Interview

Get To Know poptropicaslutz! [Interview]

In the 5 days that have passed since I sat down to talk to Nick and Christian, the duo that makes up poptropicaslutz!, I have not stopped gushing about them to everyone I know. They are two of the most genuine, lovely people I have ever talked to, and I created an immense appreciation for everything they do over the course of our conversation. Last week, they released “in this world of mona lisa’s, you’re my jackson pollock,” the second single off of their upcoming debut EP. Tomorrow, they are releasing “watercolor puddles” with Aldrch


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Would love to start off with a bit of backstory about you two. How did you guys form poptropicaslutz!, and what was it like coming up in the New York scene, especially as high schoolers? 


Christian: Basically we formed because we were friends and we both had, like, a mutual interest in taking music further than a lot of other people in our area that were doing it. So we both saw it as a definite future, like what we wanted to do with our lives. So that bond really is what brought us together in this shit. We never made like a fucking agreement, like "Yo, let's be a music group." We kinda just made music together and it got to the point where we never went to the studio alone after that point. We were always going together and it was kind of just unspoken that we were going to be a group. 

And then, coming up in New York, coming up in high school especially, it was like, we didn't really come up, come up in high school, but all the foundation of what we're doing now was kind of there in high school. It was just weird because like everyone who makes music knows if you're in high school people don't react the best to it. No matter if it's good, if it's bad, people just don't like people doing something creative. Especially, like, we're from Long Island, we're from the land of people that are frat boys from ninth grade up. So you're a frat boy before you're even in college, and the girls are frat girls. That's like the best way I could explain Long Island – people have one interest, it's going out drinking and partying, and if your interests deviate from that, people will just make fun of you. But, now the New York scene is fucking lit, there's a lot of cool stuff going on in New York. 


Nick: On the New York scene thing, we weren't even really like part of a scene it felt like, it was just me and Christian making music. And we never connected with other people to try and get out there. We just kind of tried to get off the ground which was just off the strength of our music. But it hasn't been until like a year ago that we actually met other artists from New York that are sick and doing something kind of like us, and now it's cool. Like, I'm going to a show later that Alrdch is playing bass at. There's a bunch of cool artists that are in New York that I wasn't aware of until we actually started getting stuff off the ground, so it's pretty sick. I used to think New York was kind of boring cause we wouldn't really do stuff, we would just be in our hometown, driving around, but now I'm realizing that it's actually really sick. 


Christian, you mentioned the differences you faced in high school – do you feel like those experiences propelled you further? 


Christian: I mean, I know Nick and I both thought about it the exact same way because we're both very sure of ourselves. There was never a scenario in our minds where we weren't going to do what we wanted to do. I mean, don't get me wrong, a lot of people supported, but a lot of people also supported you and then will joke about it on the side. Also, a big thing was a lot of people would really like the music, but be like, "Okay, like, this is really good, but do you know how hard it is to actually make it?" People who never tried would tell you it's not realistic, so I had that fire in me the whole time. I always knew it was gonna be something, so every time someone didn't think it was going to be something, it was just like, "Oh, that's awesome that this person doesn't believe in it," because when it goes somewhere I just can't wait to see everyone's reaction. Now it's just like, it's crazy. We're both so far removed from the world of being around people who don't believe in you. We both graduated, I graduated in 2020 and Nick graduated in 2019, and now we're just at a point where all of our life has been music for the past year at least. So it feels really cool to see things pan out and it's not even that I don't care to see what people who didn't believe think, it's just more like I proved myself right and we both proved ourselves. And now we get to gather the fruits of our labor and see people that didn't know us in person reaching out from across the world on Instagram to say that they really like our music and it's doing something for them, and that's the best feeling in the world because that's what we set out to do when we started this. 


Nick: It's so crazy too, because, about the whole high school thing, people in high school would never really support. I mean, there'd be people that would support you, but yeah, they would joke about it when you're not around. But it's so crazy - I was in this gas station that was close to our high school, and this one girl from our high school was like, "Oh, congrats!" after we had announced getting signed to Epitaph, and none of these people follow us on Instagram or anything, and then she said congrats, super crazy.

