MusicMakers is an interview series from Adafruit that explores the intersection of the DIY music and maker communities. We’ll be talking to some of our favourite musicians about art, tech, DIY, gear tips and more. Along the way we hope you’ll find some great new music as well as some ideas and inspiration for your own projects.
Photo courtesy of Kaytlin Dargen
MusicMakers is back this week thanks to the mighty mighty Pool Kids! The Tallahassee four-piece released one of my favourite albums of last year, the ambitious, emotive and sonically loaded Music to Practice Safe Sex To. Each song an eclectic and invigorating blast of emotional melody that has proven to have an irrepressible power over the past year.
Pool Kids are another example of what we like to celebrate in the MusicMakers series, they’re an artist who has been able to grow and succeed through creativity, hard work and the opportunities created by the ever expanding web of distribution available to DIY artists today. Beginning life as a $1 digital album on direct-to-fan platform Bandcamp, Music to Practice Safe Sex To has subsequently been issued on CD, Cassette and Vinyl. They’ve been able to tour all over the country, their songs are streamed all over the world through Spotify. There’s also a lot of freedom, they recently released a rad hardcore single for charity under the name of POOL as an April Fool’s because you can do whatever you want. Why the heck not. Plus, there’s just something really beautiful about the band who one year ago sang about watching Audiotree being invited to perform for Audiotree just last week.
I’d been wanting to talk to this incredible band pretty much since last Summer so I’m really happy to be able to feature their work, words and story this week as Christine Goodwyne kindly answers our questions. Read on for amazing music and a little advice and inspiration…
Where are you based?
We say Tallahassee to make things simple, because that’s where we all met and started playing shows. But I currently live in Pensacola, FL since graduating, and Andy lives in Melbourne, FL. We’ve played with a few different second guitarists, the last being Alex who lived in Columbus, GA. So we are a bit geographically scattered right now, but we make it work!
What was your introduction to music?
My first favorite song as a child was Complicated by Avril Lavigne. I kept hearing it play out in public, and eventually I said to myself “This is my favorite song now. This is my first favorite song. I need to figure out who it’s by.” So I guess besides like nursery rhymes as a child, that was my first time really bobbin’ my head to something.
What have you been working on?
I’m always trying to write new music and new songs to put towards a release of some kind. Besides music, I’ve been working on trying to come up with more hobbies that aren’t centered around being productivity and accomplishing something. I’m thinking about revisiting an old childhood hobby of gardening, and maybe watching sports.
How have you seen technology change the creation and consumption of music in your lifetime?
Hm. Well I’m 24 now, and started playing when I was about 10. I taught myself by watching videos on youtube, and at that point never really thought of recording anything I worked on. Eventually I got some little apps similar to garageband that I would record things for fun on. That’s still pretty much what I do, except now I just go further than the demo stages and try to actually release completed products. If I were a few years older, maybe things would be a lot different but in my personal experience I don’t think technology has really changed the creation of music for me. In terms of consumption… I guess I did start out listening to things on an iPod nano and illegally downloading things off Limewire or youtube-mp3, and now I just listen to Spotify off my phone. So that’s a significant difference.
Describe your recording or production setup:
One of my dearest friends Lon Beshiri records everything of ours in his spare bedroom. We started out recording with him in a shed, and have since upgraded to recording in his spare bedroom.
Any tips for gear or customising your workspace?
Gear tips… hm. I learned everything I know about gear in about a year, just from googling questions that I was too embarrassed to ask other people. I recommend that. You can find the tools that will help you achieve the sound/tone you want by simply googling. It just sucks that all pedal tutorials are dudes doing blues riffs. Except for Nick Reindhart’s pedal tutorials. Those are sick and void of any blues riffs.
What’s one song everybody should hear?
Our bassist Nicolette suggests “Both Sides, Now” by Joni Mitchell.
Who do you think we should ask these questions next?
Woolbright from South Florida!!!
Pool Kids are currently touring in the United States – dates and details available here.
Check out more MusicMakers Q&A’s (feat. Art Brut, Jeffrey Lewis, Frankie Cosmos, Pom Pom Squad, Benjamin Shaw, Bedbug and more), TasteMakers (feat. Alcopop! Records, The Grey Estates and more), TrackTalk (feat. Trust Fund, Haiku Salut, Deerful and more) and the Adafruit Artist Spotlight for DIY tips and music discovery. Plus, you can follow Adafruit on Soundcloud and Hype Machine.