Introducing: Tyler Pope’s “Why Must I”

The LCD Soundsystem bassist shares a new solo track.

In the hypnorhythm of my song “Why Must I,” I was trying to craft an indie dance and disco fusion inspired in equal parts by The Neptunes and UK funky house. I approached that concept by combining live drums and percussion elements, like my band LCD Soundsystem does with contemporary structures and drum patterns of modern club music.

The inspiration to add the sample in “Why Must I” comes from my deep admiration for George Clinton and the song “Atomic Dog.” The metaphor of the “dog in me” resonates with me, drawing a poignant parallel to my own battle with addiction. It’s a subject that I’ve grappled with much in my past, and though I’ve been clean more or less for 13 years now, the theme of impulsive addiction will probably be addressed consciously or unconsciously any time I add vocals on a track.

Composed during the late spring of 2023 in my hometown of Berlin, “Why Must I” is more to me than just a groovy track for the club; it’s a reflection of my life over the last fie years… A melancholic triumph, if you will. The accompanying music video, made by my good friend Nat Fowler (who makes amazing music as Novoline, and was in the ‘90s post hardcore band Oxxes), adds another layer to the narrative. It was shot in an atomic bunker outside of Berlin that looks as if it was abandoned in the middle of the night when the wall came down in 1989. And we aren’t talking just any old atomic bunker: it’s an underground, four story building and is completely suspended on springs! The video encapsulates the essence of the song’s message with visuals that could be described by as a tribute to the Beastie Boys and Wes Anderson —  and it incorporates the stellar cartoon dogs from original “Atomic Dog” video to boot!

Tyler Pope’s latest EP is an absolute belter, and the primary concern these four tracks are asking of you is right up front: Pay Attention to the Bass. And, honestly, with a sense low-end like what’s on display here, how could you not? This new release from Pope — a dance veteran who’s also known as a full-time member of LCD Soundsystem as well as a collaborator with artists like Hercules & Love Affair and Pantha Du Prince — arrives on his always eclectic Interference Pattern label, an imprint that has previously spanned left-field electronic sounds, noise rock, and avant-R&B. As such, Pay Attention to the Bass is anything but straightforward, with ricocheting rhythms and alluring textures that are as easy to get lost in as they are to move your body to.