Interview with Pop Levi

PopleviPop Levi is about to crash land on planet earth and shake up a dead pop scene. His arrival to PopJunkie ears was heralded with the incredible psychedelic glam pop single Blue Honey (click here to see the video) which pretty much left a trail of brilliant destruction in its wake.

With a new LP good to go next year, which already promises to be one of the albums of 2007. If ‘The Return To Form Black Magick Party’ doesn’t explode into the charts and dazzle all, then I’ll eat my own ears. I caught up with Mr Levi to talk about the making of the LP, ABBA, ‘absolute shit’ and ‘gold’ and future music – the soul of maths.

Hello, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?

I’m creamy. I’m trying really hard to chill my boots out here in LA for the holidays, before starting what I hope is going to be a crazy 2007. I’m one of those people who does relax, though. Shame, that. For me, at least.

How should we address you? Pop? Levi? Mr Levi?

All of those, or just Thirty Seven. My great grandmother used to call me ‘Tumblin’.

OK; Levi it is. Your psychedelic behemouth, ‘Blue Honey’, received rave reviews from all quarters. You have two versions of the track out as a single… do you have a preference and which one is most likely to get played out live?

I’m really into playing many different interpretations of each of my songs and there is at the moment 7 versions of Blue Honey, only two of which have been released. If I had to pick, I would say that the single version is my favourite at the moment. That’s the way I play it live at the moment.

How would you describe the Pop Levi sound to someone who had never heard your music?

Someone described it as "all the best pop you’ve heard, and all at once" – I’m into that idea – it suggests many layers of ideas and approaches to making music. I’m into making music that sounds like many records being played at the same time. Future Music. The soul of maths.

You have a new LP coming out in the new year…

It’s called ‘The Return To Form Black Magick Party’ – it has 11 tracks – it is presented in a ‘sound collage’ format – it’s dark as hell and the closest I could get to ‘absolute shit’ and ‘gold’ at the time of making it – it’s my theory that all the greatest records have ‘structural problems’ – it’s out on Feb 12th.

What has influenced the record?

Everything I’ve heard and watched and read and said and felt and dealt. I wanted to make a record that celebrated ‘the left path’ and the ‘mistake’. I think that God resides in mistakes, or the ‘happy accident’. I’ve been listening to a lot of Bo Diddley, Kurt Weill, ABBA, Robert Johnson, Smokey Robinson, Harry Nilsonn, John Coltrane. I LOVE music and try to listen to it most of the time. After a while you can see the codes in there.

Tell us about the imprint of Ninja Tune that is releasing your records…

It’s called Counter Records and Ninja Tune have set it up for me to release my songs through. I love it! Dead into that! (grins broadly)

You seem to have had an interesting past. Model, playing for Ladytron, ice cream van driver… have these things helped to shape Pop Levi artistically at all?

I think that everything that one experiences forms/informs who you are and the way in which you act and live. Hard to pinpoint exact moments that have really effected me, though.

Has the goal always been a solo record, or did it happen organically?

It’s always been one of my goals to make solo records, but I’ve loved making the Super Numeri albums and working with Ladytron etc. With regards to organics, though – I like to allow things to grow within certain confines. I didn’t end up with this album completely by mistake, although…

Any plans to tour the LP?

I’ll be touring UK, Europe, US, Canada and Japan in 2007 – dates to be confirmed. See

What next for Pop Levi?

Tour the record and make the second album whilst doing it. It’s going to be called ‘Never Never Love’ – I’ve written all the songs for it, but recording has yet to commence. There’s a song called ‘Hell For Leather’ on the cards for the record.

Pop Levi’s new single ‘Sugar Assault Me Now’ is out on the 27th January with the LP to follow in February. Check back here for further news.


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