GALO: Your solo success really started with your popular hit single “A Drop in the Ocean,” which, like you said, made you really popular online. Winner of The Voice Javier Colon even recorded it as his first single off his premiere album. What did it mean to you to have such success and support from your fans? How did you move forward from that to now your newest album, Calling off the Dogs?

RP: That song came out like seven or eight years ago, and so, it’s kind of had an interesting life. The way that the Internet functions is such that because the mass marketing machine isn’t behind me, people can find out about music like it is brand new every day. Like, there’s a kid right now finding out about Nick Drake who’s never heard the Nick Drake discs, and is going to find the entire Nick Drake catalogue for the first time. And on the same token, people find out about me in that way. There’s no continuum. They don’t know, obviously, that this song is on the radio now, so it’s a current album, like you would with Beyoncé or Rihanna. You know the difference between the new and old Rihanna material based on what’s on the radio currently, or what you hear all the time. To me, it’s interesting and it’s a curious way to live as an artist because people will find me.

If you go to YouTube, let’s say, and you find “A Drop in the Ocean,” a music video that has 30 million views or so, somebody sees that and they show it to a friend and it keeps going, and so, for each of those people the song is brand new and the catalogue is brand new. It’s interesting to me the way that that works now, where fans are not introduced to artists within the artist’s timeline. Like I said, it’s not like “this is his new album, we’re promoting this now.” Fans go to Spotify or iTunes and it’s all there. They decide where to get in. If they want to get in at 2007, they get in at 2007. Instead of starting at the very beginning or right now, they can start wherever they want. And “A Drop in the Ocean,” as a result, it feels perpetually new, which is really fun. Like I said, I wrote that song and released a demo of it in 2006. There’s no continuum for new fans because they can access everything all at once. If they happen to hear about it or fall into it on YouTube, or someone puts a picture of it on Tumblr, that song continues to be new even though, obviously, I wrote it a long time ago. That’s really fun. It’s fun when I go on tour and I play that song or “Fireflies,” a song that I wrote a long time ago, [because] it still feels very new and people get excited about it. It’s a very unique time in the music industry because of that.

Video Courtesy of: Ron Pope.

GALO: One catchy song from Calling off the Dogs is “Lick My Wounds,” a pop-like anthem that seems to be about love in its early, hopeful stages. What, or who, was the inspiration here? What other topics do you explore in your music and in this particular album?

RP: Well, my new album, Calling Off the Dogs, is a concept album. And usually, when you see a concept album, people imagine a guy dressed as a professor or writing songs about wolves in outer space, or something [laughs]. But for me, I thought I’d make a concept album that followed two people from the first moment they see each other, through a relationship, and, finally, to the end, to the last moment that they see each other. So “Lick My Wounds” is the first track on the album, and it describes that first instant. The first line on the album is: “she stumbles in through the exit,” like, there she is! — the first moment that you see her. This record really explores that one story. Instead of each song being a three to five minute story, it’s one 47-minute story.

That was the idea of Calling Off the Dogs. “Lick My Wounds” is that positive moment at the beginning where everything and anything is possible, when you look at someone and you think, ‘hmm, that’s a beautiful woman over there,’ or ‘I like that person’s shirt, I’m going to go talk to them.’ After you fall in love, you find out all of these things about someone that makes you love them — like they’re smart, or funny, or kind to children. But when you see someone across the room, it’s whatever makes you cross the room and go talk to them, like ‘she’s pretty,’ or ‘I like her jacket, I’m going to go tell her’ — whatever it is that draws you to someone. And it’s that moment, which is an exciting moment, and I’ve never written a song about that before, so I thought that would be a very interesting feeling to explore. It’s interesting because I’ve always considered what I do to be pop music, but I try to make it have some depth. So even now that song is an energetic and up-tempo song, but there’s a lot of subtext there, for me at least. And especially within the context of the album, in the whole 47-minute story, it’s that underlying, ‘well there she is, I wonder what can happen if I go and talk to her,’ and then you go and do it. And it’s all possibility in that moment, and that’s an incredibly exciting thing.

Video Courtesy of: Ron Pope.

GALO: So I watched the music video for “Lick My Wounds,” and it was almost trippy in a way. It was like a comic book; where you had outlined drawings of yourself and the other people in it, with some fight sequences and body paint spraying everywhere. How did you come up with this concept to go along with the song?

RP: Honestly, I cannot take credit for that. Our idea was: wouldn’t it be fun if there were two ladies in the video who were superheroes? My idea was originally: let’s make a video about superheroes [laughs]. So the company we worked with to make the video, it’s called CB Collective, we sent that to them. And they really took a complete left turn, and decided there would be two women, and those women will be assassins instead of superheroes. So they’re doing battle, and the glow-in-the-dark ninja people and stuff was all their idea. We thought it would be fun to make a video that wasn’t some kind of point-by-point depiction of the narrative within the song. People have seen every sort of music video that you can do in that way. Everybody’s seen a music video that’s set in a house party or a club, or a guy’s walking in a park. Everybody’s seen it. I was like: we don’t need any more of those music videos [laughs]. I thought it would be fun to go out on an adventure. The CB Collective really delivered on that. They put together a really awesome music video.

GALO: What exactly is the meaning behind your album title, Calling off the Dogs? I noticed that those words appear in one of your new songs, “Silver Spoon.”

RP: The expression “calling off the dogs,” I was under the impression that everyone knew that expression [laughs], and it turned out that a lot of people hadn’t heard it before. So, “calling off the dogs” means to relent or back up, like I’m not going to attack you anymore. So that’s what the line means in “Silver Spoon.” The lyric is, “when they’re calling off the dogs and you’re sleeping on the lawn.” At the moment when the attack is no longer there, where will you be? I was looking within the album, and I wanted the title of the album to feel unique. I’ve never owned an album called Calling off the Dogs before. A lot of the other names I was thinking of within the album, I thought that it could be any kind of record. This title felt as unique as the record felt to me, so I thought, ‘why not?’

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