That's another crazy thing. A lot of people that I know from the past I'll see around and just be like, "Hey, what's up?" and everyone brings it up. Everyone's like, "Oh, congrats on getting signed, I see you're in LA all the time." It's just crazy to see that people that you would never think are keeping up with you, like, they all know what's going on. So it's fucking crazy. Before anything happened, no one would really be keeping up with you, but then once stuff starts happening it seems that everybody in our hometown knows about what's going on. It's cool though, a lot of those people are also people who did support early on, so it's just cool to see that people that you haven't talked to, to some extent, give a fuck about what you're doing.


And you kind of alluded to it, you talked about signing with Epitaph, which is super cool – congratulations on that! Since then, what's that experience been? Was that when you knew that you made it in music?


Nick: Yeah. I mean, it was crazy. I remember we went to the Epitaph office and then as soon as we walked in they were playing "this might be our last december." And then Brett from the head of the label walked out and he shook our hands and stuff, and there was a huge conference table with a big Epitaph logo on the wall and a bunch of food, like a pyramid of Coca-Cola cans and stuff. We were sitting there eating and they were talking about how they wanted to sign us and a bunch of stuff. There were explaining what the label is like and that was a crazy feeling. We toured the whole building. When we decided to actually sign with them it was weird because it felt normal, but at the same time, it was like a dream coming true. It's not at all what I thought it would be like when you finally get to that point where you feel like you've made it, but it's been awesome. We've been able to do stuff that I could only dream of doing when I was like 17, so that's crazy. 


Christian: The crazy thing for me is that being signed was always a big goal that we had in mind but it was never going to be an "I made it moment," you know? It was like a "These people are going to help us make it moment." It's really cool to me, to a lesser extent, but I just grew up listening to bands on Epitaph. So like, Sue, our A&R at Epitaph, followed us on Instagram - followed the page, followed me, and followed Nick's personal - and I saw her bio is " Epitaph A&R" and I was like, "No way, bro." A&Rs from every fucking label reached out, but it's different seeing an Interscope A&R reach out and like an Epitaph A&R reach out, where they had Escape The Fate. They had Bring Me The Horizon, bands that really influenced me as a kid that I was obsessed with. I slid in Sue's DMs and I just sent the goat emoji, and then she was like, "I want to get on a call." Then the next day we were on a call. Shit just moved really fast. I just keep thinking back, if I could go tell my fifth grade self that I was signed to Epitaph my mind would have been blown. It's just crazy. 

Everything comes full circle. Nick and I have been noticing that with everything that comes our way, everything is a full circle. Something crosses your path one day and you can bet your ass that it's going to tie into something else later on. Everything is synchronized, it's crazy. But yeah, being signed to Epitaph is definitely one of the coolest things that's happened to both of us in our lives. For sure. 


Super happy for you guys! About everything coming full circle, "in this world of mona lisa's, you're my jackson pollock" was something that you made a while ago and then you forgot that people really enjoy the track. So how has it been since the track came out? 

Christian: I love people listening to the song, but definitely the coolest thing is that today we got the cover of the Breakthrough Rock playlist on Amazon Music. I was just scrolling through, I was like, "Oh, what playlist did we get put in on Amazon Music?" And then I saw one and it was our faces, and I was like, "Oh, what the fuck?" because I looked last night and it wasn't our faces. Then I woke up this morning and it was, "Emerging artists in rock," and the cover was poptropicaslutz!. We got put as the cover boys of this playlist. So when someone goes to listen to Breakthrough Rock on Amazon music, we're the first thing you see, so that is super crazy. That definitely to me is the coolest thing that's happened since we dropped the song.

People love the song – this was also a song that we teased on TikTok that a lot of people have been waiting for because when we put a snippet out on TikTok, we don't say the name of the song. People would just pick and choose parts of the song to refer to the song as, so a lot of people were like, "Oh, when is ‘sympathetic message’ dropping?" They would ask that a lot. So I saw a lot of fans that were excited that this song finally came out. 


