Singer/Songwriter Talks Latest Release & Trying Not to Write

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 12:24

An Interview with Ron Pope

By Casey Pukl

Singer/Songwriter, Ron Pope, gives hope to this latest generation of musicians. His success has largely been a product of viral success on various social media channels, and he only continues to gain more traction with every new release. His latest record, Atlanta, is perhaps his most ambitious to date. The album showcases Pope’s prolific lyrics, crystal clear vocals, and love of sweeping guitar soundscapes. Oh, and did I mention it’ll make you cry your eyes out? Just go listen to “A Wedding in Connecticut” and see if you can keep your composure. It’s a fun game to play with a bunch of girls.

I had the chance to catch up with Pope this week about his latest tour with American Idol album Josiah Leming and how his latest release has been received on the road. Read on to find out why Pope is so pleased with the latest record, and just why he’s actively trying not to write songs at the moment!

CP: I know you just released your new record, Atlanta. How’s that been going? Have you been on the road supporting that for the most part?

RP: Yeah! I’ve been on the road since April, and I’ve toured in America for a little while. Then I went directly to Europe and I did stay there. We did the UK and then we came back for a little while to North America and then went to Canada, and just stayed in Canada. And now we’re all over the U.S. Yeah, so I will have been out for all of May, and all of June, and some of April. That’s kind of what we’ve been doing, just touring non-stop promoting “Atlanta”.

CP: What has the response to the record been like?

RP: You know, I think everybody, luckily, everybody has been really, really into it. In the past, I’ve never released an album that people gravitated towards so quickly. People have been singing along to the songs since this tour began and even when we first started, I mean, I think three days after the record came out. So it’s been pretty incredible that people have latched onto the record and have been excited about it. I couldn’t be happier with the reception to the album.

CP: That title track is just so haunting and just sucks you right into it. It’s awesome. I’m a big fan of that track.

RP: Thank you.

CP: And I know you’ve had your songs cut by a couple other people over the years, I know, Javier Colon most recently did “A Drop in the Ocean.” Was your goal ever to just be a songwriter behind the scenes, or have you always been a performer songwriter?

RP: I’ve always been a performer and kind of, secondarily, have been a songwriter. I write songs because it’s easier to get people to pay attention to the song. You know, than it is to if you don’t write your own songs. I see that the most important commodity to hold in this industry is a song. There’s lots of kids that sing, there’s lots of kids that play, there’s always going to be someone younger, and better looking, and better at playing instruments, and whatever else. But, if you can write your own songs, you can write your own tickets, you know? Because you’re creating the context. You are the the letter writer.

CP: Right.

RP: So, yeah, I never have really been like, “Oh yeah, I’m going to be the songwriter and sit around and write songs for other people.” I think it’s really cool that people are recording my songs, and that certainly was never really my intention. 

CP: What’s your writing process like?

RP: You know, I don’t really have any kind of absolute method. I don’t know— it depends on the day, I guess; because sometimes words comes first, sometimes the music, sometimes just the melody. More often than not, I sit down and just write the song. I’ll write the words all in one sitting, and it all kind of happens at once. But, it depends on the song. Like I said, sometimes I’ll think of a little melody. Sometimes, I play a little guitar riff or I play some chords. Usually, I get there’s a kind of flow, and I’ll write songs front to back.

CP: This latest record- was there anything in particular that inspired it, or have you just built up these songs over the past year or so? How did that come about?

RP:  Well, I decided when we were going in to make this album that I’ve done so many different things over the last year. I’ve really been on a lot of adventures and experienced and experimented with a lot in music. And so ultimately what I wanted to do was try to take all of the things that I love and create a distinctive palette and create the album from that. So, a lot of innately disparate elements were brought together. I really love crazy, textural, soundscape, sonic, adventurous guitar stuff. So pop some of that in, and then some elements from Americana. The pedal steel, fiddle, banjo, things like that. And I love the harmonies, I love a lot of things, but I said, “I bet I can find a way to put all these things together and not restrict myself. Utilize the very broad palate of things that I love, put them together, and make a sound that is uniquely mine.”

I feel like, for the first time in my career, this album is exactly what I want it to say, it sounds exactly how I want it to sound. It really captured exactly what we were looking for. So, that was the idea going into this— to make something that sounded distinctly mine. It sounded like it was me, and it had all the things that I love, and all the things that are a part of me injected into it.

CP: How has touring with Josiah Leming been?

RP: He’s the worst! I actually just left him at a gas station in North Texas. So, actually, if you could send someone to go pick him up, that would be great.

CP: (Laughs)Perfect!

RP: I have his luggage, actually, too, so if you could come get that too… (laughs). Nah, it’s been great. You know, we have been having a fun time. You know, it’s always cool when you get to tour with people that are cool and that are fun to be around. So, it’s good. It’s an enjoyable experience. And we’re having a good time too, he’s just a great guy, wonderful, and I think my fans are really enjoying it. We’ve got a really good thing going out here. So, it’s been great. I’ll be sad when this tour ends.

CP: Have you guys been writing together at all on tour? Jamming out?

RP: No, not at all. I decided because, for me, writing is like a tick. I do it up. And so I decided to not write at all for a while in an attempt to stop myself from immediately going into the studio and making another album. Because I really love the “Atlanta” album, and I feel like it deserves for me to take a serious amount of time to promote it so, the only way I can do that is by not making another album. So I’m going to probably, as much as I can, refrain from writing songs for a while. And that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been trying to actively stop writing songs or else I won’t stop (laughs)!

CP: That’s totally opposite of anything anyone has ever said to me before!

RP: Well, you know, luckily, and knock on wood, I’ve always been able to fizz out and I feel like I don’t often write about things that are actively happening to me. It’s very rare. In general, when I’m throwing out an idea, it’s either things that have happened to me in the past, or things that happen to other people; they’re emotions. So I kind of feel like I should always be able to write songs, because it’s something that I do. It’s like a part of me. So, I’m just trying to push myself to really give this album the opportunity that it deserves and keep sharing it with people. I think the “Atlanta” album, I worked so hard on it and am so proud of it, that I really want to focus on it and not just- you know, usually, I dive right back and I make another album. I mean, if you go on iTunes, you can buy like 200 of my own songs or something (laughs).

So you know, I’m actively trying to just lay off, and we’ll just see when it comes time to write songs for the next album. For now, I’m very focused on playing a great show and doing a great job. I want to go back and maybe record another album with my band, The District, which is my other project.

I’m going to avoid making any more solo albums for a while. I’m really, you know, going to focus on this. I’m going to go back on tour towards the fall and be on tour in America and back in Europe, and I’m going to Australia, just really aggressively touring this album. I’ll probably be doing the same thing next year on this, and then, maybe 2014 I’ll put out another album.

CP: Awesome. And what are you most looking forward to about coming out here to Anthology next week?

RP: Well,  the fans have been really excited about the music. San Diego is such a beautiful place all around so I’m excited to come in. I’m excited to hang out. I’m just excited to jam with everybody. I think it’s going to be a really fun, really exciting night. So yeah, I’m excited just to be there; I’m excited just to have a show.

Special thanks to Ron for his time! Be sure to come out and have your heart broken and mended this Friday night with this amazing talent. In the mean time, be sure to preview his latest record, Atlanta, on Spotify.


Ron Pope on Spotify

WHAT: Ron Pope with Josiah Leming
WHEN: Friday, June 22, 7:30pm
TICKETS: $10-$23 Buy Tickets
MORE INFO: Artist Profile