Talking Pop with Arjan Timmermans, founder of ArjanWrites.comPosted: April 29, 2011 | |
Superfraiche is a pop concert series that showcases up-and-coming pop acts. Since its launch in 2009, the show has taken place in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York. The sixth edition, held in Brooklyn’s Galapagos Art Space on April 1st, featured Sky Ferreira, Simon Curtis, Databoy, and She’s the Queen. Backstage, I spoke with its founder, Arjan Timmermans of the popular music blog ArjanWrites.com. He was the first credentialed blogger to cover the Grammy Awards and he’s also been featured on CNN. Here is the interview, where we chatted about the origins of his blog, the concert series, and what makes a pop song “pop.”
- You launched your blog, ArjanWrites.com, in 2002. What was your goal with the website?
My goal with the website was to bring fresh new pop to people, so it was really all about sharing new music that I found, whether it was from independent artists in America or exciting new music from Europe, and share that with my friends. What happened is that a lot of people found my blog and started reading it. That’s how it grew to what it is now, which is a platform for pop music in America, so the original idea was about sharing great pop music.
- Would you say that your blog is fulfilling a need, or is it an addition to the mainstream pop music on the radio?
I think there’s a need because if you listen to the radio or look at the iTunes charts in America, you will see that a lot of the music is the same: the same artists, the same style of music, and people are looking for alternatives and other types of pop. They look for more excitement and innovation in pop music.
- How do you find emerging musicians to feature on your blog?
A lot of the artists, because of my reputation, contact me and share their music, or I find them on MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter. Nowadays, social media is really helpful in seeing new people and it’s easy for people to reach out and make you know about their new music.
- What was your goal with your Superfraiche concert tonight?
My goal with Superfraiche is usually what I do on the blog, introducing you to new pop.
- Have you noticed any trends within pop music?
Electronic and dance influences in pop are becoming stronger, so a lot of artists are looking for new music technology to intensify an emotion.
- The standard definition for pop music says it has to be popular. Can emerging musicians call their music “pop”? What is pop music at its core?
There’s a difference between popular music and pop music. Pop music is defined by a very relatable sentiment. It’s about an emotion that’s in the song that you can instantly relate to, whether that’s through a lyric or a melody. In the end, it’s all about a sentiment. And the other thing that is really important in pop music is a hook. It needs to have something instantly memorable, a catchy chorus or a line that you get. A lot of people will instantly relate to pop music. PopULAR music is something else, different genres can be popular.
- What does an up-and-comer need to possess to be successful today? Do you think the acts that you showcased today have that quality?
They need to be able to connect with fans. Nowadays, with social media, the fans want to be able to reach out to the artist and get a response. They want to be part of their journey and success. All of the acts that I showcased tonight have that quality. Sky Ferreira is in social media with a huge following and the same for Simon Curtis. Because he was so active on Twitter, he was able to have over a million downloads of his album.