Giacomo Pope [Interview]
In 2014, one of my favourite discoveries was a band called Chronographs. A former tech-metal act who had turned their attention to math rock and were pushing out one track a month, Chronographs had everything a band need to capture a listener’s attention and imagination. Unfortunately, a few months later Chronographs were put on hold following the amicable departure of their vocalist.
Since that time, Chronographs guitarist Giacomo (Jack) Pope has remained busy, and is now releasing a stream of sublime, minimalist electronic pieces via Soundcloud. I honestly cannot recommend this new music enough, and you can listen to it all via Soundcloud at the end of this post. At the time of writing, the new tracks add up to a portrait of an artist finding a fresh voice – but the music is evolving fast, and moving in a fascinating direction. TMMP caught up with Giacomo to talk about his new project, his bucket list, and where Chronographs are at right now…
Over the last few years, you’ve progressed from tech metal and then math rock with Chronographs, to minimalist electronic solo work. What inspired each of those creative direction changes?
The movement from tech-metal to math rock was simply a desire to work with melody within music. Nausea was written when I was 18/19 and still getting out a lot of my teenage angst. By the time it was released and we toured the EP I was in my twenties and already over a lot of what I had worked through. When we sat down to start creating new music, the monthly singles were just a natural progression of us maturing as a band.
The electronic music is a new creative project, inspired by the music I’m listening to at the moment. (For those interested: Rhye, Tycho, Porcelain Raft, Shlohmo, FKA Twigs, The Acid, Gazelle Twin, Oh Wonder). It’s all made from an app called Auxy. I made a few songs over a weekend (the Ivory EP which you reviewed a few weeks back) and fell in love with writing music with it. The 11 tracks I’ve now written are the soundtrack to my evenings stuck in my room with textbooks; having the ability to write music in my hour or two off work and produce something I’m happy with is just so much fun.
What motivates you?
I guess that’s exactly it, fun. Playing with this app is just so much fun! I love the music I’m making and I’m making the music that I want to be listening to while I work. What I really want to create is an ambience which is warm and enveloping. With the right voice added I feel like I could move to a more sensual atmosphere, which would be really interesting to work with.
One-sentence answer? I’m writing music because it’s my favourite thing to do and sharing it because I’m proud of what I’m making.
Describe your musical philosophy.
I believe we create to express our emotions. I’ve fought hard battles with notes, paint, clay and text. Music will always be the most important art form for me because it’s how I experience love. Three years ago I fell in love and all I’ve wanted to do since is write music to try and give material to the abstraction of that love.
Now I’m going to cheat and quote Milan Kundera:
“For Franz music was the art that comes closest to Dionysian beauty in the sense of intoxication. […] He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world and make friends.”
I understand that Chronographs are currently on hold pending the arrival of a new vocalist. Is this still the case? How do you see Chronographs evolving in the future?
Chronographs has a huge job finding someone talented enough to take over from Jon, who was a very special vocalist. So far we haven’t had the right person send in their audition. I’m starting to worry that maybe our audition track is harder to write vocals to than we appreciate!
As a band we’re still writing music, but it’s impossible to know where Chronographs will be in the future. Hopefully, on stage.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received regarding musical creativity?
Make the art that you want to experience: if you don’t like it then no one else will. Write the song you wish you had in your iTunes library, on your phone, stacked in your vinyl collection. A big thing I learnt from Chronographs was: write music that you’re proud of. The seven tracks we wrote as monthly singles I was able to email to my parents with a smile on my face, something that I couldn’t do with the Nausea release.
What makes you happy?
The feeling of warmth when I’m sat by a window as the sun pours in, making the pages of my books shine and my eyelids glow red. Strong coffee and the moment when you stumble upon a new artist [and] you become overwhelmed by the beauty they’ve created.
How do you plan to evolve the Giacomo Pope project from this point? Can you offer any spoilers regarding your next creative move?
My first goal is to start assembling these tracks into an album so there’s a structure extrinsically as well as intrinsically. I also hear a voice over the tracks I’ve written; I’m hoping that these tracks flow outwards and that someone contacts me for a collaboration. I would love to work with a woman on some vocals to develop these tracks into a whole new listening experience.
I’m also hoping to produce a photo book inspired by the artwork I’ve made for these electronic tracks. It’s not finished yet, but I’m giving myself the goal of creating a landscape of skin, abstracting the body into valleys of flesh and ridges of bone. However, that’s certainly more of a personal project inspired by what I’ve done so far.
What’s on your bucket list?
I recently read an article in Cereal magazine about Yukon; to be in never ending daylight surrounded by the glaciers and pure white space would be an incredible experience, I would love to go there. I also want to give myself the time to be cut off from the internet and cities, stick myself in nature with my friends and write music with no other responsibilities. Tycho recently went to lake Tahoe to write their third album; the way they documented it made it look perfect.
Links / Listen
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