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The Death of Pop

A Teachable Moment

Jan 26, 2015 The Death of Pop Bookmark and Share

After slogging it out in various unnamed and unknown bands throughout his youth, Angus James of U.K.‘s The Death of Pop had enough. He decided to pack in the life of an unemployed musician and get a job.

“I felt like I’d been doing it quite a while and wasn’t particularly happy with what I was doing, and a bit jaded from gigging a lot and driving around. I got to the point where I wasn’t really feeling it and decided I was going to do something else, so I went into teaching,” says James, who currently teaches music at a high school in the U.K. “But when I was training, I started to put together some demos.”

Those demos were the seeds of what would become The Death of Pop, the self-described “janglegaze” five-piece, consisting of Angus James (guitar/vocals/keys), his brothers Oliver (aka Ollie, guitar/vocals) and Thom (drums), Isaac Jones (bass), and George Abram, a non-musical fifth member who assists in writing and artwork.

The band’s sound mixes the ‘90s shoegaze of bands such as Ride and My Bloody Valentine, with a pop sense inspired by everything from ‘60s sunshine-y pop to ‘80s fare. James says he found himself drawn to shoegaze before the recent revival.

“I remember reading something about Kevin Shields and finding it interesting,” says James of the My Bloody Valentine mastermind. “I didn’t really know what sort of music he made, so I went out and bought Loveless and thought it was really interesting. Then I started reading up on shoegaze. I quite liked the idea that you didn’t need much stage presence if you made music like that. When I was a self-conscious teenager, I thought that was great.”

The Death of Pop started in late 2012 when Angus and Ollie began writing songs, just “messing around” over the Christmas holiday. British blog Crack in the Road picked up on the first two songs literally hours after they were completed.

“I don’t know how it happened, but they found out about the songs about four hours after we uploaded them,” says James. “It was after New Year’s, so we were probably feeling a bit worse for wear and we just thought we’d put the stuff up on Soundcloud and think about it later. All of a sudden Crack in the Road was writing about us. We didn’t have any followers on Soundcloud. We didn’t have a Facebook page. We didn’t even really have a band.”

The Death of Pop has already released a digital collection of songs in 2013 on its Bandcamp page, as well as two limited release EPs, one on flexi-disc and one on vinyl. The band is courting record labels and a deal is in the works for another EP. For now, however, even James’ own students don’t know his band’s name.

“They’ve got an idea that I’m in a band that plays a lot in London. I’ve never told them the name of the band, because I can’t. I wouldn’t want them to look it up, and some of our videos are a bit unsuitable for kids,” says James. “They do ask. They always want to know. I just don’t tell them…. Luckily I haven’t gotten any kids from school adding the band on Facebook or messaging us on YouTube and putting horrible comments like, ‘You gave me detention’ or something.”

[Note: This article first appeared in Under the Radar’s September/October print issue (Issue 51).]


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