It took me days to think up the best way to start this write up. At first I was going to go heavy with the hyperbole, but everyone does that. I considered being honest and saying how, as I listen to so much, I feel jaded by music sometimes, but that Pope (and his Beatgatherers crew) has consistently dropped tracks that revitalise my ears. I even thought about a “God’s representative on Earth/his music is touching kids in the rave” style shit pun based on his name (sorry). Then I had a moment of clarity and realised the best thing that I could do would be to link you “Inuit” or “Illuminaughty” and then you’d see for yourself – Pope is sick. If this isn’t new to you, then “Prelude” definitely is, and you can download that below, as well as reading a quick Q&A with the man himself!
GrimeDisciple (GD): First of all, how long have you been producing? Was anybody an influence on you, friends or family?
Pope (P): I have been producing for a year now! I think the main influence was moving in with Jack (Barla) and Jake (Graves); it was hard not to start making beats with those two around, to be honest. Living in London as a whole has altered my tastes in stuff, so I guess that’s been quite influential.
GD: It’s crazy that you’ve only been doing this for a year. How long does it take for you to finish a track, and how do you feel your production has grown since you started?
P: I don’t usually hold on to beats too long, some tunes I get finished in a couple days. Me and Graves had “Inuit” for about 3 hours before we uploaded the clip, which I think I wanna change, cos inevitably there always ends up being parts of tunes that I wanna change once they’re uploaded and it bugs me! My production is definitely more melodic than when I first started – I began making some sort of weird, spacey, 140 techno shit, strange wave.
GD: You’re part of Beatgatherers. Just how many of you guys are there, and how did you come together?
P: We got: Barla, Bru, Graves, Mang, City, Hefu, P1, Vixxon, Su.ka, Michael Heatley, Bnkr, Bby Gurl and Vèla. Some of us have known each other since school, but we all met at college. I think it was Bnkr who started the eatgatherers thing, but I can’t really remember.
GD: Considering that you haven’t been producing that long, are you surprised at how well your tracks, and those of BGs in general, have been received?
P: Hmmmm, with my own tracks, I am surprised, of course I am, but with BGs I dunno, cos some of it is just so undeniably sick that you can’t be surprised when it evokes a good reaction, but we have a whole lot more to give. The next few years are gonna be very exciting for us. Big ups to everyone supporting us as well by the way, much love to you lot, you know who you are, no long ting.
GD: How would you describe the style of music you make? There are obviously Grime elements in a lot of your songs, but do you feel that you make Grime? Do genres even bother you, or do you feel that labelling what you do is unhelpful?
P: Genres don’t really bother us too much. I think the stuff we make is just a reflection of the stuff we listen to. If you wanna call it grime then sure, call it whatevs!
GD: One of the things that stands out to me about your music is the variety of instrumentation you use, and the way you use them. I’m guessing that you’re somebody that listens to a huge amount of music, but is there a certain genre or producer that has really inspired you? What kind of music would I find on your iPod?
P: If I still had my iPod, there would be some gold on there, but yeah, I do listen to, or have listened to a lot of different types of music. I used to listen to loads of hardcore bands like Architects, Parkway Drive & Your Demise. Listened to loads of happy hardcore in school [he laughs]… ummm, Bjork, Radiohead, and The Knife I used to listen to cos of my sisters. Kid Cudi and Shlohmo I rinsed in college cos I was smoking loads of weed, but yeah, there’s loads more as well. In terms of my production though, I think BG have been a massive influence, and just the stuff I hear day to day as well. There are a lot of sick producers out there at the moment.
GD: You’ve dropped the “Ice” from you name and are now just “Pope”. What was the thinking behind that?
P: Pope is just cleaner and i feel more comfortable with it. Plus people kept spelling Ice Pope wrong somehow [he laughs].
GD: Yeah I clocked that, but what happens if people start spelling Pope wrong too?
P: Can you imagine? I think I’d give up with names and just have a picture.
GD: So… when can we expect a Pope EP?
P: My first EP will probably be in the Summer on Beatgatherers, no release date yet though, that’s just stress.
GD: What’s the deal with Holby City? Is that your label? Can you shed any light on just how it ended up being called that?
P: [laughing] Yeah that’s mine, Joe’s and Jake’s label. The idea is based around tunes that could replace the Holby City theme tune, so sad vibes. We have a release coming up on there very soon which I am looking forward to, again I don’t know when that’ll be though.
GD: I know you’ve been working with a few people. Can you tell me anything about that? In an ideal world, who would you most like to collaborate with?
P: I don’t wanna mention anything cos I haven’t got the tunes done for them yet, but I should, with any luck, have 3 EPs to my name by the end of the year. In an ideal world Murlo and V1984, crazy guys.
GD: Complete the following: “My music is the perfect soundtrack to ____________”?
P: The Star Wars trilogy.
GD: If you could bring back one MC, producer, or DJ that ghosted, who would it be and why?
P: I’m gonna have to say Pimti which is Bru’s old alias [he laughs].