Los Angeles-based band Smallpools, comprising (from L-R) drummer Beau Kuther, bassist Joseph Intile, frontman Sean Scanlon and guitarist Mike Kamerman, tell us about their first SXSW experience, their upcoming album and their writing process!
Their debut album, Lovetap!, released on March 23.
Music Connection: For your first SXSW, how did you prepare?
Sean Scanlon: We had a talk right before we left, and then none of that worked. So we had another talk today and it’s starting to work out.
MC: Did you hear any horror stories about the festival?
Beau Kuther: Yeah, a couple, but nothing too bad.
Joseph Intile: They all turned out well.
Scanlon: Mostly that classic, “You have 15 minutes to change every band’s piece of gear, switch to another band and hopefully everything works perfectly.”
Mike Kamerman: Also a lot of running around yelling at each other…
Scanlon: Plugging stuff in, plugging stuff out, then you start singing.
Kuther: And then there’s nothing happening…
Intile: Vocals are kind of overrated anyway.
Kamerman: I’m hitting my drum, but no sound’s coming out of my snare!
Kuther: I think Sean’s singing, but I can’t hear it!
MC: What are you excited to see at SXSW?
Kuther: Mister Wives I would love to see, but I think we’re missing right now. I saw Beginners last night, which was awesome.
Kamerman: Catfish and the Bottlemen, I’d like to see.
Kuther: Incubus is playing!
Kamerman: Big Data.
MC: How did you decide to come out to SXSW?
Intile: Someone told us to.
Kamerman: Everyone else is doing it, and we wanted to follow along.
Scanlon: We’re followers—we don’t set [trends].
Kuther: Our record comes out next week—our first full-length album—so we wanted to be here and be present.
Scanlon: And give back to the Austin fans.
Kamerman: We wanted to be here. We’ve heard great things and it was perfect timing—like Beau said our album comes out next week. We wanted to spread the message that Lovetap! is coming out on 3/23!
MC: Tell us about your upcoming album and your writing process.
Scanlon: We worked with Captain Cuts, a production trio, and we worked with two out of the three guys. We love them. They have good chemistry, good vibes with us.
The way we write is just jam out on our instruments for hours until we find cool parts. Then we save those parts in our “rolodex,” and we pick the best of those then we start to form songs. I kind of just sing gibberish melodies. [sings] And then I have to put words into those melodies.
Kamerman: I just kind of clank around until [I think], “Hey! Those two chords or notes sound good together.”
Scanlon: A lot of the best stuff does come from those happy accidents where someone plays this note over somebody playing another note. “Whoa! What did you just do?” Rewind and then you try and recreate it.
Kamerman: Just be yourself. Sit around, play for a little bit and it will come to you.
Scanlon: Sometimes you hit a wall.
Kamerman: Once you find that one cool sound, just keep going and stick with it. And don’t give up, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it. Because you can. Unless you’re really bad, but usually you can do it.
MC: What are your favorite songs on the album?
Kuther: I really like “Submarine.”
Scanlon: That’s the last one. The kind of ambient, instrumental one.
Intile: I like the first one. It’s called “American Love.” It’s really fun to play live.
Scanlon: That one’s got some grit to it.
Kamerman: I like “Lovetap,” the title track, a lot. And the song, “Street Fight” still makes me feel good.
Scanlon: I like all those songs.
MC: What can fans expect from your upcoming headlining tour?
Intile: We’ll play some new songs that haven’t been played live before, so that will be fun
Scanlon: An extended bridge in “American Love.” We still have to have a board meeting about what we can do that’s dope on the road.
MC: Sum up your album in three words.
SP: A “shiny brick wall.” You don’t get it, but it’s cool. Maybe it sucks to somebody, maybe it’s awesome.
Kamerman: You are really selling this thing…New! Exciting!
Scanlon: A little quirky in some places. But you don’t want to say too in the box.
Kamerman: You can hear Beau’s hair come through the recording.
For more information about the band, visit smallpoolsmusic.com.