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Eric Ryan Anderson

Interview with musician Ron Pope

30 January 2014 Charlie Kenber

"I've never been more proud of anything I've done in my life."

London Calling: What can people look forward to from the tour? Do you perform with a band?

Ron Pope: When you come to see me, you'll be at a sweaty rock show. I'm going to run around the stage with my electric guitar, my band is in it from moment one, and if you don't leave exhausted and hoarse, I didn't do my job. Come expecting fireworks.

LC: Who are your main influences?

RP: Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, U2, Zeppelin, Arcade Fire, MJ, Johnny Cash...anything that goes into your head can't help but influence the music you make in one way or another.

LC: How do you think your music has changed since your first tracks?

RP: The songwriting is more adventurous, I sing really differently; all sorts of things are different from my first records. I always say that it's next to impossible to describe music with words; just listen and hear for yourself.

LC: What got you into music?

RP: I didn't have any other marketable skills and happened to know how to play guitar. Just like most musicians, music has always been a part of my life. Over the years, it became my central focus gradually.

LC: Why did you decide to remain independent?

RP: When we couldn't find dedicated, focused people to do a variety of different jobs, I just learned how to do them all myself to the best of my ability (with varying degrees of success). That kind of snowballed over the years and we just kept on moving forward.

LC: You’ve got an album coming out soon too – what can people look forward to from it?

RP: My new album "Calling Off The Dogs" is a big step forward for me as a writer and as a producer. It's a concept album that follows two people from the first moment they see each other through falling in love (and falling out of love) until finally, we see them at their final goodbye. There are all sorts of sonic twists and turns on this one; expect crazy song structures with key changes and movements like classical pieces, electronic elements, orchestral arrangements, choirs, big guitars, thumping Dr. Dre-esque low end, and then moments where we strip it all down. This record gets very big and also very small; we've created this sort of fusion of all my favourite things and it became a unique sonic thumbprint. I've never been more proud of anything I've done in my life.

LC: You’ve worked internationally a lot as well as in the UK – how does the London audience differ?

RP: Here's what my experience is like; it's not the city, it's a specific crowd on a specific night in a specific venue. One tour you might show up in Berlin and the crowd is fairly subdued, and then you come back in eight months for your next tour and they're crawling up the walls and jumping off the balconies. For me, the London audience has always shown up with incredible energy; I'm excited to see how my show at the Shepherd's Bush goes. I'm hoping that's a crazy night. We'll see!

LC: Are there any London venues that you’d love to play at but haven’t had the chance yet?

RP: I think the Royal Albert Hall has to be on the list of "must play" venues; that's an incredibly iconic place. I think that there's a really cool trend of American bands blowing up in the UK before they really break in the US, and London has always been an incredibly friendly place for me with extremely devoted fans. Maybe the O2 can be my first arena? If we're picking "dream" scenarios, I wouldn't mind that one bit.

Ron Pope is playing at the Shepherd's Bush Empire on Saturday 8th Feb. Tickets cost £20.81, available here.

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