An Interview with Run, Co-Founder of POPCORP
With their debut drop just four days away, one half of this gruesome duo talk horror, utility, and burning the undead!
Zombies. Whether it’s bone-chilling horror, slapstick comedy or an action thriller, we just can’t get enough of them. Throughout literature, gaming and film, they are one of the very few mythological beings that have found a permanent place in pop culture.
What happens if you take pop culture, the undead and NFTs, blend them with swathes of artistic talent, and turn the dial to 11? You get POPCORP.
With their horde of miserly monsters hitting WAX next week, it won’t be long before they’ve spread throughout the entire blockchain – and we couldn’t be more excited for it!
Stick around to the end of the interview for our POPCORP Interview Card, dropping soon!
Pssst… there’s three hidden claim links to previous Interview Cards within this article. Happy hunting!
Hydro: Hi! Could you tell me a bit about yourself, your background and how you got into NFTs?
Run: Hey! I’m Run, and I’m a Co-Founder of POPCORP. Matso Deparis kickstarted this project by experimenting in his dark lab, designing a series of collectible cards that just felt gruesomely awesome to look at and own. I’ve known Mat for close to a decade and as soon he showed me, I said to him “we have to get this out there!”.
He has over 17 years of experience working as a Graphic & Motion Designer and Art Director with some of the top brands in fashion, finance, telecom, autos and more, which I think has given him an eclectic taste and a broad range in his work. He launched SuckMyArt over 2 years ago, selling art pieces and bespoke orders to collectors across the world.
We feel like the NFT world has enabled digital artists to finally have a place in the world of collectable art where their work is truly valued. In the past, only artists who produced physical artworks would see their work being rewarded, and now with blockchain technology and NFTs, the scene has drastically changed.
It’s enabling artists like Mat to work independently from large businesses and brands and branch out into doing their own cool small projects where they can design what they want without restrictions, and that is something which is very, very special.
Tell me about POPCORP – what is POPCORP, what is the idea behind it, and what can we expect to see?
POPCORP is an artistic project that is playing with the concept of pop culture in a twisted, satirical and nostalgic way – through the eyes of zombies.
By having them minted as collectable cards, they are eternally stuck on a decentralized blockchain, no longer living nor dying, well…. unless they are burned!
Classics such as Toxic Avenger, They Live and Garbage Pail Kids inspired Mat into trying to reflect a lot the ‘zombification’ of society as seen by current events across the world, however one wants to interpret that.
At these initial stages, the POPCORP project is pretty basic in essence – we’re just looking to create some awesome looking cards which people will want to enjoy collecting.
You’ll be able to find these cards in packs. Next Tuesday (20th) at 16 UTC, we’ll be holding our first pack drop, with just over 2000 packs available at $21 each (in WAX). Each pack will contain 6 cards and 1 ticket (more on the ticket later).
One of these cards will be a Riddle card, which is a game/brainteaser with rewards – firing up our collectors’ brains enough to attract any zombies in the area!
Within our packs, you will find different rarities and two card types: Undead and Awaken. Undead cards have π times more volume than Awaken cards. For lower rarity cards, you can create an Awaken card by blending several of the same Undead cards. Playing into to the zombie lore, we’re curious to see how many of our POPCORP undead zombies will be burned through blending, and are upgraded to be awakened!
It’s also worth mentioning that the first edition of our collectable NFT cards will have an inherent rarity adhered to them, given that early adopters will be supporting the launch of further series, special features and collabs currently being developed around our existing and future POPCORP NFT cards. These may come with things such as airdrops in the future, or physical printed cards… etc.
We’ll also be joining a popular WAX dApp, so our cards will be stakeable, and we’re looking to join two further dApps as well.
Aside from the classics mentioned, who, or what, inspires the POPCORP collection? Is there a particular piece of media (music, comics, film etc.) that is of particular significance?
