Jack Conte never intended for Pomplamoose — the sugary Northern California duo he formed with his significant other, Nataly Dawn — to take off. Nor did he think its unique YouTube-popularized “video songs” would weasel their way into a Toyota Avalon ad (“Mr. Sandman”) or a holiday Hyundai TV campaign featuring fluffy covers of Christmas chestnuts.
Yet when he hastily filmed live versions of solo selections and posted them online with a link to buy his album, he realized “nobody cared” about his new record. “They all wanted the MP3 of the song that I’d just posted. That’s when I realized, these videos I’m making are the products!’” He recruited his partner, Anglicized the French name for grapefruit — “pamplemousse” — and the rest became YouTube history.
Just pronouncing “Pomplamoose” is a lot of Dr. Seussian fun, right? Ha! Yeah, that’s the reason we’re called that, I guess. It was Nataly’s friend’s favorite word in French, for that very reason, so we decided to give it to the band.
Don’t you also sell some interesting merchandise, like a $30 flash drive and Pomplamoose grapefruit soap? The flash drive is every song that we’ve ever recorded, like 38 songs, all as high-quality MP3s for all the audiophiles out there. And the soap is made by my sister. One day she walked into the room when Nataly and I were filming a video, and she had a bar of the soap and said, “Jack! This is the soap I was talking about, with grapefruit oil, and I’m gonna call it Pomplamoose Soap!” So we kept that in the video and posted it, and we got a ton of orders for the soap. We just put in an order for 500 more bars from my sister.
Is there a new Pomplamoose album coming? Not right now. Both Nataly and I are working on solo records — she’s got an album coming in June that I’m producing. I think Pomplamoose tends to use a lot of hip-hop, slow-beat kinds of stuff, a lot of jazz chords and a lot of layers with toy piano and glockenspiel. And none of that is on Nataly’s solo record, it’s more of a folk-country thing. And for my own new EP, I’ve been listening to a lot of dubstep, so it’s gonna be this ridiculously heavy screamo-bass-driven music.
Pomplamoose has uncovered a whole new music market with YouTube, eh? You know, people don’t give YouTube enough credit. It’s not just for videos of animals, boobs, babies and butts. It’s an incredibly deep platform that’s changing art, video, music, storytelling and business. It’s changing the world.
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., San Francisco
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Contact: (415) 885-0750, www.gamhtickets.com