“I just have a lot of interests, and things that I find fascinating,” she says, speaking to Kerrang! at an airport in LA as she waits to catch a flight to Texas to join Smashing Pumpkins on tour. “It’s deep-rooted. It’s not a passive enjoyment, it’s a very all-encompassing pleasure. [With my music], I go with what I’m interested in, and what I would like to be singing, and when I get bored of it, I’ll change it. I think that’s what part of this life is about: exploring what you’re fascinated in, digging deeper into it, and then when you get bored of it, do something else. It’s really boring to make the same music or album over and over again. I think I would be very sad all the time if I was trying to do that.”
The way she describes it, it seems that in Poppy’s world, intrigue is intuition. It goes beyond just her music – even in her everyday life, she lets any passing interest guide her towards holiday destinations, museums, things she might want to paint. She even reckons it’s why she’s drawn to cats, who famously share her sense of ceaseless curiosity. (Incidentally, her beloved cat Pi is also with her in the airport.) Indeed, she goes as far to label the need to constantly explore as a “responsibility”.
Weirdly, this sense of embracing limitless possibilities has allowed Poppy to set boundaries. It steers her towards the things that are likely to genuinely enrich her life, and away from the things she doesn’t need in her bubble.
“I feel like what I’ve created around me as a person in my everyday is what I want to be surrounded by. I don’t want to know what’s on the news, I don’t want to know what has come out from pop culture. I want people that I love around me to bring what they know that I will enjoy, in terms of what they think I should be exposed to.”
Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Poppy isn’t a subscriber to the zeitgeist, given her music’s complete disregard for conformity, choosing to zigzag around convention and swerve any fad or fashion. It’s easy to see the logic – pop culture is prescriptive at the best of times, a ravenous hivemind constantly digesting trend after trend, devoid of human connection.
“I’d rather be in conversation with somebody that tells me, ‘Hey, you should check out this film,’ as opposed to me just having advertisements projected onto me every time I look at the screen. It’s quite upsetting, actually.” Poppy says this plainly, in the same soft tone with which she sings, without a hint of pretension but rather the self-awareness of a sensitive soul who understands on a fundamentally deep level what makes her tick.