“Chaos, vices and an existential crisis. These were the ingredients to create the perfect little trainwrecks. But professor u-bore-ium accidentally added Chemical X to the concoction creating…” This is how the hyper pop newcomer trio, NOT THE MAIN CHARACTERS, described their formation on their latest single “bad things,“mimicking the intro to the theme song of the beloved childhood cartoon, Powerpuff Girls.
In an interview with Affinity Magazine, NTMC (acronym for NOT THE MAIN CHARACTERS) members, Gabbi, Perrin and Tammy share about their song production, relationship as a band and all about their experiences on getting into the genre of hyper pop as fans of pop music at their core. Formed during the pandemic, this trio started their journey together in college as they all shared the same passion for making music and expressing themselves in it.
“We met in college and I was friends with both of them separately,” said Perrin, one of the members during the interview, sitting in the middle of her two bandmates, Gabby and Tammy. “We were doing sessions over Zoom when the pandemic hit and I kept talking about them. I was doing sessions with them, like both weekly, but separately. And they were like, ‘Who is this person you keep talking about? Let’s do a session all together!’ and from that first session, we were like, ‘This is the most fun we’ve ever had ever writing!'”
Ever since they started collaborating together, they have written a couple of songs and daringly put it out to the world as it was (in their own words) the “f*ck it era.” As of today, they have now released 15 songs including their 2022 EP, “bad things come in 3s”. From Club Penguin boyfriends, Black Mirror, to cancel culture, the group has explored all kinds of internet references and pop culture, turning them into modern bops that falls into the rising genre of hyper pop, a genre that mixes EDM elements and traditional pop production creating a refreshingly modern take on how mainstream music could sound like.
“We usually talk about the niche that we fit in is kind of pop, in terms of structure and melody, with Sonics from hyper pop,” explained Gabby when asked how they would describe their sounds as a group. “We like the idea of joining the weird aspects of alt Music with the structure of pop and the way that a lot of people love to listen to pop. So it seems kind of… what is the word I’m looking for?”
“-palatable!” Perrin exclaimed. “The production, concept and lyrics are pushing the boundaries but we don’t want it to be too crazy but still palatable.” This approach is shown by the way the group is taking this specific area of the genre by storm with bangers after bangers. They’ve put out many hits in the last two years that they’ve been collaborating as a group. Their latest EP further shows how much action the three have in their music and creative process as a group.
What is the creative process like as a group in making these songs for the band?
Perrin: It’s a lot like, write the lyrics first. When we’re writing for our project, there’s a system. When we first started, some of us were more into melody than lyrics. Now we’ve all just gotten stronger in every element. So now we’ll start altogether with the lyrics and we won’t even like to go for the melody at all. The producer will be working on the track and we’ll just do like slam poetry. Then we’ll do all the melodies together and kind of craft it that way.
From all of your songs that you have released for now, which song did you guys have the most fun with in the process of making it?
Perrin: “survival of the littest” is a single on our EP and it’s like one of my favorite concepts. I think Gabby thought of it. We love partying and who we love partying with is our friend Matt who produced it. So it was just like, the easiest session like we just came in and we’re like, “This is the concept. This is the vibe,” and it just made sense immediately. I feel like we wrote it in like 40 minutes.
Gabby: Depending on who we’re working with we could have more input in the production. We will have a lot of opinions about how the music sounds because we have a vision. So that song is also one of the ones that we were like most involved with the production for as well.
As a hyper pop artist, you must have noticed how popular hyper pop has become in the music industry. How do you see this change of hyper pop going from a niche genre to being more mainstream?
Gabby: The more that we have access to music on the internet, naturally, society as a whole is going to be leaning towards things that resonate with them specifically. I think in any scenario where you have access to random bedroom producers that get like five thousand streams on each song, somebody is making those streams and somebody’s going to find it. It makes sense that we would be searching for things that feel like a good representation of the inside of our minds instead of just what a label thinks is going to resonate with a mass amount of people, which I think is what pop music has been for the previous generations.
Tammy: In five to ten years, as weird as some people think hyper pop is, it’s gonna become mainstream and the weird stuff is gonna be way more normal because everyone has adjusted to the sounds.
