No Pop is an appellation that originated about a year ago with The Lonely Vagabond, a frequent correspondent of this site. Since then, others have adopted the name to describe…well, that’s a bit complex. Fortunately, we have this article from CultureAddict that can help sort things out.
At the start of 2016, we introduced you to the term No Pop created by Toronto’s Lonely Vagabond. We felt that a year on was a good time to give a No Pop refresher to make sure we were still all moving the needle in the right direction. Maybe 2017 is the year when we can all get behind a musical movement that embraces the underground and more authentic creativity. It started as a term to describe Toronto’s underground scene and letter evolved into a manifesto.
James Pew, producer and recording engineer at Euphonic Sound Studio had some thoughts on No Pop, he said “It has more to do with the mindset of the people making the music, than any specific musical or sonic aesthetic. I’ve met tons of people at my studio who, when making music, are very concerned with sonic characteristics of something popular (like the use of auto tune on a vocal to give the robot warble effect).
For them, having something that links them to the mainstream is the goal even when they don’t realize that there music/production will never be on par with the overly crafted and produced glossy products of the mainstream world. To me, this pursuit is insanity. If you want to be in the mainstream world and have the production values of a Rhianna or Beyonce (or other example of big money artist) than you need to be in that world and access its resources (writing teams, production teams, the entire big money artist development system).
Chasing a big money sound and brand with little money and resources is in my opinion a huge waste of time. In simplest terms, the No Pop movement allows for a non-big moneyed artist (also known as an Indie Artist) to create sonic art on their own terms, ignoring any aesthetic parameters set by the prevailing mainstream culture.”
This is worth a deeper dive. Go here