Guitarist Ivan Lip and singer Chris Bug — the two figureheads behind New York act Pop. 1280 — formed a band for the right reason: They hated almost everything and everyone around them.
“We didn’t like many bands in New York City or in general, really,” Lip said. “There’s so many things going on, and everyone is in a band now. There’s a lot of stuff going on that seems pointless, and we were being subjected to it. It was kind of painful. That might be the biggest influence: all the bad stuff out there.
We thought we could do something that would at least be interesting and funny, as well as real, energetic and sad — everything wrapped up together.”
There’s a great deal of anger, angst and frustration behind the relentlessly loud and confrontational no-wave and post-hardcore songs Pop. 1280 has made its name with thus far. But to deride the guys as nihilist goths would be unfair; much satire bubbles below the surface, like Ministry meets Stephen Colbert.
“Life is kind of sick and dark, but it’s also kind of funny,” Lip said. “You can get freaked out by really heavy stuff and stuff that’s just weird that you have to laugh over and try not to get upset about.”
The four-piece found the perfect home in Sacred Bones Records (Zola Jesus, The Men), which embraced the outfit’s dark but humorous tunes found in its 2012 full-length debut, The Horror, and Pop. 1280’s latest, Imps of Perversion. The latter was recorded by legendary producer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans) and hit shelves in August.
“Our instinct is to react against the things that came before us, and this record is kind of a reaction against the previous one,” Lip said. “The last record was purposefully rushed. It was improvised and blown-out by design to sound as shitty as possible. This one was not like that. It was much more written and toured-with prior, and it made for a more cohesive experience.”
The band is currently on a West Coast run, which includes Saturday’s stop at The Conservatory, in support of Imps of Perversion, which Lip is quick to state is Pop. 1280’s proudest effort to date.
“It sounds like a record, from the first chord through the last bit of feedback. It sounds like a complete statement where there’s sonic similarities and songs that reference each other,” he said. “I don’t like the term ‘schizophrenic,’ but some of our other records have been more over the place. This is something we hadn’t done before, and it just flows so well.”