The Pomps - Sound In The Signals Interview

Mark Stern 
I recently had the opportunity to interview The Pomps. We discussed the writing process for upcoming album, ‘Bottom of the Pomps’, lyrical inspiration, how the album feels like a rebirth, collaborating with Bad Time Records, vinyl, and more. Check it out below. 

First, thanks for the interview.

Thank you! 

Your new album ‘Bottom of the Pomps’ will be out February 17th. Can you tell me about the writing and recording process for the album?

When we decided we were going to do an album, I set up a dropbox with 10 demos. Unreleased songs from over the years, perhaps a new idea. Everyday I would listen to the songs and ask myself "Is this what you want to be the Pomps LP?" The answer was usually "no", and so I knew we had to write more songs.  The bulk of the album came in a 2 day stretch when I was home sick by myself in December 2021. I didn't personally have Covid (yet), but it was during a big surge in the Boston area, so I had nowhere to go or be. It became a point of personal pride to get that dropbox to a place where I could stand behind all of the songs it contained.

You released “Heart Flipper” as the lead single. Why did you decide to pick that song as the lead single?

It's a very optimistic song, which is a good palate cleanser from our previous work.  There is a "this is THE single" case to be made for 8 out of the 12 songs on the record but, instead of rolling an 8 sided die, we went with our intuition! Also, on most streaming services it has a running time of 4:20 (I'm not a weed guy, but sometimes you have to listen when the universe speaks). 

What was the easiest song to write for the album and on the other side which one took the longest to complete? 

I think "Heart Flipper" was easiest, because it came out of an evening on which I was testing a new guitar. I just wrote some chords to solo over, and ended up with a song an hour later. (There is a weird sound effect in some of the breaks that is just a snippet of that original solo reversed). "Elite Ennui" was a song that took a while. Jameson (bassist) wrote instrumental parts of the verse and chorus, but, I couldn't come up with anything.  But a thief intervened and stole the catalytic converter off of my wife's car, and, I was able to reshape what little I had into kind of a fun, dumb-guy revenge fantasy/spy thriller. 

I’ve seen you say that you thought this album would be a swan song but now it feels like a rebirth. Can you tell us more about that?

I think some people think that this is a new project that was  formed to fill an appealing niche in the genre resurgence. But, the truth is we first convened in 2011, and one of the songs on our first record is a recording I made in 2008. Just the stupidest time to start a ska band. So, we've been doing it with very little positive feedback for a long time (granted in fits and starts, so, it hasn't been a continuous slog through obscurity). 

Being a small band is hard. Being a small band at the height of a pandemic is harder. Some bands that had a bigger profile or didn't have children were able to make the most of an unprecedented situation. But, we were unable to do anything, and when the world began to open up again, we were starting from scratch.  So were a lot of other musicians; I'm certainly not whining and claiming that we had it uniquely bad. But, there was the question of "Why bother?". Especially when there were more bands that shared our instrumentation and some approximation of our approach than ever. 

So, the album was conceived not as a definite final document, but, as something that COULD function as such if we just couldn't muster up the confidence to proceed further. But making the album was pretty easy and fun, and we emerged with a sound that feels different enough that we can't scratch this itch with other projects. Also, Bad Time stepping in was sort of our equivalent of a helicopter coming to rescue just as our rations were running out.  

You signed with Bad Time Records for this album. What made you want to sign with them and how has the experience been so far?

Tim from the band Catbite posted something about our first record, and I did the Instagram thing where you send some sort of emoji (a fist bump, a unicorn, etc,) to say thanks. I mentioned that we were going to the studio to finally make a new LP and he put me on an email with Mike from Bad Time.  Neither Mike or I were going to commit without the record yet existing, so, we kept in touch until the tracking was done, and then we went for it. It has been the best. Him being in an active band helps the dynamic a lot; some of the music biz people I've dealt with are trying to get the same high from the business side as they would from performing and that makes it overly emotional. But, Mike has passion without desperation!  

The artwork for the album is really interesting. Who designed it and came up with the concept for it? 

Our friend, Marc Beaudette, from The Flying Vipers. We knew we wanted to keep the arrow from the first album, and he presented a few concepts before we settled on purple.  

Bad Time is releasing a vinyl pressing for the album. How closely did you work with the label on choosing the vinyl variants? Do you have a favorite vinyl variant?  

This was pretty much all Mike's doing, but I can honestly say he chose exactly what I would choose. I'm partial to the plain purple, but, the Smash is extremely appetizing too! 

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Just a heartfelt thanks to supporters old and new. If you can help us get through the first pressing, we won't have to take another long hiatus until somebody rescues us again. 

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