Getting To Know The FPSF Locals: Children Of Pop
Several years ago, I started to see the same guy pop up in my social media feeds, and one of the many bands he’s in, Children of Pop appeared to be on a ton of shows. That guy was of course the determined and prolific Chase DeMaster. DeMaster has been honing the Children of Pop sound for longer than most of us know, and while he’s also in the acts Deep Cuts, Get A Life, Kult Dizney, and Guess Genes, his recent inking with Orchard Distribution (Frenchkiss, Daptone, Cleopatra) under the moniker #VeryJazzed just shows how dedicated he is to succeeding in a difficult music climate. FPH was lucky enough to grab a moment of DeMaster’s time, and talk to him about what Children Of Pop has been up to, their upcoming album “What Does 69 Mean?” and their plans for their appearance at this year’s Free Press Summer Festival.
FPH: How long has Children of Pop been a band?
Children of Pop: It depends on who you ask to be honest. Some might say children of pop was born into the inner net circa 2011 when the first single, “Charge”, was released and then the project signed to Lesfe Records (Neon Indian, How to Dress Well). Others may argue that we formed as a “band” in 2013, after children of pop toured the first album, “Fiesta / Drift” as a guitar/bass/drum band. On the real, IMO children of pop was really established the summer of 2014 when we played with Hundred Waters. They utilized computers heavily, w little reservation. That was enticing to me. Plus, I hate rehearsing. I value the vulnerability of performing without an instrument; just singing. That’s when I realized the future of children of pop would be a duo.
FPH: It really seems like the two of you work well together, considering that you operate in several projects together. Is there a secret to your working relationship?
COP: Yes, and thank you. Gabriel and I are connected thru underground wires. We are both v passionate humans, and we mesh well on a musical and personal level. I think it’s important to have respect for one another and communicate. We are both here to create. I trust him, he trusts me, and we can count on each other to get where we both want to be. We are laser focused with our time and energy. We both hate rehearsing. Example: our guitar project, Get A Life, (also performing at FPSF 2016) rehearsed for the first time as a band a few weeks ago… despite having been performing live for more than 6 months. We both believe if you have the juice, proficiently at your instrument, trusting of your instincts and taste, then the sound and overall vision will happen organically. Everything will be right. We joke about how rehearsing is: 1. An excuse to hang out 2. Writing new music 3. For musicians that aren’t there
FPH: Last year, Very Jazzed inked a deal with Frenchkiss Label Group w distribution through The Orchard. Can you talk a bit on how you engineered that?
COP: Once upon a time, children of pop was signed to Lesfe Records / Banter Media Management (Youth Lagoon). When some of my music made it’s way to Frenchkiss, in a positive light. In 2013, while children of pop was touring “Fiesta / Drift,” I was determined to meet Syd Butler, owner of Frenchkiss, and chat him up. Even though we weren’t planning to meet, I googled Frenchkiss’ address. I went to the building (was like a bookstore or something on the bottom story). Finally found a door that led to an elevator. Squished ever button for every floor. Investigated every floor ’til I saw some Frenchkiss markings. I buzzed the front desk. Told them I had a meeting w Syd. They let me in. I wandered awkwardly down the hall peeking in every door till I found his office. I busted in and said, “Hi Syd, my name is Chase and I came from Houston to meet you.” They looked at me like I was crazy, rightfully so. I couldn’t have been more nervous. It was like auditioning for the solo in choir and you never sang before and everyone you’ve ever met is watching and you just realized your zipper is down and blah blah blah. I was nervous. Syd was like, “Coo” and came over, met me, chilled with me on their office couch. He knew my music, told some tour stories, and I invited him to the show. He didn’t come. But, from then on we were emailing. I made it a thing to get to NYC as often as possible and invite Syd to everything and anything. BE Godfrey Tour, Deep Cuts in NYC, children of pop fly out, whatever project I was playing in. I wanted him to know I was putting in. Also, every time I wrote and recorded a song, I sent it to him. Last Jan when Gabe and I were on our greyhound bus tour of the East Coast, I was blowing him up about our NYC shows and a new Get A Life song I was working on. He responded something like, “Man, this is rad, but I just can’t keep up w all your happenings, you need to start your own label!” Boom, he coached me up and here we are. Very Jazzed is an LLC distributed through the Frenchkiss Label Group / The Orchard. That easy. Anyone out there interested in being a maker, jam on this: Where attention goes, energy flows. Plus, if you haven’t already, read: “Our Band Could Be Your Life”. The reason I gravitated towards Syd is because he grew up in DC in the audience of Fugazi (prominently featured in said book) and I knew he was realizing the ideals and disciplines they put into place. I too wanted to be a part of that line. So, yeah. I reached for it. Everyone take a minute, order this and then watch it. Alright back to the interview.
FPH: The new album, “What Does 69 Mean?” is a pretty funny title, how long did it take for you to work on it and what made you choose that as the album name?
