Ron Pope interview/review at Rescue Rooms 7/2/14

15th February 2014

Ron Pope Interview/Review

When interviewing Ron Pope one of the questions I asked him was, “What would you do if not music?” and quite humble he answered that he didn’t really think he was good enough at doing anything else, he said he’d been an awful security guard, a terrible waiter and detailed other unsuccessful jobs that he’d had before the breakthrough in music. Truth be told though, he definitely knew how to do music when I went to see him at Rescue Rooms.

From walking into the gig to leaving there was such a level of hospitality that automatically makes experiencing a gig so much better. Ron Pope was constantly asking us as an audience whether we were have a good time and whether we were enjoying the songs. Having an interaction with the artist on stage and knowing that they care whether you’re having a good time is what makes live music so much more enticing than just putting on an album and Ron Pope delivered on all levels.

As a musician he reacted to the way the audience was taking the music and played on what we were giving him, throwing his guitar around his body with the strap and interacting with all the other musicians on stage as well. A great thing about the gig was the attention to the other musicians that were on stage, a lot of the time even if they’re incredible musicians they won’t get any credit at all because they’re not the “name sake” of the concert, but Ron Pope made proper effort to introduce each of the other artists and we were treated to many solo’s.

But it wasn’t just the “gig etiquette” that made it such a great night, song after song the gig list seemed to have predicted perfectly what would make the audience sing along louder, dancer harder and cheer most enthusiastically too. With suspense filled, guitar heavy intros, to searing notes held just the right length and choruses made to be screamed into a pulsing crowd. Song after song I made mental note of so I could go home and look it up straight away. Even as i’m sat at this desk tapping away at the keyboard it’s Ron Pope’s “I don’t mind, if you don’t mind” playing on repeat.

All in all, it was Ron Pope’s “A Drop in the Ocean” that I walked in for, but as i stood sandwiched in between two strangers soon to be good friends, filled with anticipation for the last song of the encore I can quite rightly say that I walked out with a need to get more of his music on my ipod and a marvel at the healing quality of a great gig.

Have you been around Nottingham much?

“Well, I mean I played in one other music venue here. The Bodega? Which was the last time I was touring the UK, but I mean we come to town for a show and we’re here for the day, so I suppose that the part of Nottingham I know best would be the room we’re in backstage before the show, which is pretty much where we hang out for most of the trip. Last time I did get the chance to go to a pub and eat Fish and Chips though, I did that!”

I was actually at the venue Bodega yesterday, they did a night dedicated to Beyonce, and I mean everyone loves Beyonce because she’s a diva. So what the most diva-ish thing you wish you could ask for on tour?

“I mean I’ve been waiting for a burrito for a couple of hours, so it seems like even if I did ask for something big I wouldn’t get it. But I guess I normally request normal things like beer and things to make sandwiches for, but if I could request something big. Did you see at Coachella last year they had a hologram of 2pac? Well…I wanna hang out with 2pac. 2Pac hologram, sitting on the couch, hanging out. Maybe watch Love Actually, I mean he died before it came out but i’m sure he’d like it.”

Okay, so that’s cool. Hanging out with a hologram of 2Pac. Anyone dead or alive that you’d like to duet with?

“Um, well if I could play with anyone, it’d be Jimi Henrix.”

Yeah, that’d be pretty intense. So in terms of music influences, who would you say you’ve taken from?

“I think that as a musician, everything you hear has some affect on you. Like, “I want some of that, or I don’t want any of that” you know?

Definitely, so is there anyone you hear when you’re like “I don’t want any of that”?

“I mean I can’t think of anything specific, but I think you just know when you listen to a piece of music. Like this feels authentic, or this doesn’t. Or this feels right, or this doesn’t, so I guess it’s getting a sense of that and a feel of your personal preference. It’s what you like and what feels good to you, that’s what I like about music. I mean you could love something, that someone else hates and that’s fine. It’s subjective and I dig that.”

So in terms of loving and hating things, do you have any incredible guilty pleasures?

“I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I figure if you love it, that’s great. If you wanna put on early 80s Madonna and jump up and down, that’s awesome and you should do that. Like, live your dream! As a musician, I like music. I like it a lot and I try not to judge anything in that. I don’t care if people don’t think it’s cool

So in terms of your career, you haven’t always wanted to be a musician have you?

“I actually went to college to play Baseball, but I got hurt and i’d always been making music so I guess I just kinda fell into that. And that’s how I ended up here.”

So if there were any other careers you think you’d fall into, what would they be?

“Um well I guess I don’t have any other marketable skills so that would be a problem. I mean I don’t really know, I guess without music I’d be in trouble, because I really don’t know how to do anything else, i’m lucky that this worked out. I was playing music in the subway before this, and I taught guitar lessons. And that’s it, you know? I don’t really know anything else except for this

I’ve actually been trying to learn the guitar, just off Youtube and stuff. But if there was any skill you could have mastered off the bat, what would it be?

“Unicycle? I mean, it’s not helpful in anyway and you’re not going to be saving anyones life with it, but it’s just one of those skills that makes people go “huh!” So maybe unicycle, or maybe javelin? Just something ridiculous I guess. I want it to be something where people go “You do what? You do what now with your free time?!”

I had a moment like that the other day when one of my best mates found out I used to play table-tennis for a team. Do you know any secret hidden talents?

“I’m not sure actually, I guess everything i’m actually good at I put out there. I mean, it’s music. Music is all I can do I. I was bad at being a security guard, I was bad at being a waiter. I would be in a lot of trouble if this thing didn’t work out, I can’t say how lucky I am that it is working out.”

And a question that I’ve been asking everyone recently, is that if you could get any animal and shrink it to the size of a dog and have it be tame, what would you chose?

“Right um, well any animal? And it has to be real and alive right now? Well…Koala’s are that size. I’ve held one and i’d like to hold one again. You wouldn’t even have to shrink it. I had to ride on a plan 16 hours one way and 16 hours another way and it was so worth it. I mean I got to lay beside them and just snuggled with them, like just snuggle these Koala’s. Are you jealous? Because they were amazing. We were like nuzzling each other and my face was all in the Koala’s fur, we were just being best friends. So Koala’s and a lot of eucalyptus and a place for them to sleep, because they’re very tired animals”.

So you’ve been to visit Australia and obviously really incredible places when you tour. But what would be your dream venue in your favorite place?

“Yeah i’ve seem some incredible cities, Sweden during summer definitely so I think my favorite place would be Stockholm and Toyko would be my dream city to perform in”.

By Krishanthi Jeyakumar