You have this sort of very virtual style, whether it’s your song, album art, or your visualizer. Why did you guys choose this style specifically and how does it represent you as an artist?
Tammy: I think we spend so much time on the internet that it’s just kind of inevitable and again, literally being formed out of zoom. We just kind of continued with it because we loved it and spent many hours on our phones.
Perrin: And even like, when we’re together now writing, it’s like, we’re still like on Google Docs all day. Or we’re like making things by making content for social media. Like it’s just kind of part of our daily life.
From your perspective as an artist, how do you guys think the internet has changed the music industry in general?
Perrin: You can definitely release a lot more music now. That’s kind of what made the singles era happen instead of making a whole album. The fact that this is our first EP after we’ve been a band for two years is cool. We’ve just been doing singles up until now. Which is nice, because I feel like, especially with us, the whole song itself is kind of its own world. And so we get to create that whole world and present it as its own thing. But now the whole EP is a fun bigger world.
How would you describe this EP bad things come in 3s?
Tammy: Pregame mixtape. It’s basically a collection of songs that we would listen to during our pregame. I feel like at the time that we were writing this we were going out a lot like we were partying.
Perrin: the sound and like the general like it’s pretty light-hearted for the most part that’s like the overarching vibe
Gabby: It has a dark undertone.
Perrin: But There are dark undertones which make a lot of sense because in our writing we’re always very reflective like how “lava” is kind of similar to “bev hills” in the sense of like, like living in LA or just in like our age group now, like going through life. We touched base on a lot of things in this EP that are real, heavy and hard. But the sound is light and fun despite the fact that we’re gonna rage.
In one of your recent singles, “bad things,” you guys basically rewrite your own version of Powerpuff Girls. What were the main ideas for this song and how did you guys come up with them?
Gabby: This was a crazy song man. It went through many stages.
Perrin: I think there’s probably like 10 versions of the songs
Tammy: Production alone, it could take a hot minute to get.
Perrin: it was clearly there from the start but it also needed to be twisted like a billion times. We got into the session and our producer was like, what if we flipped this? And the baseline is so sick that we were kind of like, oh, you know what, that’s actually really fire. Then there’s three of us and we already have the color, like our colors happen to match that. there’s already some undertones from when we started. So I think we went off with that. We wrote the song and we were like, oh, it’d be cool if we introduced ourselves in the song like, what if it was the intro track to the EP like, then we would want our own section for each person to be like, This is me in the band. This is me in the band. This is me. So then we did that and those took a lot of rewrites, but we finally got like three different verses that fully introduced us individually but then the whole thing kind of sums up our vibe.
Gabby: It’s manic but it is structured.
Tammy: It’s also one of the most simultaneously chaotic but empowering songs that we have. pretty rare to hear us call ourselves baddies.
Who do you think is the biggest inspiration you guys have as an artist?
Perrin: I would say Charli (XCX). Just because there’s so many things that I can relate to her for us. she’s such a songwriter in the industry as much as she’s an artist and she’s just like, cool and heavy and does her own thing
If you guys could collaborate with any artist from any time as NTMC. Who would that artist be for you?
Tammy: Maybe just because we were going through their music videos yesterday, but I feel like keeping up with the girl band vibes Blackpink would be so sick.
Perrin: That would be insane.
Tammy: Like I feel like because they do so many like switch-ups in their songs like imagine the end when it gets crazy, it’s like an NTMC verse.
Gabby: Yeah, Blackpink with a hyper pop section would be sick.
So if I could ask, I know it’s like asking who your favorite child is. But what is your favorite song that you guys have released so far?
Tammy: I always say It’s “evian.” “Murder Party,” Obviously. Our most popular one holds a special place in our hearts. I love that it’s simultaneously so sad but we also like want to get into it.
Gabby: It would have to be either “bad things” or “snitches get stitches” for me.
Perrin: I would say either “8ball” or “bad things.” But like as a consumer of our own music, I’m ready for the era that we’re about to put out. I want the EP out and that’s what I would listen to. I just love that we made something that was like, “Yes, this is exactly what I would want to listen to.”
Listen to bad things come in 3s here:
Featured Image via Fancy PR.