Interview with singer songwriter Ron Pope

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His music is popular on US teen drama series (90210, The Vampire Diaries). Contestants on So You Think You Can Dance moved to his tunes, both in Canada and the States. And now Ron Pope is set to bless Aussie music fans with his indelible brand of folk pop rock.  

Interview by Gemma Maddox.


Have you always wanted to be a singer/songwriter?

Well I joined a songwriting circle when I was in college. We’d meet every week and critique everyone’s new songs. There was a bunch of great writers in that group and they really inspired me to pursue a career in music.


Could you imagine doing anything else apart from making music?

Not really. I don’t have any other skills. I’d be in real trouble if this wasn’t my job. If anything, I’d probably be panhandling.


Your video clip for A Drop In The Ocean has had over 20 million views on Youtube.  What’s your reaction to such a high number of hits?

It happened gradually, so it’s been a really interesting part of my life for quite a while. Although, really, I can’t believe the way people react to that song. I don’t know if you can really expect success in the entertainment industry. Obviously, I hoped to succeed, and I worked hard to make my dreams into realities, but I don’t know that I ever expected it to play out the way it has, with that song to start.


Your new album Atlanta has just been released in Australia. You’re from Georgia, Atlanta, but can you tell us a bit about the meaning behind the songs?

This album is my attempt to take all the things I love about music and put them together to make something that is distinctly my own. There are rootsy elements like fiddle and banjo but there are also crazy sonic experiments, great big harmonies, driving rhythms, and guitars from space. I tried to paint with a unique palette on this one. But if I were to distill the meaning of all of them down to one thing, I’d say that the focus of this record is on what it means to be a human being.


Is Atlanta different from your previous LPs? 

Absolutely. I made it a point to cut myself loose on this record and not allow anything to restrain me. In the past, I’d say, “I love that sound, but it won’t make sense here because we’re using that other sound” but on Atlanta I found a way to make a lot of seemingly disparate elements work together.

You’re touring Australia later in the year.  What we can expect from your live shows?

I’m coming to play three shows – Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane but won’t be playing with a full band, so fans who attend the shows can expect to see me in my most basic form, with the songs stripped to their most elemental versions. I’m hoping that the shows will feel really raw.


Are there any artists you’d be keen to collaborate with?

I’m a big Arcade Fire fan but I bet if I wore a hat, walked right on stage, and plugged in my guitar, they wouldn’t even notice I was there.


What about Australian artists; and you’d like to work with?

I really dig Gotye’s album Making Mirrors  -much like everyone else on the face of the earth! He does incredible work. His production is really interesting and the songwriting is strong. So I’d love to work with him. Plus, that would give me another excuse to come back to Australia! 


Do you have a celeb crush?

I’m engaged so I don’t have crushes these days, but even if I was single, I doubt I’d have one. I kind of live in a bubble and I’m always asking, ‘Who’s that? From what show? That’s really on TV? Wow.’


Atlanta is out through Hard Six Records.

View the clip for new single One Grain Of Sand here.

Live photography by Blair Clark.