Move over k-pop, crush pop is the new cool kid in town and blazing the way is Vancouver-based band Belle Game.
Andrea Lo, lead vocalist of the group, says that in the challenge of trying to define the type of music they play, all musicians struggle unless they’re sitting down and consciously writing for a specific genre. Belle Game calls their music crush pop. Others have called it dream pop.
“I think there’s a lot of grey areas,” Lo said. “In my mind (the crush part) is just an attempt to grab onto something that sounds appropriate. With the crush I think the whole premise behind it was it’s pop music, but it has a little bit more.”
She added, “Let’s just say it has the word pop in it and it was encased by a little bit of distortion. So the sounds or the way that we move through music isn’t quite as clear and defined as pop, but there are still a lot of pop elements to it.”
Writing in the pop genre was not intentional for the band, though for their first album they did look at what songs were popular and took inspiration from them. It wasn’t until their stint at the Banff Arts Centre during a songwriting residency that they found the path to their own sound.
Pop music is most appealing because of its accessibility, Lo said.
“The lyricism that goes into pop is fairly obvious and sometimes when we look to music we look for a moment of escapism or a moment of relatability and the less that we have to sift through heavy metaphors, the more we can connect with a simply laid out chorus with a direct message, and the more accessible it is,” said Lo.
“We don’t go into song writing and go, ‘we’re going to write with pop elements,’” she said. “We just see it show up here and there.”
The pop factor comes in retrospect where the band realizes what they’ve written sounds like pop because, says Lo, “It’s still accessible to the general public.”
And while crush pop is a self-made term that band uses to describe their music, dream pop is something that’s been labelled onto them by listeners and reviewers.
Lo can see why their music is referred to as dream pop.
“We’re effects heavy, we’re synth heavy,” she said. “Adam uses effects a lot on his guitar, I put effects on my voice and it kind of creates for a more flowing sound, kind of like being in a dreamlike state as opposed to something that’s more clean cut and direct.”
Like many vocalists, Lo is self conscious of her voice, which led her to put effects on it.
“No one likes hearing themselves,” she said. “I would put on a lot of reverb or put on a lot of delay but as I’ve been going through this path of being a singer I’ve been trying to dial it back on those.”
She’s been trying to have a cleaner sound in order to let the lyrics come through.
“I’m learning that’s what a lot of people relate to.”
Experience Belle Game’s crush and dream pop as they perform songs from their latest album Fear/Nothing on Jan. 12 in Whistler at the Maury Young Arts Centre as part of the Arts Whistler Live! series. Tickets are $25 or $22.50 for members and are available at artswhistler.com.