A Real and Surreal Interview With “Poppy”

Poppy has no time. 5 seconds is 5 years. Today is yesterday and it is 200 years ago. The Internet is forever.
I had the pleasure to interview the enigmatic and fascinating “Poppy.” In the year 2014 a small doll like creature emerged from Youtube.com. Is she a human? Android? Cross breed? Will we ever know? Thanks to her video titled “I’M POPPY” (that has now been viewed over 11 million times) we know one thing is for sure, She’s Poppy! With several hundred videos under her belt (this year) and hundreds of millions of views on YouTube, Poppy released her debut album on October 6, 2017. If the internet Gods have blessed you with Poppy’s presence, you have probably felt like you were transported into another dimension or perhaps another state of mind? Directed by Titanic Sinclair, Poppy’s videos are a daily morphine drip for a social media addicted generation. Who knew watching a small blonde girl recite the obvious, question existence, or just eat something could make you feel so perplexed. Wired Magazine says “The magic of Poppy is that, to understand Poppy, you have to keep watching Poppy. And soon you find yourself watching her everywhere: YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. Before long, you’re swimming in a sea of Poppy. The water is cool and pink but eventually you wonder if Titanic will start turning up the heat and that, before you know it, you’ll be boiled alive or choke on the Pepto-Bismol taste and drown. You dive deeper anyway.

So, your debut album came out! How’re you feeling about that?

My first album came out on October 6. I chose this date because of the special alignment of the stars on this day. I am excited to share this music with the world.

How would you describe it to anyone who’s gearing up to hear it for the first time?

This album is full of pop music that comes from seeds planted many, many years ago. Popular music has been diluted to a point where quantity prevails over quality and I wanted to do my best to preserve and reignite the things about pop that made it so special in the first place.

The new music that we’ve already heard from the album is quite different from the stuff on your Bubblebath EP. What would you say are the main differences between, well, That Poppy and this Poppy?

The new music is a reflection of Poppy the artist and not Poppy the product. Something very special happens with music when it is written with great enthusiasm. These songs are a collection of writings inspired by enthusiasm and imagination.

And what caused / inspired that shift?

Channeling the purist truth in the universe and careful selection for those involved in this album inspired these magical recordings.

It feels like the songs we’ve heard this year have a far stronger connection to the content in your YouTube videos than your earlier output. Would you say that’s a correct observation — and does that hold true for the rest of the album as well?

Yes, these are the first songs that reflect the same imagination that inspires the videos on:

A lot (well, all) of the songs on your album have very interesting titles. Could you pretty please give us a brief explanation about them?

The titles of the songs help someone who has never heard the songs understand immediately what the songs are about.

What’s your usual creative process like for making music?

Every song on this album started on an acoustic guitar and was completely written as simply as possible. From there, we attach drum machines and synthesizers to make it sound exciting to the ears.

You’ve signed with Mad Decent for this record. How did that all come about?

Diplo liked Poppy so he helped Poppy make the first Poppy album. A lot of people like Diplo’s music and he is famous.

My new favorite lyric is “Poppy will break your neck”. It feels like there’s a lot to unravel there — what’s the meaning behind that?

I don’t remember ever writing “Poppy will break your neck” but I will listen again.

And what was it like collaborating with Charlotte — especially given your tumultuous relationship with her?

Charlotte was very difficult to work with but I am used to working with plastic people so I can handle it these days.

Are you ordinarily a fan of song collaborations?

I don’t know.

Which song off your album do you think would sound the best with a Nicki Minaj verse tacked on somewhere?

I didn’t ask Nicki Minaj to be on my album.

What do you think of PC music? It feels like that’d be an excellent fit for you.

I don’t know many of their songs.

Are there more singles and videos planned for this era?

Yes, we are currently making a music video for “Moshi Moshi” and we just finished one for “Bleach Blonde Baby.”

With YouTube presumably being your medium of choice — how important do you think music videos are in general?

I don’t think music videos are as important as they used to be. “Content” is “content” for most people and they are content with that.

What’s the best non-Poppy video of this year?

I haven’t seen enough videos this year to answer this question.

Poppy, you’ve said before that you don’t really like interviews (#sadface) — is that still true?

The interviewer community should be more vocal and active about those within the community who are giving them a bad name.

You mentioned that you aren’t a fan of them because they tend to pry into your past, or the purpose of your…existence, I suppose. Do you feel a similar way about regular followers who are also more interested in that aspect of you, over the work you put out?

People who pry into the most boring parts about life are just as boring as the parts of my life they think hold some significance.

Do you hope this album might change that?

I don’t think anything will ever change that. All I can do is continue to create imaginative experiences for the people who enjoy my work for the right reasons.

And what should we expect with your upcoming tour?

Everything.

Here’s a two part question of sorts: a large part of social media is all about sharing trends, right? Whether it’s music, memes, news, whatever. And Poppy is intricately tied to social media, so do you see a future where you yourself become drastically different, to mirror those changing trends? Could a goth, electroclash Poppy be birthed in the future, as we hurtle closer and closer to the apocalypse?

Poppy is social media. Goth is dead, punk is dead, and rock n’ roll is dead. Trends are dead. Nothing exists anymore because the world is spinning faster than any trend. I am creating from a place that is (hopefully) more fun than trends.

Poppy, what’s the secret to becoming famous?

Don’t pretend.

Is there any particular non-famous person you’d like to help make famous?

Everyone has the ability to be famous with YouTube.com.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for all the unverified people on Twitter?

My advice for unverified people on Twitter is to become so famous that Twitter can’t help but verify you.

And one last question: if everything goes according to your plan — where will Poppy be five years from now?

Poppy has no time. 5 seconds is 5 years. Today is yesterday and it is 200 years ago. The Internet is forever.

Like what you read? Give Yitzi Weiner a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.