And the release date was on the now famous "Twosday" since it was February 22, 2022. Was there any intention behind dropping on that day or was it just a coincidence?


Christian: That's crazy because the label actually had it set to that day. I mean, if they had asked us when we wanted to drop it, I'm sure we would both say that day because we're super into the synchronicities and shit, and that's obviously a super cool day. It just happened to work out with the label that they want it to drop then. 


Nick: Yeah, we were also trying to give Kanye a run for his money. 


Yeah, you're competing with Donda 2.


I always find part of what connects so many listeners to your music are the relatable messages, and "in this world of mona lisa's, you're my jackson pollock" is definitely no different to this - there's a clear story of unrequited love. Can you tell me about the meaning of the song and how it came to be?


Nick: I remember it clear as day. So for the title, it's supposed to be, "in this world of mona lisa's your, my jackson pollock" because the Mona Lisa is supposed to represent happiness, and Jackson Pollock's paintings were representative of anger and turmoil. So in a world of things to be happy about, you're the thing that keeps me in this little depressing bubble. It was basically about my real life, I was in this situation with this girl, and I mean, the lyrics just tell the story better than I can probably. I just rather not elaborate, but yeah, that's pretty much it 


Connecting to that, is music like a source of ways to release your emotions?


Nick: Yeah, and get vengeance. 


Switching lanes a bit, on March 3rd, you have another track releasing, "watercolor puddles" with Aldrch. Can you speak a little bit on that one? Is there anything that we should expect from it?


Nick: It's definitely a different song than the ones that we've dropped. It's like a Crystal Castles song but it also kind of sounds like a club song. It's electronic and there isn't a lot of vocals – Christian and I only have I think four lines each – and then it just repeats a lot, and there are a lot of chops and glitches and stuff like that. It's a cool song. It's kind of trendy. It's cool for TikToks, for sure. 


Christian: I'd say, just expect something doesn't sound like shit that we put out, but it's definitely us, still feels like poptropicaslutz!. Also, it's just this song is a banger – for a lot of people who've heard it, this is some of their favorite stuff that we've done. It's just really upbeat. I don't dance, I suck at dancing.


Nick: Yeah, we don't dance.


Christian: But this song made me want to dance. I'm trying to dance when this song comes on. So if you want to dance this is a really good song for you.


We need some TikToks of you guys trying to dance then.


Christian: We should honestly make one, we should make a dance for it. 


Nick: They'd probably fucking shadow ban us even worse. 


Christian: Facts, y'all don't want to see me dance. 


So this is going to be a different sound - will it be part of a growing sound for the EP later this year?


Christian: This is kinda a break in the EP rollout. This isn't anything like what our EP is, but I'd definitely expect a lot of stuff that sounds more similar to that after the EP. It's just something different to give people something that's not part of the EP rollout for a little bit. 


Is there going to be a narrative with the EP /  have a specific direction it's heading in? 


Christian: Yeah, there's definitely a narrative to it. I don't want to baby the fans into figuring it out because obviously like a lot of it is up to interpretation, but it's basically just the story of the cover art. The pig in "WW3" trying to fly with a hang glider, and then now in "in this world of mona lisa's you're my jackson pollock" you can see he's injured in the bed with another friend at his side, consoling him.

The EP really ties into the cover arts and the progression. So you'll see that as it goes along that the cover arts all tie in, and the story is told really well through the animated videos that we did – in case you guys don't know, we did animated music videos for each song, and there's going to be one for the next single as well.



Yeah. I always love it when artists do different things across all mediums, especially with little easter eggs, so I really enjoy that. I can't wait to dive into the whole project when it comes out. 


Who's been some of your biggest influences during the whole making of the project and as you continue to grow?


Nick: I know there's like a bunch of emo bands, like Fallout Boy, Panic! At The Disco, My Chemical Romance, all those types of bands, and the post hardcore bands. Also cool random stuff, like Black Eyed Peas and Crystal Castles. Honestly, inspiration kind of comes from anything to be honest, at least for me.


