Somewhere out there a man is missing some fingers and another has an extra three dollars in his pocket. Wait, what? You’ll just have to read this interview with Pop Alma for that to make much more sense, and in reading you’ll also find out how they came to be, the beauty of their varied tastes coming together as one, and more about their latest release, ‘Tales of a Hopeless Romantic,’ out now.
Kendra: What led you four to come together and start a band?
Jacob: So we started the band as a result of another band if I’m being entirely honest. A mutual friend of our’s had brought Alex and me together to become friends (shoutout to Tim Jackson). I had already started concocting some songs as my own thing, but when we eventually got to jamming out together, it just made sense for me to ask him to be a part of the project. Obviously, more writing happened, and things eventually got more serious. We knew we wanted to expand as a band and that we wanted to do this for the long haul, and once Chris and Harley became a part of the mix, everything seemed to balance itself out.
Alex: Word. After discovering bands such as My Chemical Romance and Green day, I always wanted to be a part of a band. Especially during my low times, music felt like an escape. I wanted to be in a band not only as an escape for me, but I want to help people through music just like these bands did for me. It was hard to find people around my age that had the same drive and taste in music, however, when I met Jacob it felt like a perfect match on Tinder. We started as a duo for a while, with some drummers and guitarists here and there, but we knew we needed more heads on deck to make this complete. That’s when Chris came in, through a mutual friend, and it was almost complete. I knew Harley through another friend and we even played music with each other for a bit, so it was a no-brainer to have him fill the role as the guitarist.
Chris: I met Jacob through a friend. They were looking for a drummer for their project that ultimately led to being Pop Alma. Everything sorta just clicked when we had our first practice! A lot of my drumming came from inspiration from different pop punk bands (The Wonder Years, Knuckle Puck, State Champs, to name a few off the long list of bands.) With that being said, our styles just mixed and therefore led us into being a band that I’m proud to be a part of.
Harley: I had met Jacob through Alex. Jacob had contacted me (he had sung with my other band for a few shows) and asked me to write some guitars for what ended up becoming Effortlessly. After that had been finished, a few weeks went by and I was asked to join the band and I had to think about it for a few weeks before ultimately agreeing to join.
Kendra: Last year saw the release of Pop Alma’s first single – and what a year to drop your debut single, right? I talked to one group and they said that while the pandemic was rough on them, they appreciated the extra time it gave them to focus on music. Was that the case for your band?
Chris: I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t agree with them. With this extra time, we had during the pandemic we were keen on getting everything right with this EP we made. We wanted the story with this EP to be as coherent as possible and invite any listener no matter what mood to instantly get hooked onto something that we feel suits everyone. Yeah, it sucks that we were in a pretty bad part of our lives with this pandemic going on, but we turned our pain into a fine listening experience.
Kendra: Just on a surface level, it seems like ‘SOMA’ and ‘Tales of a Hopeless Romantic’ are going to vary in a variety of ways. How would you compare where you were mentally writing and recording your 2020 EP as opposed to your upcoming EP?
Jacob: I got pettier. Next question… In all seriousness, this project was years in the making and has been through different iterations. I wrote many of the concepts for this one WAY before ‘SOMA’ was even a thought. In the end, though, it came down to the fact that we were very intentional in creating something that made you feel everything being thrown at you. It also helped to have feedback from the other boys and having them help with the writing this time around. When ‘SOMA’ was coming out, I kinda felt like I was running around like a chicken with no head trying to keep this thing afloat, and this time around it doesn’t feel that way. it’s finally gotten to the point where we are ONE.
Alex: I felt excited, but at the same time kinda bored. That was when we were still recording ‘SOMA.’ Don’t get me wrong, I love the EP! But the only songs that jump out, in my opinion, are “Last Man” and “Medicine.” When it comes to ‘Tales’ though it felt like a breath of fresh air. I guess you can say we were out of our comfort zone for the whole process. This is probably the very first project that I can say I’m genuinely excited about.
Chris: This is my first time writing an EP with Pop Alma. I’ve worked on some solo stuff in the past, but I cannot be any more proud of what we created. Front to back the EP is bop after bop, being a part of the writing process for not only drums but some lyrics as well, it was a pleasure but more so a memory I’ll forever keep.
Kendra: “ur my fvrite sng” sort of reminded me of seeing Head Automatica back in the day. Not because it sounded anything like them, but because I can imagine that you’d be on a bill with alt and pop punk bands but stick out from the crowd due to your more pop-infused ways and homages to hip hop, much like they did with their unique approach. Do each of you bring a new aspect and style to the table, or are you all collectively lovers of various genres?
Jacob: Totally! That’s what keeps this thing going. “Trust Fall” is probably still my favorite song that we have, as of right now. It changes as the songs keep coming in, but that one was a huge risk since it was so drastically different when you look at some of the other tracks on the EP. It was such a huge jump in genre and style but it’s a true testament, sonically speaking, to how far our abilities can go.
Chris: Of course! All of us have different styles of music we listen to! I mainly listen to a lot of Pop Punk/Hardcore bands (and also Katy Perry as my guilty pleasure tastes as well) I bring a lot of elements from the music I listen to into the music we make!
Alex: Hell yeah we do! That’s what makes this whole thing interesting, we all come from totally different backgrounds. I grew up on hip hop/R&B, which then went into Pop and Reggae, then into Emo/Post-hardcore. My favorite thing about Pop Alma is the diversity in our styles, yet we all enjoy the same music. I don’t know. It’s weird, but like a cool weird. You know?
Harley: The beautiful thing about music is that we four can come together from different places in the music world (Jacob with R&B, Chris with Pop Punk, Alex with more Hip Hop and 2000’s emo, and myself with ’60-’90s rock/Garage rock) and create this wonderful blend of noise we call music. I think we all have a general variety in taste but I think what makes our sound particularly unique to us is that we come from these further apart backgrounds of music.
Kendra: Your other single, “My Bed Is Big Enough for the Two Of Us,” made me think of my favorite pastime and that is…napping. It’s something I do more often now than before due to being home way more. Did you pick up any new hobbies from the quarantines?
Chris: Yea! I’ve been dabbling into playing guitar and teaching myself how to sing! I’ve also been teaching myself graphic design to make everything easier when it comes to show flyers or merch design for the band. I was pretty active during the quarantine, instead of sleeping or watching Netflix, I got creative and learned new things that seemed so foreign to me!
Harley: I’ve been teaching myself piano and I’ve been getting back into the gym and recently started Taekwondo.
Alex: I posted a full band cover of ‘The Office’ theme song on my Instagram. I also bought fingers off the black market. $3.00. What a steal!
Jacob: I sold my fingers on the black market. Didn’t make much off of them.
Kendra: With the album out in mid-November, what else do y’all have planned as we head out of 2021 and into 2022? Touring?
Jacob: We would love to if the opportunity arises (Pop Alma on Instagram if y’all wanna throw us an offer. We started writing, again, not too long after we finished recording ‘Tales Of A Hopeless Romantic’, so I’d say to expect some new music and plenty of shows.
Harley: Just cranking out as many tunes as we can and growing as a band. Tour-wise, we’re hoping to venture out beyond our wonderful little state and make as many people sing with us as possible.
Chris: We’re trying to make more content for all platforms we’re on and we would love to tour and see where that takes us in 2022!
Alex: If you wanna throw us an offer, that’s cool. If you wanna throw stuff at us, that’s cool too. But as far as future stuff in 2022, you’ll just have to see.