A recent trend that has been growing in the pop genre is a detachment from the expected, let’s say “typical” pop sound or structure. More and more, artists like Ariana Grande, Hozier, Betty Who, and LP are shifting away from the tried-and-true song structure with deviating sounds and daring topics that take more risks. From New York City, Pros & iCons is another rising band in this new subset, anti-pop, that steps into the pop music genre but forges a new identity on their own terms. Their debut album, iConic is a delicious blend of pop and rock that dissolves on the palette of hipster listeners and Top 40 enthusiasts alike.
I got to chat with the band about their new music, taste in cover songs, and what they want do do next:
Immediately I was entranced by your single, “Catch Me” and I quickly fell down the rabbit hole with the songs on your debut album. I also see that you released an EP in 2014, so when did Pros & iCons officially come together?
We met shortly before releasing the 2014 EP iConography. We oddly crossed paths in college–seemed like a touch of fate. We were young with big dreams. It’s nearly five years later and we just filmed the music video for “Catch Me,” a song more or less about being young with big dreams.
Your sound has been described as “anti-pop.” I’d site similar groups like WALK THE MOON, LANY, MUNA (lots of all-caps bands), and arguably new The 1975 music. How do you take this observation and what does that mean for your identity as a band?
Much like an anti-hero breaks rules to become a hero, we break rules of pop to become pop. Comparisons to these artists are humbling, and we’re proud to be discussed in the likes of such accomplished musicians, but we see ourselves a bit differently from them. Our music fits better in the niche of pop, and we add a bit more edge. I think we all blend together the alternative and the mainstream well, but Pros & iCons takes the end of each of those spectrums more to an extreme.
Pros & iCons have covered pop hits like Closer, I Did Something Bad (a favorite–it compliments T Swift’s sound so well but also transforms the piece into something new), and Break Free, but as a group you’re also very influenced by 80s music. Can we expect an 80s cover anytime soon?
HECK YEAH! We’d love to tackle such an iConic era. We channel the energy of the 80s in both our record and in our live show. Every gig is a party. We wrote our album with that in mind, so listening from top to bottom, iConic mimics the rollercoaster effect of a live show.
What was it like to have your first Vans Warped Tour also be the last Vans Warped Tour?
In some way, it was a bit of a tease. To be so intimately connected to such an incredible experience left us wanting more, but there’s also something beautiful in that. Our music captures moments–moments in our lives and in our hearts–so it feels somewhat appropriate that we were so quickly thrown into the heat of the tour. We were able to squeeze the most out of the experience knowing it was the last.
Was this your first major music festival as well?
Our first major music festival, and one of our first gigs ever, was the Z100 and iHeartRadio JingleBall tour. We had entered a contest to be NYC’s Hometown Hero orchestrated by Z100, and thanks to our NYC hustle, we won. The experience really jumpstarted our careers.
After opening for Shawn Mendes, Megan Trainor and Andy Grammar, if you were headlining a tour, what bands or artists would you most like to open for you?
Our sound sits really well for fans of the alternative pop community. We’d like to take the stage with bands like Twenty One Pilots, Panic! at the Disco, and Fall Out Boy. Though we’d think it’d be real fun to play with the ends of the spectrums our music plays with, especially the heavier side. The boys of Bring Me The Horizon would be a dope tour collab.
What’s next in the works for you?
We just released our latest music video and third featured single off our self-produced album iConic. “Catch Me” is a call to arms to all the dreamers of the world, especially those who feel a bit left-of-center. We’ll be taking the song, and the rest of our album, on the road in 2019 with our brand new live show.
You can keep in touch with Pros & iCons through their website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Also check out their YouTube channel, that has everything from music videos to covers to Pokemon Go parodies.