any trouble remembering the old Poppies’ tunes?

As we’ve done the live thing so many times it’s become instinct. When it comes to performing you rely on instinct most of the time. Like if you asked me to recite the lyrics for a particular song, I probably couldn’t, but once you get in that live zone it just takes you over and as a band, the same happens, we become a machine and just present a great show.

What new music are you listening to at the moment?

I’m back into my hip hop these days as there is some really good hip hop around at the moment. I really like Plain and Black Hippy. I think Kendrick Lamar’s albums are ace and I really think a lot of Joey Bada$$. I guess all the sort of things that hip-hop fans would probably call the alternative side of hip hop, stuff that is a bit more inventive than the mainstream.

Any plans for a new Poppies album?

Well I do have a setup in the house, so when I do get a bit of time to myself that’s my retreat. I haven’t tried putting what I’ve recorded so far into any kind of semblance but at last count there were 20 odd tunes knocking about. So hopefully next year we’ll be able to get the band together and that will be the project for 2018.

What kind of form would a new Poppies release take? Would the band be likely to embrace the evolution of the internet and streaming music?

I don’t think (the internet has) particularly helped us, just because our fans have always liked having the physical item and we’re from that era. Our two most recent releases were physical releases (2014’s Anti-Nasty League LP and Funk FIFA single), and we did them as fan-only releases. However, going forward I think we’re just going to have to accept that people want to hear their music streamed. You just end up like dinosaurs if you don’t move with the time.

What’s the line-up for the tour ?

As per the previous tour, Mary Byker, Davey and myself. Richard March, an original Poppie will be joining us so that’s something for original fans to look forward to. Fuzz (Townshend) couldn’t make it for the Australian tour as he’s a bit of a cult superstar on the TV these days. He does a show called carSOS, where he does up cars, as he was a mechanic before he joined the band, so he’s gone back to doing that.

What are you looking forward to in Australia?

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone again, Australia has always been such a lively crowd so we hope the passing years haven’t diminished that and that we can all be as crazy as we used to be for one more night. And don’t be shy to come up and have a word with us.