The Cinematic Pop Noir
    • THURSDAY, MAY 14, 2015

    • Posted by: Don Saas

    I'm a big fan of film noir. I'll make the argument that Chinatown is the greatest American film ever made. And when I was pitched about a band called Pop Noir, of course I sat up straight in my chair. Noir was the height Hollywood pop filmmaking in the 1940s and 50s (at least by my estimation), and so much of the symbolism and aesthetic of the genre has been absorbed by the rest of American culture. Fortunately, Pop Noir have earned their name. They have a new single, "Don't Fool Yourself," and it's combination of darker dance-hall rhythms with pop-rock hooks is a perfect mix of pop and noir. Be sure to check out our chat with the band and the new song.

    The word "noir" evokes a whole universe of emotions for film lovers: classic Bogart pictures, Chinatown, Rian Johnson's current output. What does Pop Noir mean to you?

    Luke: Well, that's sort of what we had in mind when we came up with the name. Look at the plot of any Raymond Chandler novel, it's all about love, lust, betrayal, violence great subjects for songs. But it's not like we're going around in fedoras playing "Peter Gunn Theme" all the time!

    Joe: "Pop Noir" just fits what we're doing, pop music with a slightly darker edge. Plus, a French fan told us our name was very "épuré," clean, but in a fashionable way. We liked that.

    "Don't Fool Yourself" reminds me of Chromeo -- electronic production and dance-hall rhythms tied to rock vocals and pop hooks. Who were your influences in crafting your sound?

    Joe: Actually, we've not been compared to Chromeo before, we'll have to add that to the list! We've had Oasis meets LCD Soundsystem, New Order meets the young Rolling Stones, someone even suggested Haircut 100 once, which really took us by surprise. We're not consciously trying to sound like anybody, but we did grow up listening to a lot of New Order, The Smiths, Rolling Stones, Oasis, Happy Mondays, so I guess that comes through in the music we make. Ultimately we're just trying to write songs that we'd like to listen to.

    What was the symbolism of driving around in the car at night for the video? Does that relate to the "noir" sensibilities you seem to be cultivating?

    Luke: I suppose all the classic "noir" is set in Los Angeles, so this video kind of upholds that tradition. Really we were just trying to reflect the feel of the song, dark with the occasional flash of neon light.

    Joe: We partially got the idea from watching Blade Runner - another fantastic noir film, come to think of it - and then driving through LA's 2nd Street Tunnel listening to Vangelis for our own amusement. We thought the lights would make a fantastic video.

    What can people who enjoy this new song expect to hear when they finally get to hear your proper album?

    Joe: Well, we're focusing on releasing singles and EPs at the moment, so the album may be a little way off yet, but you can expect to hear stuff you could move to. We've got quite a broad spectrum of sounds, but we always keep one eye or one ear or one foot on the dancefloor.

    Luke: No matter what it is, it's always Pop Noir.

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