Nothing is more important to music than passion. The soul-less drivel that infects the airwaves and much of the alternative nation is constructed with dollar bills in mind. The same is true with those that write about music. Every music magazine and website is more concerned with writing about bands that are “popular”, than writing about bands that are “great”. It’s high school all over. What will make people like me more? What will garner us more readers, more Facebook likes, more Twitter followers? Our newest writer, Rhiannon Cruz has no social media footprint. No Facebook. No Twitter. What she has, is a knack for finding great bands that believe in making great music. Great taste in music? Rhiannon has it in spades. Her first find? High pop: a band that patterns great melodies in the midst of a lo-fi shamble that would make Steve Malkmus proud. Vocalist/Guitarist Sean Posila talked to Rhiannon about their home state of Connecticut, running a record label and the evolution of their sound.
RC: So High Pop, I understand you’ve had a lineup change within the last year, you’ve expanded to a four piece. So who is everybody and who plays what?
SP: Well, there’s me, Sean, on guitar and vocals and Jord on drums- then we added Goose on bass and Dan G. on lead guitar. Our buddy Jeff also plays lead guitar for us, depending on the day. Jord and I mix and produce everything.
RC: You guys started your own record label Seagreen Records! A lot of bands are making DIY record labels nowadays because it’s easier to put out your own stuff than it is to go hunting for recognition from some of the more prominent labels. Would you say that’s the reason for the creation of this label, or was it for other reasons?
SP: It is a lot easier, in a way, with your own label. For us, there’s a group of kids in town that have all grown up together. We always try to help each other out and all that. Yet, big labels- even though they kind of get a reputation for being insider cool clubs- could be cool too in the future. But right now, Seagreen Records is just some of my really good friends working hard while having a lot of fun and doing big things.
RC: Your song “for jord” has the lyric “if it pisses you off then it makes me happy,” do you secretly hate Jord?
SP: Even though me and Jord argue and fight, he’s kinda like my brother. We’re buddies and the funny part is he wrote that song on guitar a long time ago and I liked it and stole it. He was pissed, but not really.
RC: As I understand it, a lot of your recording takes place in bedrooms/basements. How does recording in these places affect the process? Does it give you more room for creativity or is it just a necessary evil.
SP: We don’t have the money for recording in the studio and Jord and I are getting better and better at recording ourselves. We have complete freedom over what we do and how we do it and we control everything. That being said, it is one of the most stressful and painful experiences we’ve went through: writing, playing, recording, and producing everyday over a spread of a month. It’s a weird cycle of weed and coffee. It can be evil. It’s fun too. We keep doing it over and over again.
RC: Being from Connecticut it seems like a pretty tight-knit place there. Do you hang out with your fans/know them, or is it a pretty big scene?
SP: Ya, it’s really tight-knit. The scene is getting bigger and bigger, but we are buddies with a lot of the fans and many of those fans are in great bands themselves. Connecticut is a great place for music right now. ~CT PRIDE~
RC: Speaking of the tightly knit scene, the bands that are on Seagreen Records seem to have a certain brotherhood-like quality. Is that a fair way to assess the bands on the label ?
SP: Absolutely, we’ve been in each other’s bands for four or five years now. We hang together, some of us live together, and sometimes we tour together. We mix and match members and are all equally insane.
RC: You put out “Hippie Speed Ball” on cassette. A cassette craze amongst small bands and labels has surfaced lately, but I want to know your reasoning for using cassettes
SP: Listening to analog is more of an experience in itself and there’s something awesome about having your music on a very, very physical format. Plus, cassettes are “cool” and make sense for our music.
There’s a special feeling I get when I listen to, let’s say, my Cure cassettes. I want others to feel those same weird feelings for high pop. And vinyl, I imagine, is like that but better. You need to work your way up I guess.
RC: Who writes the lyrics? Who writes the music, or do you do both together.
SP: I write the lyrics and most of the music, except for the drums, but I even credit myself for teaching Jord how to play drums haha. It was kind of a personal home recording project/persona for a while until I got more and more of my friends to rock with me. Since then, we’ve done some crazy things.
But nowadays, we write some songs together and others I just think of. On our latest album, I made Jord and Dan write songs for me- kinda sweet.
RC: Every review that I’ve found for you guys, uses the phrase “lo-fi”. Are we sick of this label yet or do you embrace it, in that Robert Pollard/Guided By Voices kind of way?
SP: It used to be a nice thing, being lo-fi, but now blogs seem to kinda hate it. Personally, I appreciate it mostly. I think high pop is tastefully “lo-fi” if that’s possible. Like we kinda know how to record and produce albums, but our equipment is sucko.
Fuck it, I think we embrace it.
RC: What’s the plan for 2013?
SP: We’re touring with lvl up from Jan.2nd to Jan 6th. Beyond that, we plan to probably make more music, tour more, get more tumblr followers, and hopefully become real rock stars.
high pop is forever.