GALAPAGOS – TURTLE POWER
While going all Charles Darwin on the evolution of UGPop, Galapagos caught our ear with his sugary, left-field beats. We got in touch to talk about the growing acceptance of pop-sensibilities in alt music, his obsession with Beyoncé and to settle an age-old question: what’s better, tiger or liger? The teenage beatician was even kind enough to spin us an exclusive mix, featuring his never-heard-before tune, Impurity Complex.
You’ve got a few pop samples in your tunes, like Beyoncé ['Single Ladies'] in ‘Actin Up’. Is commercial pop music something you’ve always always been big on, or are there other reasons why you incorporate those sorts of sounds into your music? Well, it’s a bit strange. When I was younger, I looked at the whole commercial pop scene as some gruesome monster I had to stay away from, so it didn’t taint my musical tastes. But in recent years, I’ve come to realize how many gems there are among all the terrible artists. You just have to listen hard enough. Beyoncé in particular, she’s a bit of an obsession right now
What do you love about Beyoncé? Her voice and song selection is great. I don’t know if she gets auto-tuned in the studio, but the songs sound great. There’s a soulfulness in her songs that is very appealing to me. And it was her husband who introduced me to rap and hip-hop.
I just can’t think of reason you wouldn’t enjoy a Beyoncé song! They make you happy; they put you in a good mood. Most Top 40 stuff I hear these days makes me sad, because it sounds like a bunch of drunk idiots in the studio… but Beyoncé , she has a level of class and sophistication in her music, even if she’s getting down and dirty, shaking her booty around.
These ‘gems’, do you mean specific tunes in their entirety or elements within them? Not even. Some artists are just actually talented. It took me a long time to realize you could be talented and be on MTV. I guess that’s just the generation I was born in; everyone looks at MTV as a great source to get shit music. And that generally is the case.
The common attitude in alternative music was always to go completely the opposite of the mainstream and for a long time, that meant being really dark and moody. Even 3 years ago I don’t think people would’ve responded positively to pop elements in underground music. What do you think has changed? I think the internet plays a large role. Humanity in general has a shrinking attention span. Pop music appeals to people with a short attention span: it’s short, sweet, and to the point. People want instant gratification these days, with everything and nothing, musically, is more instantly gratifying than a roaring pop hook. I also think, it’s kind of just the way things go. Pop music was the big thing 50 years ago, then it faded away a bit now it’s back in full force. It’s just the cycle of things. I don’t know, there are so many factors. A good majority of American pop songs these days are made for the club. The club seems so big now. I know the club scene makes the world go round over there in Europe, but I feel like it’s a pretty new thing over here. All those American club jams are shit though. I don’t even know why I mentioned them.
Is that a part of it for you maybe, making non-shit pop jams that could work in a club? Not really. I try to never have a “live” audience in mind when making music. I fell in love with music through car stereos and headphones. I try making music people listen to that way, but hell, if it gets ‘em going in the club too, I’m cool with that. I think making pop songs is just what comes natural to me. I love chopping something up into glitched-out hook that sticks in my head.
It’s arguable that commercial pop music has never been worse, that it’s really at its lowest, most manufactured ebb. The popularity of American Idol and auto-tune… do you think because pop music at the moment is that lacking in credibility it has given alternative artists a bit more room to maneuver with pop elements in their music? Perhaps. When great pop music isn’t on your TV and radio anymore it only makes sense that listeners would turn to alternative music to get their pop fix. It creates a need for pop in all genres of alternative music, supply and demand? Is that the proper term to use here?
It could be. I don’t think there’s right or wrong. Just beard stroking. If I had a beard, I’d be stroking it. But yeah man, pop music is crazy. I mean honestly there’s pop in everything. At least a tiny little bit. I’ve always viewed “pop” music as music that tries to appeal to your ears, tries to get you hooked and there are some artists that are great because they don’t do that but in general everyone tries making music that sounds good. So fuck it, it’s all pop music
What’s with the tiger mask?
Well, you know my alias is Galapagos… so along with that kind of comes animals and all that. And I love tigers.
Would you still choose a tiger over a liger though? No doubt. Ligers blow.
There you have it people.
Múm – Nightly Cares
Dntel – Nightly Cares
Björk – Who Is It
Baths – Lovely Blood Flow
Sleigh Bells – Kids
Animal Collective – My Girls
Galapagos – Gleaming
Galapagos – You Gave To Me
Galapagos – Feel Things Inside
Beck – Nicotine And Gravy
Galapagos – Impurity Complex [JUKE Exclusive]
[By Aleks Eror]