Tell us about the genesis of your project. How did you get to where you are now?
So I started making music as Pop Wallace around March of 2020. I used to make music about 9 years ago as part of a comedy group on a nationally broadcast tv show in Ireland. I ended up moving to the states shortly after that to start a life here with my wife. I didn’t do anything creative at all really for nearly 8 years and when the pandemic started, myself and the boys I used to make music with back then decided to collectively start a label which we called Poxy Records as a banner for our releases and a collective that we could collaborate together on all aspects of the process from production, design, publishing etc.
I started writing lyrics to beats produced by Willhouse who is also a co founder of Poxy Records. I was using this go round to really express myself in a way I never had before musically and approached it from a vulnerable and honest perspective with my lyrics. Shortly after my first 2 singles were released I began producing my own music as well, something I had always wanted to do and had a bit of an over the shoulder education in from watching Willhouse make music for years.
I started taking lessons in piano and have spent the last year since relatively glued to online production tutorials and courses and trying to hone my craft. Since then I’ve released a full length album “good boy” which I produced half of the songs and now in 2021 I’ve released 4 singles already this year with Out Sick being the 5th.
How would you describe the highs and lows of being an artist?
It’s been a major adjustment to my mental state in mostly positive ways but there’s definitely a handful of downs I’ve had to come to terms with and sort of adjust for. The highs like songs doing well, recognition from media outlets and other artists is always very satisfying and can put you on cloud nine but thern comes that horrible moment after the first few successes when something doesn’t go according to plan and it literally did so much damage to me mentally. I released a song that I felt at the time was the best thing I’ve ever done that didn’t end up doing the numbers I guess I had hoped for and I took it so personal and I was so upset for days. It’s nobody fault at all but mine because I had allowed myself to allocate value for my music and myself as an artist purely on some very trivial factors of what’s considered success. I now approach it from a different perspective which has done wonders for me mentally. I’m making music to express myself and if I feel the song adequately does that well enough to be considered ready for release then that’s the win, that’s the value and that’s the success. Everything else doesn’t factor into whether I consider it a success now and so luckily that low can no longer effect me as it once had which was a real learning curve for me but one I feel is going to help me grow as an artist for sure.
What’s a musical guilty pleasure of yours?
Dunno if I would personally consider any of them really guilty pleasures cos I’m one of those people that says they listen to anything and mean it. I’m sure there’s music I’d listen to that a lot of people would probably consider a guilty pleasure like I love Japanese city pop, I love 90s boybands, I love Post Hardcore and Black Metal but for example of a good guilty please I suppose would be Spandau Ballet maybe. I went on my own to a Spandau Ballet show when I was 18 because no one else I know wanted to go and I was by far the youngest person in the venue that day. I don’t give a shit though, “Gold” still slaps and I lost my mind seeing them live.
What are some sources of inspiration for you?
Horrible cliche answer but just life in general. Like everything I write in all my songs stems from my own feelings about events in my life or people I’ve known or loved. I’ve been dealing with mental health issues for years and part of my therapy and healing process is being heard about things I had either bottled up or restricted myself from ever expressing for fear of not being heard or cared about so I find singing about these things very fulfilling for the creative needs I’ve had that gives me a lot of balance.
Who is an artist that you look up to more than others today?
That’s so tough to narrow down to one but if I’m being honest as an Irish person it’s impossible to not look up to Kojaque. I genuinely think on a level of quality from all aspects of the production, the performance, the lyricism, the visuals etc he’s a cut so far above everyone else that he’s after setting the most ridiculously high standard for what the Irish scene can do and I love him for that.
Favorite activity to blow off some steam?
I’m a massive nerd. If I need to blow off steam and I’m not making music I’m doing one of the following A) playing video games B) watching wrestling C) watching anime D) watching movies E) Reading comics – it’s near guaranteed I’ll be doing one of those things.
Tell us about your latest release and how it came about?
