Despite the occasionally heavy subject matter, Poppy describes making the show, which they've only shot a pilot for so far, as the most fun thing she's ever done. According to her, the biggest difference between working with YouTube Red and making her normal videos was that I'm Poppy cost more money. She got expensive clothes. She had her own dressing room. She spent time with her favorite people. "I wasn't acting," she says. "I was just telling the story."
From here, the goal is to keep making more episodes of the show, to expand the Poppy universe in new ways. Sinclair clearly sees Poppy as an antidote to a barren, vapid pop culture landscape. Taylor Swift is a frequent target of his critiques on social media, but she's not the only artist in his crosshairs. His contempt for the music industry is more systemic.
"It always rubs me the wrong way when I see some super-mega-famous, rich celebrity trying to pretend they understand the normal person's life," he says. "I think what we're doing is a lot more sincere than so many of the pop things. Just turn on the radio and listen for 10 seconds and it's some singer that you can't distinguish from any of the other ones and the production all sounds the same and the songs are all written by the same three people. Everyone is just trying to say something and nobody's saying anything."
What exactly is Poppy trying to say through her work? "That I'm Poppy," she replies.
Talking to Poppy is a bit like conversing with an Alexa. You have to keep providing questions in order to get a response -- many comments end with confusion or silence -- but if you get a good rhythm going you can discover interesting little details. Not quite glitches in the matrix. They're more like hidden bits of code. Secrets you can unlock.
Toward the end of the conversation, I ask Poppy and Sinclair what they like to do for fun on their days off. They both insist that they've been so busy lately making videos, recording songs, and touring that they rarely have time to do anything else. Sinclair hasn't even seen the new Star Wars movie, which he was looking forward to.
When I ask Poppy her favorite Star Wars character, she doesn't hesitate to respond. She says R2-D2, the non-verbal droid partner to the more talkative C3PO, is her favorite. Sinclair agrees. He likes the way George Lucas got you to empathize with the little trash can robot. I mention that Poppy would make an excellent Star Wars character. You can picture her singing at some Cloud City bar. A ghostly figure in the background of a never ending space opera.
"I'd love that," says Poppy. "Can you put that in the article and then maybe they will hear that?"
Sinclair nods and laughs, another plan possibly already in motion. "Yeah," he says. "We need to plant the seed."
The bigger the screen, the better.