For this Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at our interview Smallpools before their sold-out show on the LOVETAP! Tour with Vinyl Theater and Grizfolk at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge. After the release of their debut single “Dreaming” in 2013, they’ve toured with BRU artists Walk the Moon,...
For this Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at our interview Smallpools before their sold-out show on the LOVETAP! Tour with Vinyl Theater and Grizfolk at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge. After the release of their debut single “Dreaming” in 2013, they’ve toured with BRU artists Walk the Moon, GROUPLOVE, and Neon Trees. Consisting of vocalist Sean Scanlon, guitarist Mike Kamerman, bassist Joe Intile, and drummer Beau Kuther, Smallpools have performed on Late Night with Seth Meyers and at major music festivals across the United States and Japan. They released their first full-length album, LOVETAP!, in March and are embarking on the American Love Tour this fall with a stop at Boston’s Royale on October 19. To get ready for their upcoming show, check out my conversation with Sean, Mike, and Beau, which includes a Zoolander reference, how their shows have developed, and the story behind their album’s closing song. BRIANA: So this is your first tour with LOVETAP! finally out. So how has it been so far? SEAN: Really good. I think everybody has their own different favorite song and we see a lot of people singing the new stuff, which is awesome. It’s been fun. MIKE: Yeah, we’ve been — done so many tours with only like four songs under our belt and just kind of testing out new material. So it’s nice to have an album’s worth of material to fill a set and just showing up to a show knowing that there’s a possibility that people in the crowd may know every song that we’re playing. That never happened before until this tour so it’s pretty cool. BEAU: Yeah, the vibe’s definitely been good, fun, energetic. All those words– MIKE: –Yeah the shows have been — I’d say they’re kind of more hectic and crazy in the crowd. You know, it’s been fun.
BRIANA: And in the past few months you’ve had some really great opportunities: you’ve played on Seth Meyers’ show and South by Southwest. So what’s been the most surreal moment so far?
SEAN: Surreal moment? Hm…
MIKE: There’s a few. I mean even yesterday we played this festival called Rock in Rio, which is the biggest stage I’d ever seen. Like bigger than like some rooms that we’ll play. I feel like–
BEAU: –Yeah that thing was massive.
MIKE: And we’re just playing and I’m trying to get into the set and there’s people zip-lining past us and stuff. And it’s outdoors in Las Vegas; all the hotels around and people are zip-lining from one hotel to the other. So just seeing a zip-liner [for] my view as I’m playing one of our songs is kind of funny. [Laughs].
BEAU: Yeah. And then you look back at pictures and you’re like, “We’re like this big on this stage that’s like this. We look like ants up there.” It’s funny.
SEAN: It’s a center for ants.
MIKE: “Ants Marching.” Yes.
BEAU: Dave Matthews Band reference.
MIKE: Yeah, Seth Meyers was surreal too. I mean it’s kind of cool doing stuff like that. Never really would have ever pictured ourselves doing that sort of thing a couple years ago.
BRIANA: And you’ve toured with some really cool acts in the past like Walk the Moon and GROUPLOVE. So would you say that they kind of influenced the sound you wanted for LOVETAP! or the atmosphere you want for shows this tour?
MIKE: I think [they] inspired us in different ways. You know, we’ll like go on tour with them and we were fans of the band beforehand and just seeing the way they operate live and their rendition of the songs that we hear and the albums live were inspiring and to some degree–
SEAN: –We’re just really lucky to be out with all these bands so quickly…[who] had their craft together so well. And it just made us have to be on point.
BEAU: That’s the answer.
Sean: We’ve just seen all these bands put on this sick performance for their fans so we gotta step it up.
MIKE: There’s definitely influences. I mean you don’t even realize it, but you’re hearing certain songs everyday and then you’re going home and writing. There’s nothing that I’m like, “Oh this came from there.” But I’m sure it has influenced us in some degree.
BRIANA: The last song on LOVETAP! is “Submarine” and it has a distinct sound, a bit different from the rest of the record. So I was wondering: what’s the story behind that song and was there a particular reason that you wanted it to be the closing song?
MIKE: I wrote that main guitar riff I think right before we started the band. I don’t know where it came from. But I just was kind of messing around with like these weird tunings that I found online and I just kind of stumbled upon that little riff. And we jammed on it pretty early.
SEAN: I think we combined that part with another–
MIKE: –Oh, with the other part, your part with this piano, ballad-y thing. And I think we wanted to put one more song on the album and we kind of realized that we didn’t record a ballad. But we had this song and it’s really vibe-y and it’d be a cool way to close out the whole thing.
BEAU: And just like a chill out after an in-your-face album. A nice just chill ending I guess.
SEAN: Yeah, take ’em home.
MIKE: Yeah, so and then the lyric “over now,” it’s like, “Oh, the album’s over now.”
MIKE: But I like how that song ends and if you do have the album on repeat, the way that song ends kind of goes really well into the how the album starts with “American Love.” It’s that fade out, fade in symphony. So the album kind of fades out with this ambient thing and then it kind of comes right back up into “American Love.” If you were to listen to it–
SEAN: –If you’re not paying attention you can get stuck in a time warp of the album for days. You just won’t know what happened.
MIKE: Yeah, we don’t recommend that.
While they may not recommend getting stuck in a time warp of their music, the infectious choruses and the consistent exuberance of LOVETAP! make Smallpools’ debut album worth hitting the repeat button. With inflatable whales being thrown into the audience, a random sing-along to Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” and Scanlon disappearing from the stage mid-performance only to reemerge in the middle of the crowd, the energy of Smallpools’ live shows matches the high standard set by their music. You can see it for yourself by checking out footage from their tour below or attending their October 19 show in Boston.