So I had started work on the track back in October and I had recorded the bones of the synth, drums and bass and the hook for the vocals. I a hit a writers block and then moved on to work on other tracks and eventually started coming back to it back in April/May. I reached out to Shaun Hennessy who’s a producer and our primary engineer at Poxy Records. He added a lot of flavor to the production with guitar, additional synths and foleys. I left a verse open, knowing I wanted to collab with someone and reached out to Boyfrens who I had met a few months ago online as part of the Gaptoof Beat Battles that Gaptoof was hosting around February/March on Instagram. Boyfrens recorded vocals for his verse and some accompanying synth melodies behind it. The song itself is an expression of some negative mindsets like self loathing and self sabotage. My verse and hook delves into the idea of low self worth and how I would excessively drink being fully aware of how it would affect me negatively, even having the hindsight to know I should “call out sick soon” because I know my actions now will have consequences the next day and still deciding to follow through with them. I think it’s a negative aspect of coming from what many consider a drinking culture and a toll it can have on your mental health and something I figured people would relate to in some sense. It was honestly just a reflection of a time in my life and feelings I’ve had. Getting to express these kinds of feelings, good or bad in music has been incredibly therapeutic for me.
What are some things you do to deal with anxiety and creative blocks?
So for anxiety I will either need to pace around at my own leisure or go for a walk to clear the head or listen to music alone. There’s a few go to songs depending on the general mood when anxiety kicks in that help me get grounded and in the moment and snap me out of it. For writers block the only solution I’ve found that works well is literally start something else, forget about the song and then after I’ve finished a few other tracks, I’ll have a listen through of songs I file as work in progress. I’ll listen through and if it’s something that I felt stuck with me either musically or lyrically I’ll go into it now with fresh ears and a new perspective. This has worked for me on several songs and the only real method I’ve tried and had work.
What’s the future looking like for you?
I have ideas and plans but they can always change. I like to set goals early and try achieve that for the year and sometimes those goals can even spawn into something else. For instance last year the goal was make 4 track EP by November. Well by May I had recorded 4 so that moved to 6 track EP and by June I had 6 tracks recorded so that then moved to 12 track album. Once I had that goal completed I set a new goal of releasing the album on vinyl. For 2021 I set a more open ended goal to produce at least a track every month to give me more air to breathe this year. Who knows, I might have enough extra tracks by end of the year for a new EP but we’ll just have to see. For Pop Wallace I’m very very much still growing as an artist and I want to get better and better. I don’t have sights set on being some world famous artist cos that would be too unrealistic seeing as an I’m an overweight Irish lad in the states about to turn 30 and not to mention I’m only a year into learning how to even do this. If I can keep getting better and keep making music I can say I’m proud of then that’s a happy future for me. For Poxy Records as a collective though we have a lot more ambitious plans for that and it’s still in its infancy but I want there to be a day when Poxy Records is considered with some of the bigger names in the Irish Music scene and I believe that will happen. Lot of work to do there but the Poxy Boys don’t take a lot of days off.
What inspires your visuals, videos, looks etc?
Lots of things from other artists to movies etc. The videos I’ve released have stemmed from found footage/home video edits weaved together for an abstract narrative that vibes with the track to edits of scenes from some of my favorite films/tv shows. Still early days while I’m getting more videos produced and made to really hone in on something but i like the idea of not setting just one style if that makes sense. My artwork and visuals has that a little something about it that goes with my personality but at the same time I don’t necessarily want one thing to be considered as “oh that’s a pop Wallace image/video” lots of room to grow there still.
What is the most embarrassing memory and most proud moment of your career so far ?
So career wise as Pop Wallace its been a relatively short time but most embarrassing memory is easily when I had one song off my album (which wasn’t necessarily close to the best track on it) reviewed by Nialler9 on a podcast about Irish releases. There’s a bit where he listens to a portion of the track and then it’s cuts to Nialler saying “it’s not terrible” and then pretty much moves on. I was mortified and to be honest for like an hour considered just giving up altogether but quickly after a chat with Willhouse came to terms with it and was grand. I have no ill will towards the review as it was his own opinion and completely fair. My proudest moment was by far getting the album crowdfunded for a physical vinyl release. We had a limited edition pink vinyl printed that sold out and the moment I had gotten my own copy on my hands I ugly cries for a solid 15 minutes. One of the proudest moments of my life and I can never thank everyone that bought a copy enough. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to slap a sticker saying “Not Terrible” on every record sleeve.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
“Be honest, be genuine, be yourself”. – Willhouse
Where do you think the music and entertainment industry is headed after this past year?
Still a ways to go but once proper gigs are back I think there’s going to be a massive massive surge of attendance for gigs of smaller artists as I think before the pandemic a lot of people were taken for granted. The independent artists showed up in the pandemic and provided art and entertainment by any means necessary under restricted circumstances and a lot of those talented people have more than paid dues that I believe will be returned to them in attendance and support once the world properly opens up again.