In a time where it seems that organic talent has been replaced by technology (and by technology, I mean “Autotune”) – there are still many warriors and musical theorists that are hoping to bring back the creative freedom to the artist by promoting the DIY philosophy. The latest movement is No Pop, a great concept that had its inception on the city of Toronto by the blogger Lonely Vagabond. Today, we are talking with Odonis Odonis’s Dean Tzenos who has embrace the movement to discuss more about what lead him to this philosophy and what’s that all about.
Hi Dean, how have you been?
Not too bad.
How did you stumble upon the whole No Pop movement?
I saw an article Lonely Vagabond wrote probably in 2015 and It summed up alot of how I was feeling with where music industry was heading.
What was it the most appealing thing about the movement?
I grew up in the 90’s and everything I listened to was about being anti commercial, DIY and Punk. The concept of selling out was so popular that the mainstream had to kowtow to the underground to remain relevant. By the end of 90’s into the early 2000’s the concept of selling out was dead but this idea has been reborn over and over again from Punk Rock, No wave, to Grunge . I really feel we need something like No Pop to really give people perspective again. There needs to be an awareness first for another grassroots movement to occur. People need to support their local music scenes so that there is a breeding ground for new talent, art, experimentation and innovation to flourish. The true challenge is for fans of music to embrace this idea more than anything.
In a time where label seems to somewhat die down and being replaced by its original force, the fans – what’s been like to move into a much DIY direction?
We still had a label for the release but we have always been DIY band at our core. In 2016 we hit a major reset button and started from scratch with a new sound, labels and direction. Each member took on a job and did everything we could in house. We’ve always had DIY approach to the music and production side of things since we usually produce,mix and master our own records. I think it’s pretty normal these days to have a band or artist take on as many rolls as they can, no one else is going to do it for you unless you get lucky. Finding our own fan base and focusing on that has made all the difference. We don’t need to follow the trends, or music industry. We are setup to pursue music in our own way and it’s been pretty liberating.
How was the recording and writing process? How did you get to capture the liberating and somewhat angsty essence of the No Pop movement?
The recording Process for no pop was pretty easy to be honest. Our friend and Engineer for No Pop, Ian Gomes(union sound company), lent us a bunch of vintage synths for a few months which allowed us to experiment in the practice space. We demoed for about 3 months with the bulk of the material coming together in last few weeks. Then we recorded everything in at the studio in about 4 days, we spent about 2-3 weeks mixing and mastering and it was done. We didn’t want to the record to be over labored like the previous album. We wanted to trust our instincts.
What made you want to move away from the dystopian themes from your previous material to a much grounded one?
Post Plague was a very labored over thought out record. We had a grand vision for it with a whole sci-fi dystopian theme. While Im proud of it it was completely exhausting process that led us to approaching No Pop completely differently. We wanted it to be a quick and painless process grounded in reality instead of fantasy.
Has it been a pretty difficult journey or rather surprising?
Anyone trying to make music ever knows it’s a difficult journey, full of surprises.
How did you come up with the idea of embracing the movement to the point of making an entire record based on it?
We were just really inspired by the concept that really helped free us to create as openly as possible.
How would you say can other bands join into the movement?
Any band or artist that is truly following their own artist path and vision is part of the movement they just don’t know it. While punk or grunge was related to a specific sound I feel No Pop is open to any type music as long as it’s coming from a true place. You don’t need to make music because you think it will make you popular or famous just make the art you want to make.