Poppy is a force to be reckoned with. The 21 year old Nashville-born creative moved to Hollywood at 18, subsequently put out three EPs and is about to release her fifth album. With a diverse back catalogue ranging from two ambient albums, classic bubblegum pop, reggae, dance music and her newer heavy metal dabblings, Poppy’s creative output is astonishing.
“I try to make something new every day so I’m open and aware of things . . . I think it’s important to exercise the muscle.”
Growing up in the deep American South, Poppy’s father was in a punk band and at home, she listened to Blondie, Gwen Stefani, Nine Inch Nails and Gary Numan. She states these artists as current influences, saying “I’ve been listening to a lot of the band Air and the White Stripes today, but ask me tomorrow I’ll say something else”, which seems quite fitting based on the broad stylistic scope of her releases and genre bending, tonal change-ups within some of the songs themselves.
This fluidity can be seen quite vividly in her single ‘X’. The convention defying song fluctuates between a Beach Boys style verse, a nu-metal Slipknot-esque chorus and a trap style post-chorus before moving to a double time ballad rock finale reminiscent of My Chemical Romance’s ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’. Pair this with the music video that depicts a cult like day in the sun juxtaposed with her covered in blood in front of an all black masked band singing ‘Gimme gimme bloody, please gimme bloody’ and you start to understand why Poppy dubs her music as ‘post-genre’.
This song specifically marked a stylistic change for Poppy on which she says “I fell in love with music again while recording ‘X’” and that she is “really enjoying destroying all the things that were holding me back.”
This also means moving on from collaborator Titanic Sinclair, who helped create the Poppy image with a series of haunting, David Lynch-esque YouTube videos and co-writing most of her catalogue to date. On this, she tactfully stated, “In the past we’ve made a lot of videos together and songs as well, and now going forward I’m choosing to explore other endeavours and opportunities.”
Along with her music, her fashion has moved towards a heavier aesthetic. “Fashion has always been a very important part of my world since the very beginning . . . I really am drawn towards more industrial leaning things but I always like to pair that with something soft and sweet and I think that’s kind of like my personality and my music.”
This is evident in the title track from Poppy’s new album I Disagree, a big middle finger to the high ups in the music business floating between layered spoken and screamed parts and pop vocals. In the music video Poppy is depicted burning record executives wearing metal spikes and chrome, which she states “was always a dream of mine” before appearing as an angelic figure floating and preaching to the masses.
On the influence behind this track, Poppy says “I was in a really bad record contract for a number of years and then I didn’t like music anymore and then I got out and I wrote X and I started to like my life again.”
Poppy’s fan base is one of absolute devotion. So much so that the more committed fans are dubbed cult members. “My cult members are the ones that follow me around on tour. I’ve had quite a few fans follow me all throughout Europe on my tours, starting from the very first one . . . I feel very lucky to have fans that do that.” Poppy herself knows most of their names and says “I love them all.”
2020 is set to be a big year for Poppy. In addition to putting out her new record and finishing her second graphic novel, Poppy’s year will consist of “touring the world many times & releasing my film that I’ve been working on. My tour starts January 22nd and I hope to come back to Australia early 2020.” On the film, Poppy says “It’s a horror film, but that’s all I’m allowed to say.”
Poppy’s new record I Disagree will be out on Sumerian Records on Friday January 10.