Poolside on EDM, the Los Angeles Scene, Pacific Standard Time, and Fine Wine
Photo by Dustin A. Beatty
Perhaps not since the Beach Boys has a musical act been as evocative of Southern California as Los Angeles production duo Poolside.
The title of the pair's 2012 debut album -- Pacific Standard Time -- gives it away. And the sun-kissed laid-back disco grooves are pure Californian leisure -- a perfect soundtrack for lazing around on a pool float in a reefer haze and sipping a margarita.
Of course, Poolside's live sound must be a far less lethargic beast, what with the benefit of a new band lineup bringing the inherent funk and four-on-the-floor jack of the studio recordings to the fore.
Find out this Saturday when Poolside stops by Eve for Poplife, Nightdrive, and Heard's Mission to Mars Halloween bash, alongside Bonde Do Role and Com Truise.
We here at Crossfade spoke with frontman and vocalist Filip Nikolic about the L.A. scene, his new slab of Cali-infused tracks, and making music under the influence of a complex cabernet.
Crossfade: Who is Poolside? How did the partnership first come about? And what were you each working on musically before you paired up?
Filip Nikolic: Poolside is Filip Nikolic and Jeffrey Fare, making music influenced by mescal and summer. We met before I even lived in America, which is over nine years ago. I was touring with Danish band Junior Senior and Jeff was hosting the afterparty at now-legendary Frisco Disco at the Arrow Bar in San Francisco. That night, we bonded, and since then, we have been friends and doing random little music projects through the years.
It wasn't till about two years ago that Poolside was formed, after a two-day studio/pool/wine session. Before Poolside, I was doing a lot of studio work, and made records with my other band Ima Robot, which kinda slowed down cause everybody got so busy with other stuff. So it was good timing that Poolside all of a sudden started touring a lot. Since I've known Jeff, he's been doing tons of DJing and throwing big parties. Jeff also used to be in the band Paradise Boys, and I actually played bass for them on a West Coast tour they did years ago.
What is California to you? How has the scene and way of life there shaped you as artists?
California is definitely a huge inspiration and a factor that heavily shaped our sound. Moving from Denmark to Los Angeles was pretty unreal for me. The laid-back lifestyle and the endless summer was and still is amazing to me.
Do you see yourselves as a part of the whole L.A. Beat scene? Do you feel like part of that musical ecosystem, bouncing ideas and inspiration around with other artists there?
The music scene that we are a part of in Los Angeles basically consist of friends that just happen to make music too. And for some reason, we all tend to make similar kinds of music. The last few years, we have all been getting more mellow in our sounds as a counter-reaction to a lot of the heavier dance music. Me and Jeff just decided to take the mellow sound even further. We took it out of the night club and placed it at one of our favorite L.A. settings, which is the pool party.
We are definitely part of the scene and everybody is constantly helping each other out, which is supernice. Nobody really cares about competition, which makes the whole thing superrelaxed. I personally love it like this -- I'm too old for some career race, and don't really care about who's more successful, etc.
What can you tell us about creative process on the album? How did you approach the songwriting and collaboration in the studio?
It was quite simple. We would get some wine and sit around listening to old records. After a while, one of us would get an idea and we would just start building the song with no return. Most of the songs were made in one session like that. We don't like going back and working on a song, since you never have the same drive the next day. We didn't really do a lot of collaborations on the album. It was mostly just me and Jeff 95 percent of the time. But we did re-record a song I made with my brother-in-law about five or six years ago, and we had Michael Gold play piano on two of the songs.
What can fans expect from you next on the production front? Do you plan to embrace your pop past and make new material even more accessible? Or continue with a more underground disco-house sound?
We are on tour at the moment, but are gonna try to finish a mixtape while on the road. We have a couple of little surprises that we are going to add to this mixtape, so it should be able to keep the fans happy till we get back home. We also talked with Bonde Do Role about making a collaborative tour EP, since we are sharing a bus. But we will see about that, since recording on the road can be really hard to focus on.
After that, the plan is to make a new album in February, so we can have it out early in the summer 2013. We don't really have any plans regarding the sound of the next album. We just want to dive into it and see what happens, so it's hard to say if it's gonna be more or less pop. As long as it feels good and we are having fun making it.
So what do you have in store for Miami at Eve on Saturday? What is your live M.O.? And how do the studio recordings translate live?
We've never played with the live band in Miami, so we are really excited about the show. We might even throw in a little surprise with Bonde Do Role, but that's all I can reveal about that. We are pretty excited about playing live in general, we have a four-piece band now, and it's fun to see the music evolve from playing it again and again. We actually wanna add more members to the band, but we are trying to be careful about not making it too expensive to tour. But that's a whole other story.
Right now, the live band is me on vocals and bass, Jeff on keyboards, Michael Gold on keyboards and backing vocals, and Jason Pipkin on drums. We are really happy with this lineup and the response has been amazing so far.
Mission to Mars. With Com Truise, Poolside, and Bonde Do Role. Presented by Poplife and Nightdrive. Saturday, October 27. EVE, 1306 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $15 plus fees via fla.vor.us. Ages 18 and up. Call 305-995-5050 or visit miamieve.com.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.