Well as mentioned, for films, Toxic Avenger and They Live were major inspirations. We’ve always found the zombie thematic to be fascinating – that concept of dystopia and apocalypse ignites our natural survival instinct, and even shows like The Walking Dead in some way reflect that and makes us toy with the idea of ‘What would I do in this scenario?’.
Then you have films like Shaun of the Dead which, in the same way as us, takes this theme and play with it in a satirical, dark humour type of way without taking it too seriously or making it excessively gory.
Zombies being ‘undead’ means that we can take certain characters or known pop culture individuals and immortalize them on the blockchain, so the zombie theme and blockchain technology combo work hand-in-hand perfectly.
Speaking of inspirations, are there any other NFT artists/collections that you admire, WAX or otherwise?
There are so many cool projects on WAX that I can’t really pinpoint any specifically. There is of course the WAX dApp which we’re joining that is simply amazing, but we can’t give any more details about that yet.
We’ll be looking to collab with some collections in the future and hopefully, alongside POPCORP, we can attempt to continue raising the quality of art across the WAX ecosystem, and create innovations in the space.
You mentioned the potential for NFTs to generate greater freedom for digital artists. Where do you see the NFT industry at the moment, and where do you see it going? How early do you think we are currently?
For sure – the boom in the crypto markets in the last 2 years has brought the NFT world to life, giving digital artists our chance to finally wake up and raise from the artistic mass graves we were buried in.
Although the value of cryptocurrencies and the volume of sales in NFT platforms will always be correlated, this should ebb and flow with time across market cycles. Nevertheless, the NFT space is here to stay and we’re just at the beginning of it.
I believe platforms such as WAX will excel because of the strength of their community and their long-term vision for the space, which filters out a lot of the short-term, brain-devouring speculation crowd you might find in other platforms, favouring those who really enjoy collecting NFTs, playing the games surrounding these NFTs, and of course utilising the entwined relationship between the two – staking.
Where you’ll definitely see the industry grow long-term is the number of projects which mix NFTs with video games, physical assets and new metaverses. As software eats the world in a zombie-like fashion, we’ll see more and more of this and it’s super promising for the space.
What is your favourite NFT that you’ve designed so far?
Probably our last card Here’s Johnny!, although I do say this to Mat with every new card he makes!
The art on these cards is absolutely stunning! Do you have any plans to branch out from NFTs into other media? (e.g. merch, prints etc.)
Thanks! And we do! If we manage to create a community around POPCORP and the support is there for our initial series, we’ll be looking to do a high-quality limited edition physical card series that will have the same holographic and reflective UV effect as our Awaken cards. We’ll make it something really special that anyone who likes POPCORP would want to collect!
Down the line, we have some ideas in AR around those physical cards, but I can’t give too much info on that right now.
Why have you chosen WAX as your blockchain of choice for POPCORP?
First and foremost, the community. It’s the leading strength of WAX that we haven’t found elsewhere, and it’s incredibly supportive.
Within the WAX community, you find real collectors. It reminds us of when we were younger and would collect, trade, and open up packs of cards.
We would go to jumble-sale-esque markets or even our school patio and try and complete our collection by trading with other collectors. We get that same vibrancy with WAX in an online setting, and we just love it.
We want POPCORP to be something that helps you to relive those memories with a series of cards which are stunning to look at, feel great to own, and have the added benefit of additional utilities, so for us, WAX is the place to be.
“Utility” is one of the first questions that comes from the community as soon as a new collection hits the blockchain. You’ve touched on looking to integrate with a few dApps, and the rarity system – could you go into any further depth on what holders of specific cards may be able to look forward to?
The integration with dApps is a fundamental part of why we brought POPCORP to WAX, and something the collectors of our cards should absolutely look forward to.
Alongside staking ability, we’re looking to build a vibrant, fun community around them (much to our style!), and we’ll be setting up our Discord server in such a way so that people will want to hang out there and jam along.