Christian: It's a really weird mixup of genres and sounds and different groups, but I feel like it all makes sense. Maybe the influence that we say right now might not make sense to what we have out, but there's just so much unreleased stuff that pulls from all these different artists and groups and stuff we listen to. I just say it's melodic music as a whole. We liked Juice WRLD and we like rock bands and we like 2000s pop. We just like everything. Every time someone asks for our influences its kind of hard, but I'd say like a lot what we're doing with this project is heavily influenced by Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy. And then there's a track in there called "hysteria" that I feel is a really cool mashup of the new hyper pop-ish sound and 2000s emo rock. I feel like it's a really cool way that we bridged, like those two sounds together. So you guys will see that on the project.


I'm really excited to hear it!


One thing I've always admired from you two is the intimacy you share with fans, whether that's your small shows, your Discord, your notes on Instagram, and Nick, I saw you're doing a live journal now. It's really something that artists rarely do but it captivates an audience in such a unique way. What impact does this have on the things that you do and your artistry?


Nick: I started doing the live journal thing cause I'm super into emo bands, and Pete Wentz used to write a live journal, and Ryan Ross from Panic! At The Disco and a bunch of other people from random bands. And I would always just journal in my notes or like my notebook anyway. I didn't know if a live journal was even still a thing, I just looked it up and it's still a thing it's still going so I was like, "I'm just going to make one."

I started doing the whole long journal entry in Instagram captions just so people can get a little piece of what I'm like. It makes people feel like they can connect to you, and you're a real person, not just a picture on their phone, you know?

Also just like writing stuff all the time, writing how I'm feeling, helps with song writing because sometimes I'll write a journal entry and like that might inspire a lyric later on down the line. People seem to like it so I'll probably keep going.


Christian: Along with that shit, like the fan intimacy through the Discord and all that stuff – I think it mainly stemmed from being in a position where we wanted to make it so badly for such a long time it felt like. When we finally started getting that first taste of having an audience, it was like, "How would we feel if someone we really admired and loved their music acknowledged us and made us be like we were more than just a fan." For a while, we weren't even using the word fan because it just felt like we were building a community. So the whole Discord and like, we go on live and talk to everyone, and at the shows we stay until the security kicks us out so that we could fucking sign every last thing and talk to every last person that wants to talk to us, because it's like, "How did we feel when we looked up to an artist?" We just feel blessed to be in this position where we could be looked up to and we could have people that are there to care when we do some shit like this when we're rolling out a project. We have people that are anticipating it and they're excited for it. We don't want to take it for granted. So doing the Discord and everything that increases like that intimacy, it's just like we want to build a community. We want people to become friends through our music. 

 

I love that. 


I just want to end by asking what is, if you can recall, one of your fondest memories together? Music or just being together, is there a specific memory that stands out?


Nick: Winter break, 2017.


You thought of that quickly!


Christian: Yeah it was like five years ago last week. My sister still goes to our high school. She's a senior now and she's in her winter break right now. So it was this week, five years ago when Nick and I became really close friends and had, to be honest, a crazier week than we've had throughout the whole music shit, crazier than LA It was the beginning of actual fun, you know? I was 14 and Nick was 15, so it was the time where you actually start having fun. When you're like 12 and 13, you do kids’ stuff and then you get into actual high school, and you're going to parties and meeting people from other schools and stuff.

So that was a time that Nick and I became super, super close friends and did shit together every day. And that was before there was a thought of music and it was just so fun.


Nick: Bro, we would just do the randomest shit and it was so fire.


Christian: We would wake up early in the day, go get breakfast at this diner near us, and then go on a random excursion, and then we'd have the whole day. There were these girls from this one school that would call us Ubers all the time and send us food. We would just get an Uber to this one girl's house. Then it would be like, "Alright, it's seven, what are we doing tonight?" and then we'd go to a party. It was just the most teenage shit ever. It was just so fun. 


Nick: Whenever we were hanging out, something weird would happen. It would always be a weird ass day, but it was so fire. 


Christian: Yeah. It was like movie shit, like for real movie shit.


I was about to say, so much of what you say sounds like it's out of a movie. It's just crazy. 


