The 405's Christian Breedlove caught up with Chris Chu to talk about POP ETC's latest single 'Running In Circles', their progression over the past couple of years, a new album and much more.

Last time we saw you guys, you were taking over our website in June of 2012. First things first, how have you all been?

Great! A lot has happened since then. We've written a ton of songs. Mostly for our album, but also a good amount for other artists as well. This is the longest we've ever taken between albums, so I guess that is to be expected… but we really have been writing more than we ever have before… hundreds of songs. It's been a pretty crazy process going through all of them and trying to figure out which belong together.

Is 'Running In Circles' a sign of what we can expect with the new album? Is there a tentative name for the album?

To be honest, I can't really answer that question yet, as the album isn't 100% finished. There is definitely a family of songs that came out of all the writing we've been doing though, and 'Running In Circles' is one of those. But in terms of how diverse this album ends up sounding, I don't really know yet.

The 'Running In Circles' video is quite great, filmed by Kevin Hayes and starring Sifu Chen Ying doing the coolest things I've seen with a sword since the first Bayonetta video game. How did this all come together?

Well, we were kind of raised around a lot of old martial arts movies. Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan and such. My family loves that stuff. And one day when we were listening to 'Running In Circles' it just clicked. Those guys were so incredible and the movements are so rhythmic. A lot of the classic films we wanted to reference were from the '70's, but we thought it would be cool to filter that through a more '80s/early '90s aesthetic to fit the song better.

How did you all meet Sifu Chen Ying?

Jon was just walking around Chinatown and he happened to see him teaching at his studio down there. He's a super sweet guy and a really incredible martial artist. We just instantly knew we wanted to try making this video with him.

'Running In Circles' has a serious "'80s at night" vibe to it and to me, reflects as much of a change from 2012's self titled album that 2010's Big Echo did to that previously. Were there any specific inspirations, in life and other artists, that went into the track and the album as a whole?

I'm really happy to hear that!

Yes, so many! Too many to list, really. I spent some time living in Japan last year, and that was a super inspiring experience. I got turned on to a ton of amazing music while I was over there. Tatsuro Yamashita is one that people could check out. He's been around for a while and has a really incredible, and super diverse, discography. Definitely a lot of films - Ridley Scott in particular was a big influence. We're kind of always listening to certain songs or albums by Tears For Fears, Bryan Adams, and The Cure. Also a lot of '90s rock stuff - The Cranberries, Weezer, Oasis… to name a few.

What's the mood with this next album?

I'm not quite sure. It definitely feels a bit more melancholic. A fair number of the songs are about losing someone or something. But I don't think it feels depressing or anything, either. I'll have to think more about that…

For me, 'New Life' was the best track on POP ETC. It had a brooding quality to it, but still massively catchy. 'Running In Circles' would fit perfectly right next to 'New Life'. What's the inspiration behind it?

Ah thanks! I wrote that song with my brother, and I recorded parts of it in the middle of the night in a hotel in Tokyo, so it's kind of a special song for me, too. 'Running In Circles' is about losing something that you were completely focused on and reliant on - and how once you lose that anchor you can lose all sense of direction.

What went into the recording process and what is everyone's favourite tracks so far?

It's not finished! I guess we're kind of perfectionists in the studio. Not that we are doing like 47 takes of a shaker or anything. But I think we just like to take our time with things. Especially with mixing, I like to take a lot of time to mix.

Having once been the Morning Benders, do you still get fans or anyone else who haven't "jumped on board" with the sound and name change?

Yeah, of course. It's kind of sad, because I truly do feel bad that people want to hear new albums from us that sound like our old ones… mainly because I know they're never going to get that. It's not a conscious choice to piss people off or anything, obviously, it's just how we're built. I'm not inspired to write songs unless I feel like I'm trying something completely new. Or at least, new for me. I will say though, I am generally completely amazed with how supportive our fans have been. A lot of people really have stuck with us for years. And the letters people send are just amazing. I've been brought to tears by some of the stuff we've received. I have a lot of love for them.

You're pretty well known for covering other well-known songs. This can be seen on 2008's Bedroom Covers. I still listen to the Fleetwood Mac cover all the time. Are there any that you wish you could do over?

That's awesome! I'm glad you liked them. I don't know if I'm a good judge of that, unfortunately. To be honest, we usually do those covers pretty quickly, and I don't really re-listen to them ever again. I think I mainly do them because I just love to sing, and sometimes I fall in love with a melody or a song and I get the uncontrollable urge to learn it and play it for myself. I figure at that point I might as well cover it so other people can hear!

Are you going on tour this year?

We haven't scheduled anything since we are still working on our album, but we really want to! I'd say, there is a very good chance.

To this day, some would say 'Speak Up', off of the soundtrack for the last Twilight movie, is the most well known song you have as POP ETC. What was the exposure and success of 'Speak Up' like?

It's amazing! People are just so crazy about those movies, and they love the music! I think it was especially crazy for us, and for the fans of Twilight, because 'Speak Up' was used in, like, the last scene of the last film. So it had a pretty crazy emotional weight built into it. I don't know, I know some artists complain about that sort of thing because they feel they aren't being recognized for all the other stuff they've done, or something… but I really don't feel that way. I just love for people to hear any of our music if it makes them feel something. And take Twilight, this movie that resonated with so many kids, like people just loved that shit. It was Shakespeare to this generation of kids. I can't complain about being a small part of that huge, life-changing experience for people. It's the best.