Collectors who have opened any of our packs will be given a non-transferable Ticket that gives them access to special member channels in our Discord where we will be doing some crazy competitions, exclusive drops, giveaways and much, much more!
The brainteaser game behind our Riddle cards will also have exclusive rewards to those who are able to solve the riddles. Those collectors that also manage to complete a full set of Pack 1, Series 1 cards should also expect some wacky surprises!
As mentioned earlier, with the limited-print physical card series, we really want to thank our early bird collectors for supporting our project in its initial stages, so those who own high-rarity Series 1 Awaken cards will be pleasantly surprised down the road.
We’re looking to extend the rarity of our NFT cards to physical cards at some point. Furthermore, those who own any NFT cards, regardless of rarity, will occasionally be surprised with random drops, sometimes for no reason whatsoever, without context nor notification. Bam – you turn around and there is a zombie right next to you – so stay frosty!
Where would you like POPCORP to be in 3 months? 6 months? 12 months?
Honestly, right now we’re quite focused on Series 1. It will go beyond the launch and Pack 1 into a fully-fledged first part to our collection, with its own lore.
In 3-6 months, ideally, we would like to have developed a partnership with certain dApps to an extent where POPCORP has it’s own little world within that game, and their community and ours can integrate together.
Since POPCORP immortalizes characters through infection and consequent zombification, we’re working onto teaming up collab-style with some well-known nostalgic pop culture figures and take them through Mat’s wicked designer scalpel.
We’ll also be looking to add new formats for our cards to keep them insane, unexpected, slightly controversial and just badass overall.
We want to have fun with this project, and we want the community to have fun with it too. Expect the unexpected, expect us to break the rules of what’s considered the “standard” in the NFT space, and expect us to break new ground – from the underground up. It’s pretty much how Mat and I have always looked at doing things.
What have you enjoyed most about working on POPCORP so far?
In a Dr. Frankenstein manner, we’ve loved creating and mustering our little motley crew of zombies, with each of their unique, intricate, creepy details, and all of the work that’s gone behind releasing them into the wild so that they can cause havoc across WAX.
Every couple of nights, under a strike of lightning, Mat unveils his new creations to me. Each one of them is getting better and more ghoulish, and I’m slightly concerned where this might be going. Let’s hope for the worst.
Mat is obsessed with the details of his creations, so any collectors should place really close attention to that. These details will be increasingly relevant to our collection, and especially for our Riddle cards and competitions.
Is there anything you’d like to add? What would you like to say to the reader?
Hell yeah! With this interview, we’re announcing our almost free pre-minted drop for our Undead Atomic Zweetmeat card (1-5 WAX, to avoid bots). To jump onto it, hop into our Discord and post your wallet name into #undead-atomic-zweetmeat-promo to get whitelisted.
A few days before our launch, we’ll be doing another drop for the Awaken version of that card, which, after collectors follow us on Twitter and Instagram, we’ll be whitelisting their WAX accounts for them claim it.
Let’s wrap it up with some quick-fire questions!
What fuels you?
To create new things and improve oneself, however cheesy that may sound.
Long-term, which will be the predominant currency, crypto or fiat?
One unusual fact about you?
A friend of mine became deaf in one ear, so I got his deaf ear tattooed on my arm!
What’s your favourite zombie/undead character in film/TV/pop culture?
Bill Murray in Zombieland, but as he’s not an actual zombie I’ll include one more – the Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt.
You can invite three people, dead or alive, to dinner. Who do you choose?
Kurt Cobain, Jesus Christ and Socrates. It would be such a weird mix.
What is your purpose in life?
Paradoxically, to never be a walking dead.
Mat’s art represents some of the very best I’ve seen on WAX so far, and combining his talent with Run’s expertise, this is one project that should fly off the shelves.
Strap yourselves in and make sure you’ve got your firelighters to hand – when the horde arrives, you’d better be ready!
To mark the interview, we have our POPCORP Interview Card and a ghoulish collab Timmy, dropping soon!