Smallpools are New Jersey natives who are Los Angeles dwelling indie rock sensations. Currently going on tour with Misterwives, the band are still trying to make themselves a household name, even with millions of Spotify hits and social media followers. Their newest EP The Science Of Letting Go via RCA Records is reminiscent of fellow west coast phenomenons FIDLAR and Grouplove. We caught up with singer Sean Scanlon to see how their pre-tour preparation fit into their future horizons on making Smallpools luminary.
What are you guys up to today?
I’m in LA, I’m in Recita. We just packed up an entire van full of gear and our drummer is going to drive into Nashville where our tour starts for a few days.
All the way from LA?!
He’s being a good bandmate, he’s driving out with his brother and his brother is going to be playing bass for us on tour. The guitar player and I are flying out in a couple days.
Are you excited for your tour with Misterwives?
We’ve been under the radar for a long time, but this will be the first time in a long time where we are going to go back out there and do our thing. Especially [excited]for the new people. Just playing in front of people who have never heard [of]you is crazy and it really works. [On] our first headlining tour, we would meet up with fans after the show and they would say, ‘we saw you with Neon Trees’ or ‘[we saw you with]Twenty One Pilots.’ This touring thing really works. I’m excited to get out in front of new ears again.
You have a lot of listeners on social media and Spotify, do you feel there are still a lot of people who don’t know you?
That’s what I’m not really sure. I’m hoping there are so they can be pleasantly surprised when they see what’s going on. In the beginning, no one knew anything. I am curious to know in a room of a 1,000 Misterwives fans who doesn’t know we exist yet, but the more the better.
You just released your new EP The Science of Letting Go, it’s great. Tell me a little bit about what the EP is about.
It was a year and a half of a lot of writing, mood swings and style changes in our camp. It just landed on these as the best [songs]in our minds to put out. There was a reoccurring theme of letting go in some way. Whether it’s letting go of inhibitions, moving on or letting go of you in your comfort zone. I don’t know how it really happened, but that’s what we’re working with.
What does this EP mean to you?
It’s just [something]I’m proud of that we get to share with the world. I don’t have any crazy emotional bond, not a super intense one, but [the emotion]comes from real places. It’s nice to see your work finished and delivered to the world.
Tell me about your single about “A Million Bucks”?
For me personally, it’s about when I first came to LA. A lot of people would tell me, ‘the weather is great, but you’re not going to find anything authentic or real because everyone is fake.’ There is all of this preconceived judgement about what LA is and I think my experience was very different. I found awesome people and something real to work towards with the band and music friends. You can find realness in places that you don’t expect to or [if]people tell you that you can’t. A lot of people say ‘you should get a real job’ or ‘you should do this’ or ‘do that.’ I want to be a musician.
I hate when people say ‘real job.’ That means sit at a desk all day and do something boring.
Some people like that kind of structure, I go in different ways. I wish I had a little more structure going on, but I wouldn’t give this up for the world.
Do you feel like the city has influenced your music at all? It’s a laid back town, but it’s full of creators and artists. It’s hard to not feel influenced by the city and all of the cool things that go on there.
It definitely does play a huge role [in Smallpools]. I’ve been here six years now and in the beginning it was naive and exciting like, ‘wow, sunshine, palm trees.’ Everyone is doing all of this stuff, there was a jubilant, high energy, erratic and fun [vibe]. It’s now become life somewhere else.
How has the band grown from the making of Lovetap to now?
I don’t know if it’s growth or not, it’s up for people to figure out. We definitely do things differently. We used to go into a rehearsal space and write, write, write. Nobody knew who the hell we were and we were a bunch of guys who had been in a bunch of bands and thought this could be our last chance. It was a very nothing-to-lose vibe going on. The writing process has changed. We’ve been able to write with other writers and other producers who are established. Sometimes the randomness and the energy of naiveness is better sometimes, but it all just happens [at once]. We’ve had a whole bunch of crap in the pipeline before [laughs].
So you take things song-by-song.
Every song that comes to the forefront of our brains, we let it marinate for a minute, figure it out and then if we move forward [with it], we treat it like it’s our own little world. We cater to it.
That’s a very present way of thinking. Who or what are your biggest inspirations and influences?
We’ve all grown up listening to stuff our parents listened to, I was definitely into Paul Simon and Billy Joel. [Bandmates] listened to Tears For Fears, The Police, Bruce Springsteen. Sometimes we’ll be like, ‘remember that New Radicals song we listened to when driving up here? Let’s write something crazy like that.’ We’re all over the map.
What has been the highlight of your journey with Smallpools?
Having done music for so long, maybe 10+ years now, I think when we first stumbled onto “Dreaming” a few years back, there was a lot of respect for the song and what we did. It was like, ‘wow, I’ve been kicking around all these instruments and trying different stuff.’ To figure out you might be supposed to be doing this [after]people have told you that they’ve reacted to your music in a positive way, it’s nice.