COP: Right on. Well, you’re right, and I think it means a lot of different things. It is definitely polarizing. It is definitely my flavor turned way, way up. It definitely is/isn’t getting press because some are finding it offensive. From Normies to the most rare, it is rad to hear people weigh in. But yeah, the title. Obviously the memory of running around the playground, quizzing each other on the trials of adulthood: “Hey, do you know what 69 means?” That memory works in this context. The music does sound very b-boy inspired (I was a b-boy) / acid house / pop star, Madonna hang, which is way nostalgic too. The sounds put me in that place of being a little dude running wild on the playground. Life is play. Play is life. Ball infinity. Peace. Also, the real juice of the album — the lyrical content — is being vulnerable. Willing to be open to the idea that unconditional love might not always be 50/50 is challenging. Sometimes you give more than you get and the reciprocal of that equation, the other person, might even feel the exact same, which is fundamentally impossible in a finite system. But what we are talking about is not finite. It is way more complex than that. Get real, nobody even gets close to returning what we give to each other. We are constantly exhausting energy and light and more often than not we are not skilled enough to economically accept the energy directed our way. We are wasteful. And sometimes that is realized as discomfort. Pain. Love is tough. Tough is love. Ball infinity. It is round y’all, goes on forever. So yeah whatever that means. Plus, the yin yang bit. It is also me being a little uneasy with putting myself out so hard, so trying to pass it off as some tongue-in-cheek bit. But, it’s really not. It is all real. But, don’t listen to me. Listen to “What Does 69 Mean?” and figure it out for you.
FPH: You have done touring, you’ve played on multiple festivals, and now you’re tied to a big company; how many people do you meet who think you’ve “made it” as artists?
COP: Hmm. Well, I don’t know if I can speak on that. It is definitely rad that more people are into the music. And yeah, when I woke up and a friend from elementary school was like, “What! OMG I love your new song! And it just popped up on my Spotify!” That was rad. “Manic” doing 50,000 plays on Spotify the first week. Sure, I’ll take it. But my goal was 100,000. No joke, I said, “100,000 the first week” to everyone on my team. I told them that was what we were shooting for. So yeah, myself and the people I surround myself w reaching for things at such a larger scale, I have yet to tell myself, “Yippee, you’ve made it” even for these little wins. Deep down, I take a lot of things as a loss. But, it doesn’t bum me out or anything. It’s all a learning experience. I just need be better. Work harder. Learn more. Calclulated risks, not for me. My alarm clock is set for 7:55 AM and it is titled, “Make your hit record today!” I never sleep on that. So yeah, on one hand, I am 100 percent in the thing. So some people who say, like the music, might say, “children of pop has made it.” Other people who say want to be making music everyday, “children of pop has made it,” but on the other hand, me, children of pop. I am just on my line; the paradigm of arrival suggests lack of movement. That just isn’t what I am about. I got to wiggle.
FPH: What’s the rest of 2016 look like for Children of Pop?
COP: First, get your tickets to the children of pop “What Does 69 Mean?” Album Release Party happening May 6 at Raven Tower in Houston with Bang Bangz and Vas Deferens. This will be our last show before FPSF.
This year has definitely been a big one. We just finished the tour with TV Girl and that was a blast. We are doing some dates with Laser Background out of Philly, late May. We are reaching for a KEXP bit, plus some LA and NYC flyouts. A trip to Denver is in the works. Some more traditional touring to sling the vinyls. In all honestly, I have been hesitant to book a traditional tour because we have been pushing to direct support a larger act; sign with a rad agent, etc. Still TBD. But also, this year is also dedicated to building the roster for the label. Back in November, I made my New Year’s Resolution, blah blah blah, and named 2016, “The Year of the Email.” So, with 3 to 4 releases that I have produced and 3 to 4 releases from artists outside of me, I am emailing more that I am writing and recording. I couldn’t be more excited to work on releases w such talented people that otherwise wouldn’t have the resources to release, myself included. Josiah Gabriel’s EP $ is way “too.” And it isn’t even like I can say, “Get ready!” There is no way to prepare for the work he has created. It is truly “too” Pastel from LA, which we are working out details for a summer release rn, also, way “too.” Plus, The Guess Genes record will finally get a proper release in fall. I am excited. I am jazzed. Blah blah blah. I need help, hit me up. I need your help, send me your music. I need your help, send me your visual arts. I need your help, help me find a used embroidery machine. I need your help, lets book a show at your house. I need your help share the Very Jazzed content when it resonates with you. Don’t be a gatekeeper. Be chill. Stay up. Hey, but for real. If you are a maker, I don’t even care what, hit me up. I want to know you.
FPH: You mixed things up last year with back up singers at Day For Night, do you have anything like that planned for the big stages at FPSF?
COP: Right on, those singers were the talented sisters Hannah and Sophia Anderson. They were incredible. And yes! There is a plan. It will not be what you any expecting and I will use this opportunity to feature a handful of artists that inspire us.
Demaster has no issue plugging all he’s involved in, though most of it comes off very tongue in cheek. While he gears up for the album release party at Raven Tower for “What Does 69 Mean?” on May 6th, you can catch Children of Pop on Saturday June 4th at Free Press Summer Fest. The all ages event has single day tickets here between $92.50 and $119.50 each, or two day passes between $157.50 and $999 available here.