It’s disorienting to be encouraged to stay at home this year to the tune of songs about hitting the club in the background. That’s something that hybrid pop musician ROLE MODEL, born Tucker Pillsbury, knows all too well, notwithstanding the fact that he’s not really one for leaving the house in the first place.
“Pandemic or no pandemic,” he explains to us, “I’m not a social butterfly. I don’t have a huge desire to go out every weekend or to be around people in general.” While his tracks are in a significant sense oriented on the premise of his anti-sociality, he equally acknowledges that more people are relating to it now due to their forced distance. “If people are relating to it in the sense of being quarantined for six months,” he adds, “I love that.”
Pillsbury has earned a following on the foundation of the sincerity of what he has to say. His press has been minimal, despite boasting over a hundred million streams since his first EP last year. On our little angel, his latest release which dropped last week, he continues his pursuit of honesty in pop, with the anthemic ‘going out’ a middle finger to everything that pop artists thought they had to talk about.
“It’s been cool to start seeing all these new fans pour in after I put that song and that video out,” he observes. “I do think it is pop music, but it is a rare thing to not have a song that’s like, ‘I’m with my friends partying. Let’s go, windows down, hell yeah, I want all my friends around.’ That is what pop is, I guess, because it’s more relatable for people, but I’m just talking about the things that I’m going through and luckily finding people that relate to that too.”
The little press that Pillsbury has done makes it all the more special that those people have found him – in his words, “any success that comes is solely because of the people that listen to my music.” He resents the idea that not wanting to be out all the time should leave anyone with a hollow feeling in the pit of their stomach, and don’t even think about mentioning fear of missing out.
“I spend my time right here,” he laughs. “Right on my couch. Pre-COVID, pre-pandemic, I would literally put myself in the studio every single day from like 1pm to 1am. I loved that, not only because I was going to the studio and making music, but it was also an excuse to not be able to hang out with people, as evil as that sounds. It was the perfect thing for me.”
Previously having studied film, Pillsbury also gets to pursue what he wanted to do all along – making music videos – bringing them to directors that he likes and working with them to bring his vision to life. As he describes it, others do the parts of filmmaking that he “failed,” and he gets to do what he enjoys.
Given the success that he’s had to date, it’s only expected that Pillsbury is working on an album. He wants to collaborate with pop contemporary Dominic Fike, though it seems that everyone does. Fike knows, but at the time of our conversation, wasn’t answering Pillsbury’s texts.
“I think collaboration is something that I’m going to definitely start to dip my toes into a little bit more. Because the way I’ve been working thus far has been the opposite of… I work with one producer and we make music and he leaves to let me write my songs. So it’s literally like the opposite of collaborative. So I do want to try that. There’s artists I want to work with.”
There will be livestreams over the next few months, and Pillsbury has some events under his belt, but in the meantime, he’ll continue enjoying his time at home, with the pandemic his new validation for not having to leave it.
“I guess quarantine is the excuse,” he cheekily asserts, “but I have a home studio now and I’m adapting to the quarantine thing. I’m still a homebody right now and I make music and I sit on my couch.”