Christian: Believe me, if I could show you guys just stuff that happens that I was talking about, like the synchronicities and just how everything comes full circle  a lot of times I'll find myself looking around, like, "Alright, there's gotta be like a camera crew here," because it just feels like it's someone throwing this at me to see my reaction. We're definitely blessed trying not to take things for granted is like one of the things that we actively are always trying to make sure, that we're just being grateful for shit that comes our way. It's really easy to get caught up in this shit. Especially when you see celebrities disregard fans and disregard everyone who made them who they are and disregard the great things that happen to them all the time. I feel like if we just take it one step at a time and are thankful for all this cool stuff that happens to us it'll just get better.


You guys have such a great mindset as well, just overall. It's really inspiring, especially because I'm a senior in high school too. Even though I don't make music, it's still inspiring to see how far you guys have come from high school. 


Also, you need a documentarian to just follow you around, like the Kanye documentary.


Nick: We've been talking about doing one of those. We have some random footage from things that we've done that's such golden footage, it's so fire. But there's just so much of it that no one wanted to edit it. So it's just like they are on camera forever. I mean, not forever. We'll get it out at some point, but yeah, we definitely want to do a documentary. It'll probably be like when we're on the tour, which we're announcing pretty soon. 


That's exciting, I saw you said something about it the other day.


Christian: Yeah we're going to announce some dates really soon, but if your city is not there, don't get mad, because we're going to do a bunch of different parts, but yeah. 


I assume you're coming to New York though! 


Christian: Oh, of course. A lot of people will be like, "Oh, I hope you guys are coming to New York." And I'm just like, "I guess people don't know that we're from here." New York is the place to do a show. It's so fun.

Nick: New York shows are so lit. People are crazy, it's so epic.


Christian: We did our first show here too, a sold-out crowd at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. It was a night that everyone there will never forget. We got a bunch of our friends together, got a crazy lineup of our friends who were really good at music, and just had a night that I'd say everyone who performed there would probably consider that one of the best nights. I would've rather been there 10 times out of 10, even if I was just spectating than any other concert, like at Madison Square Garden or like a big venue, it was just insane.


Nick: And it was so crazy because the people that were working at the venue too were trying to kick people out and they were not letting these kids in that didn't have government issued IDs and stuff. It was just like a whole process. We had to argue outside the venue with the security and stuff to let people in. This was our first show and there were so many people performing ahead of us, so we were just like, the next person's on, the next person's out, we're getting closer and closer and closer. I wasn't scared to go on stage, but it was super nerve wracking because there were so many people. I was like, "Bro, this is our first time ever doing a show." You see a lot of people's first shows and there are like 12 people, and most of them are their friends, but there were so many people, I didn't know. It was insane to see that many people showed up for us and all our friends, that was sick. That was one of the best nights of my life for sure. Some kid stage dove…


Christian: And no one caught him and he hit the ground and got up. And then he did it again at one of our last shows and no one caught him again, and he just got back up. 


Nick: Dude's a trooper


Christian, you were saying before that it's funny you bring up the documentary? 


Christian: The way we've lived life is like every scene is where we imagine how it would be in a documentary, just because, like I said, the full circle shit. Every little piece is a piece of the puzzle that we know is going to be a golden piece later on. Things will happen and we'll just be like, "Yo, this shit needs to be captured because this would be such a vital piece in the story." 


Nick: There have been so many times that something will happen or we'll be with all our friends and someone will make a joke and it's so funny that I wish someone was recording, man. Like that was comedic gold.


Christian: Sitcom moments, we really have sitcom moments. Someone will walk in and something will happen, and our friend Pablo will just say some absolute clown shit, and everyone would die laughing. It's just the timing of everything that happens, it has to be a show. There has to be a poptropicaslutz! Show on MTV. We need to revive the golden days of MTV and get a cool ass show following around and we'll make cool ass music for the show. MTV bro, please.


That'd be so funny. That would be amazing if you guys did that. Thank you guys a lot for taking the time out. I'm always going to be rooting for you. Super good at music and super down to earth and amazing to talk to. So thank you for that and good luck with all the releases coming up!

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