Just before their 2017 election gig, I grabbed Ben and David of PopArt to ask a few questions and get to know them a bit!
For newcomers, can you tell us who you guys are and your favourite flower?
Ben - We are Popart. We consist of Ben Hughes (vocals), David Burns (Guitar, vocals), Pete Wernick (Bass) and Jenny Tingle (Drums). Up until the end of last year we were a two piece of just David and I but expanded when playing the Popart Christmas Extravaganza Tour 2016.
My favourite flower is the sunflower as when I was little I manage to grow a sunflower of over six feet. My twin brothers one died very quickly.
David - My favourite flower is self-raising.
Describe the other members in 3 words
Pete – He plays bass.
Jenny – She plays drums.
We should probably say something more than that! Here are some other words.
On Pete. Quite possibly the smartest drummer I know.
On Jenny. Lovely bubbly redhead - Enthusiasm personified.
Now, how long have you guys been interested in being professional musicians?
D – We have never been interested in being professional musicians, we have always been thoroughly unprofessional.
B- We like to think of ourselves as classic Top Gear “ambitious but rubbish”. Seriously I will explain on how we formed a band
D – “Formed a band, we formed a band, look at us we formed a band.”
B – Yes, I was at the time doing sets of stand up as part of Red Raw in the stand comedy club and various other venues and also helping David out with a podcast he was doing called Haverin’. From that I was making comedy material which I thought would work better in a song and thus Popart was created from this coalition of chaos and has remained this way ever since.
What's your favourite part of your set list?
B – Probably around winter when our set list expands to include all the winter songs as we try to write a Christmas song every year. We are a band for all occasions as we also have a Halloween song and an anti-Valentines days “song”.
D – The part I enjoy playing the most is the only song we didn’t write but is kind of our signature song, “Stop Calling Me Harry Potter”. The lyrics were written by a wonderful young adult author called Kirkland Ciccone and he donated it to us as he had been performing it as a stand-up piece at the time. He got tired of it and thought we could do something with it.
B - You worked your magic on it.
What is your favourite thing you have done in the past as a band?
D- One of the favourite things I recall was when we did the anti-valentine’s day song in an old man pub. The song is called “You’ll do” and Ben picked out the oldest, straightest hard man in the pub to lovingly perform it to. We were quickly removed from the premises and have never performed there since.
(I can’t help but wonder if these events are connected somehow…)
B – I was quite proud when we performed mFest which was a festival at the Macrobert’s art centre in Stirling. It was my birthday the next day so I ate a piece of cake on stage. No one said “Happy birthday” I just ate a piece of cake onstage and confused people.
What's the most exciting thing you have coming up?
B – We have something going on at the moment at time of print it may be irrelevant but we have song out for the General Election – Politics 2017 – Mugwump. This is the sixth song we’ve done either connected to Election or referenda so it’s another Popart tradition well covered.
D –We have pizza in the oven right now that’s quite exciting.
B – Is it a strong and stable base?
D - We’re deep pan and dead pan.
What's your go to jam session fuel - drinks, coffee, snacks?
D - Pizza.
B – I’m normally high on life.
Are there any anecdotes you’d like to share behind any of your songs?
B – For our song “Down among the dead men” I was meeting David in an open mic in the East End and walking past the necropolis. I had to stop and write down the chorus the song just came to me walking past the graveyard. Meeting David the whole song was roughly done in an hour. I just love the way how that song bloomed into life.
D – I love that quote from the Ruttles film that went something like, “Their first album was recorded in two days. Their second took even longer.”
Of the music you have released now, what type of movie do you think it would be on the soundtrack of? At what scene?
B and D – A John Hughes directed 80’s Christmas movie starring The Mighty Boosh!
And finally, thanks for chatting with us, now take a second and pimp yourselves! Where can people find updates from you, listen to your music or chat to you guys?