Having been conceived in a London hospital, Pop Levi's childhood was steeped in music rather than medicine. He studied piano at three, joined a gospel choir at seven, started collecting records at nine and wrote his first song that same year: a 12 bar creation, 'Through The Window Of My Life,' that came right out of the ether. In the 90s, he moved to Liverpool, lived on the breadline and took his chances. After forming a commune with new pals Snap Ant and Karl Webb, the trio conceived Super Numeri, whose two albums for Ninja Tune, 'Great Aviaries' (2003) and 'The Welcome Table' (2005), showcased a contemporary take on the cyclical-groove mechanics of Can and the amorphous fluidity of jazz.
In between Super Numeri opuses, Pop's solo quest began with two 7" singles, 'Rude Kinda Love' and the Christmas single 'Reindeer In My Heart', both for Danny Hunt's Invicta Hi-Fi label. Hunt, a good friend of Pop's and one of the male members of the electro-pop-orientated Ladytron, had invited him to join the band on bass guitar, so during 2003 and 2004, Pop found himself on Ladytron's world tour and contributing to their third album 'Witching Hour'.
But having served an apprenticeship - including performing in a Nazi fallout bunker and been rendered penniless, topless and lost in Bulgaria - Pop knew he needed focus on himself. He'd tried to release an album (with the working title 'Foxwatch') in 2004, but no matter; it wasn't the right time - nor the right place. He was to find that shortly after. "I went to Los Angeles with Ladytron, and within a minute of waking up there, I wanted to live there. It had blue skies, palm trees, and they've made some serious records here. LA truly is the land of make-believe. And it was a challenge."
Pop returned to Liverpool, rounded up his current four piece band and then shipped them out to LA, too. The band, plus a few guests, helped record Pop's first EP, 'Blue Honey', released by Counter Records in September 2006 and also 'The Return To Form Black Magick Party', though Pop laid down great chunks of it single-handedly. The album was released in February 2007 to considerable critical acclaim and Pop found himself picking up celebrity supporters as diverse as Jarvis Cocker, Lauren Laverne, Noel Gallagher and Kasabian, who he was asked to support at Somerset House in London.
In July 2008 the avant-pop masterpiece "Never Never Love" album was released. The following year, Pop released double A-Side single "Police $ign/Terrifying (For Kenneth Anger)", before travelling to a mountain-side converted barn in Norway to begin recording his third album, “Medicine”. Sessions were to continue the following year at his newly built White Arc studio in LA, before concluding recording on a secret Greek island. In between, he released the mixtape "Levitation Vol. 1," toured China and directed the music video for former N.W.A. star Arabian Prince's "Let's Hit The Beach" single, as well as unleashing a torrent of crazed short films, all of which can be found here: worldempireinc.com/filmettes
Pop Levi, a true cult hero.
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