Pocket of Lollipops occupies a singular space in Miami's music scene. The wife-and-husband duo of singer and bassist Maitejosune Urrechaga (Maite for short) and drummer/back-up vocalist Tony Kapel has been rocking the Magic City since 2008 and built a formidable resumé in the ensuing 12 years. The self-proclaimed “posh-punkers” have played shows across the nation, cultivated a sizable discography, and even performed as back-up dancers for the Russian feminist punk-rock protest group Pussy Riot.
If you can think of a cool achievement for an independent band to get under its belt, chances are Pocket of Lollipops has done it.
The eclectic hot streak continued with the 2019 release of the pair's latest LP, Be My Non-Friend Friend. The record, an avant-guard collection of noise rock, holds little back from listeners. The standout track and single “Face Value” captures the core of Pocket of Lollipops' ethos: raw, unfiltered, and unabashedly honest.
The duo shared the music video for "Face Value" on YouTube this past Sunday. Heavily influenced by their recent mini-tour that saw them visit many a skatepark and record shop, the song's video features fan recordings of the band as well as clips of the Miami-based skater Clara Solar.
“'Face Value' is about nostalgia and its presence on the people and [believing] that the way things appear is the way they really are,” Urrechaga says. She adds that the process of taking the video for "Face Value" from conception to reality took more than a year.
“We knew we wanted to collaborate with Clara Solar for this, but it was incredibly difficult,” she says. “With either us being on tour, our schedules with Clara not matching up, or even issues with weather, this music video was definitely a challenge to film.”
Urrechaga stresses that skate culture holds deep importance for Pocket of Lollipops, hence the emphasis on collaborating with Solar for the video.
"Everything about skate culture is deeply rooted in us," she says. "With fashion, music, you name it, we've been influenced by it. That's why working with Clara and being able to showcase this for 'Face Value' has been so important to us."
“We only play the game once, so fuck your rules,” Kapel adds regarding both the song and the video.
“What it really means is that my mindset has nothing to do with your style or mindset," he continues. "The game is that you have to behave like the people you’re emulating. The game is that everyone wanted to break a rule at one point, and people can now. You can’t continue to be that person that just makes things happen. It’s made up, and it’s bullshit.”
“If we’re only gonna do something once, we want to do it our way," Urrechaga adds. "We’re just being honest in what we want to do. How can you tell me no? This is what I feel."
Pocket of Lollipops' fiercely individualistic attitude has at times scared off other figures in the mainstream indie scene. Urrechaga agrees with Kapel's assessment that "you either understand the music or you don't, and that's perfectly fine."
“You have to meet us and hear the music to get us. It makes sense once you actually talk to us," Urrechaga says. "People are a little cautious when approaching us; it’s different when you see us live versus listening to our songs. You have to meet us to get to know us and fully understand why we do the things that we do.”
Kapel adds, “The reality is that Maite and I make the music because we don’t know why. We say the things we do because we’ve lived through everything we say.”
In addition to performing at the upcoming Tea & Poets and April's Miami Psych Fest, Pocket of Lollipops plans to create a music video for “13 Cents,” another song on Be My Non-Friend Friend. Urrechaga and Kapel are calling for fans to submit videos of them popping balloons.
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“We did a fan video once for our song 'Shelby Apples,' and that was really cool seeing all the submissions, so we thought we’d do it again for '13 Cents.' The opening lyric is 'You should pop that balloon if I’m better than you,' so we’d like to collect a bunch of videos of our fans popping balloons," Urrechaga says. "We want to see how creative people can get and how they pop their balloon.”
Submissions for the "13 Cents" music video can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. In case you're camera-shy, don't let that stop you from entering a submission: If ever there were a judgment-free fan base, it's the one around Pocket of Lollipops.
Pocket of Lollipops. With TGTG. Sunday, March 1, at Tea & Poets, 5701 Sunset Dr., Coral Gables; 786-216-7201; teaandpoets.com. Admission is free.
Miami Psych Fest III. With Pocket of Lollipops, Jaialai, Scraping Teeth, Dino Felip, and otehrs. Saturday, April 25, at Mana Contemporary Miami at 777 International Mall, 141 E. Flagler St., Miami; 305-573-0371; manacontemporary.com. Tickets cost $30 to $60 via eventbrite.com.