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INTERVIEW: The Jolly Pops

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Nacho Cheese”?

Did I take a silly joke a bit too far? Maybe. But my puppet, Bacon the Pig, calls this song the “Greatest Song Ever,” and the kids seem to agree. The grown ups are a bit more divided on the issue. All I know is journalists everywhere keep asking about the song, and I’m not going to get jalepeño business about it.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I don’t want to taco ’bout it.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

A handful of our videos are professionally crafted with a team and budget behind them. This one was not. My kids and some family friends raided the fridge for food with the desire to “make a YouTube Video”. They happened to have cheese so I thought, “I think I have an idea.” And they didn’t like it, so they did what you see instead.

The single comes off your new album Bad Bad Dinosaur – what’s the story behind the title?

Now that I have 3 years of constant performing for kids under my belt, I realize how lucky I am to be invited to their playground. The limits of their imagination and capacity for play is really boundless. So if I say to them, “Can you imagine if you had a baby dinosaur as a pet?” The answer is, “Yes, obviously. Where are you going with this?” So I borrowed their imagination. And next thing I knew, the dinosaur got bigger and started causing havoc. It wrecked the house, got hungry and started looking at us all as a snack. And this Bad Bad Dinosaur demanded top billing.

How was the recording and writing process?

In working with Matt Patrick at The Library Studio in Minneapolis for a second time, we had a bit of a rhythm and didn’t know at first we were making an album. I would go in when time allowed and even show up sometimes out of the blue when I had an idea, and he would kick me out, and on we went. With that, I was able to workshop and build songs with Matt while also maintaining a busy schedule of preschool performances and concerts. We didn’t have an end date, we were just creating. We were inching towards Spring – and in Minnesota anything is possible when Spring finally comes – and we both thought that we were close to an album. That’s when we called up the other Dads, got them involved, put the pedal down and finished it by early summer.

Did you approach this record with a whole clean mindset or you intend for this be a sort of continuation?

The answer is both. I’m never under the impression that I’m doing anything other than writing music for kids. They are my audience. But on this record we stretched out our concept of “music for kids” in a way that allowed us to venture to new places. I’ve never felt bound by genre, and kids are bound by nothing. So here, I saw it as a chance to expose kids to music in all its shapes and forms. So whether it’s a heavy metal 80’s song about wanting a puppy or a jazzy ride on the rollercoaster, it was all in play on this recording. In short, this album is a continuation of The Jolly Pops with a clean mindset towards what that can be.

How much did you choose to actually focus on dinosaurs on this record?

Pretty little actually. I’ve always wanted to write a song about dinosaurs as they seem to occupy the mind and imagination of my audience. And let’s be honest, they’re just awesome. But I also knew I wanted to try and do it differently. When I came up with the concept of an accidental pet dinosaur that gets out of control and needs to be told to behave, well, I knew I had found my way in. And once the song “Bad, Bad Dinosaur” was written and recorded, I knew it was the title track of this album.

What aspect of these big guys did you choose to focus on?

The danger in trying to domesticate them. Bad idea.

How did you get to balance the dinosaurs with the nachos?

You could try and feed your pet dinosaur nachos I suppose. Never thought of that. Good idea.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Hanging out with and taking care of my kids is all the inspiration I ever need. All I have to do is listen, ask questions and be willing to go with them to the magical places they hang out. Kids are deliciously ridiculous, and they are far funnier than all of us. That’s it. Full stop.

Any plans to hit the road?

This summer we’ve been on all the roads. Nearly every single road in MN  – with 80+ shows – and a few roads in Wisconsin, too. We’ll do the same in August, then school starts. And for one month, the touring will wan for just a moment, and I will take a big, giant, hard nap. Like, HARD nap. Bear-style.

What else is happening next in The Jolly Pops’ world?

We are setting up shows in Theaters for the upcoming school year. We’ll still be playing Preschool Field Trips, Libraries and the like. But with the help of a multimedia program called QLab we have developed a multimedia show. Basically a music concert with elements of video and sound. There will be music, stories, puppets and Jolly Pops. It’s going to be an awesome adventure. You should totally come join us.

Watch here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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