What have you guys been up to lately?
We’re chilling in Austin, Texas right now gearing up for a busy week at South By [South West]
How does it feel to be performing at South By South West the next few days after initially meeting Michael there in 2007?
It’s fun. hear it’s changed a lot and I don’t know what that means. I don’t really remember what it was like then. I know we were both kind of both in these little MySpace bands and we probably had no business being there anyway. But, this time it feels more real I guess, like we have more of a purpose. It is funny that it’s come full circle. I think there are like 8 shows in four days or something. It’s going to be just a blur.
You guys are going to be promoting your new album LOVETAP! which is coming out on March 24. How long has the album been in the making for?
I guess we started day one in rehearsal when we all met probably in August 2012-2013. The years are kind of a blur too at this point. Ever since we did the EP we were kind of writing songs for the album as well. It has been awhile in the making and there has been some hold ups and delays but that’s classic in music and it’s finally out. I think everything is good. I’m happy with it.
Did you find it difficult to record the album in between tours?
Yeah, we had to weigh our options in terms of this great band is offering you a tour but you still only have 4 songs in the world. So, do you want to work on the record and get it out quicker? Or, do you want to build your fan base? We just kind of tried to balance it out and I’m glad we went out on all the tours that we did. Cause we learned a lot and made some good friends. And that’s just a really important aspect of bands these days obviously. [But taking our time with] album two kind of brought a couple of new songs that wouldn’t have made it if we rushed it out. So, I think everything happens for a good reason.
Which track do you think will surprise your fans the most?
I think my favourite one is actually “Lovetap!”. I think that’s the only one that has never been played live and never been sampled anywhere or anything. Cause a lot of the songs on the album we’ve been playing live cause we’ve been playing some headlining sets that are like an hour long and we have to play the new songs. A lot of the fans have gotten a taste of a lot the album already in a live atmosphere. But “Lovetap!” is the only one we’ve never played live and never showed anyone. So, that will be the most fun to see if people dig it.
Do you think you guys will be playing that the next few days and upcoming tours?
Probably not at South By South West, but I mean the tour is called The Lovetap! Tour so that probably wouldn’t be right to leave that one out.
Regarding the album name and artwork, was there any specific inspiration behind either of them?
The artwork is from our producer, his name is Ryan. I don’t know where he gets all these pictures, but he was also the kid on our EP cover. He just brought that EP picture in one day to the studio and we were like ‘this has to be the artwork’. And then sure enough, he pulled out this gem when it was time to choose album artwork. We were like, “What? How did your parents catch that moment?” It’s a great, funny picture. At that point we were kind of working on LOVETAP! in the studio. When we write songs, I kind of just blurt out random syllables and melodies and stuff. And for some reason, in this song, I kept just saying, “It’s a lovetap!’ And that kind of just stuck with everybody. Then when Ryan pulled out that picture, we were like, “This is just working out too perfectly. This has to be the album title”.
How did you guys link up with your producer Ryan?
We worked with Ryan and Ben as part of a crew called Captain Cuts. When we had moved to LA, my best friend from middle school also had just moved to LA. He was working at a label at the time and we sent him a few demos and then he sent those demos to one of his colleagues who was a roommate of Ryan (one of the producers). Then we just kind of met with them at their studio and kind of had a little powwow. They decided to do a couple of songs with us for free to hangout and see if we gelled. It was great chemistry. We ended up just choosing them to do the album.
A lot of the songs on the album are very upbeat, energetic and even partly care free sounding, especially karaoke. Is there any karaoke song you wouldn’t be caught dead singing?
Wouldn’t be caught dead? (Laughs) Probably most of them. When we first moved to LA, I literally did Karaoke so much and we did it to the same song every time. We did that New Radicals song, “You Get What You Give”. The New Radicals had that one album and they disbanded but the album is so good. It was really inspirational to our music writing. I think that was just kind of a spark that we needed when we were starting the band. It’s crazy how we met the Captain Cuts guys moving to LA in the most random coincidental connection that brought us together that made this piece that could have just never happened if one person just didn’t work in the same building as someone else. It’s crazy.
When the band was writing the album, did you have a specific sound in mind?
Yeah, I think we just treat every song like it’s own plan. If it’s good enough to get through our filters, then we’ll throw it on the album. I don’t think there was any direction, like, “We need this kind of song or we need a ballad”, because we definitely didn’t write a ballad at all (laughs). We’d get in a room, jam for 12 hours and if there was an idea that we thought was good we would see it through. If nothing came of it, we’d just come back the next day and wait until something happens. So it was kind of just a song by song thing. Like, “Okay, we gotta write the next song. What are our top running ideas?”
In terms of music festivals, what is your favourite music festival that you guys have played at thus far?
I loved Firefly the most I think. It’s close between Firefly and Lollapalooza. But, playing “Dreaming” at Firefly was insane. We have a video of us from behind and the last chorus everyone is just bouncing along and singing it back to us. It was pretty surreal. That’s probably the best festival moment for me.
Do you think that moment was the point where you realized that your dream of being in a band was coming to a reality having people sing your songs back to you?
Yeah, it did kind of like made me think we were doing something real. You always just try and climb and get on the same playing level as these other bands. You just want to make it, get better and grow as a band. But at that moment, there were a lot of other great bands playing at the same time as us and all of these people were at our stage singing our songs. So yeah, it was a good moment.
Finally, I’d like to ask you if there’s anything you’d like add about LOVETAP! or Smallpools in general for your fans and our readers? Perhaps a fun fact?
I wrote a lot of the album when I was work as a valet. I was working at a really rich building in Westwood in Los Angeles. There was this model unit that was completely empty but it was furnished with all this million dollar furniture. There was a grand piano in there and I would work a shift until 11PM and go up to the model unit where nobody was and write lyrics – pretty much all through the night. Passed out in there and then wake up and kind of saunter down to my 7AM shift. So, it’s kind of a crazy thing. I was working 4-5 days a week then writing at night in the building.
Thank you very much for your time. I really appreciate it. I want to wish you guys the best of luck with the album release. I know it’s streaming on Spotify as of today but of course I’m sure everything will go well with the official release as well.
Thank you so much.