There was something in the air. It was the stark, collective sentiment of Smallpools’ singer Sean Scanlon and guitarist Mike Kamerman as they began piecing together “Life of the Party” in Nashville in 2020 just after the tornado had hit the city and prior to the pandemic literally shutting down the world.
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Foreshadowing the aftermath of the year ahead, the calm after the storm, “Life of the Party,” off the band’s upcoming second album, Life in Simulation (out Oct. 15), offers a brush of levity in its sun-drenched pop but doesn’t hide from the reality of coping with heavier days in Please don’t think too hard / My head hurts / Crazy how the world turns.
The second single from the Nashville-Los Angeles rockers since their 2015 debut Lovetap! and follow-up to “Science Fiction“—a spacier tale of escapism and new beginnings—”Life of the Party” absorbs the eerie uncertainty prior to the onset of the pandemic, its video following a animated orange that takes on a life of its own and begins terrorizing the band, tying into the darker concept of the song.
“Mike started building a track around this cool alternative vibe, something we don’t totally touch into that often,” says Scanlon. “I think a lot of times we kind of just like to go full-on like in your face with the song and we don’t have a lot of chill, groovy things. Throughout the day, the melodies and the words just just came.”
For Smallpools, Lovetap! was a different time for the trio, also featuring drummer Beau Kuther, when they just moved to Los Angeles, were sharing a one-bedroom apartment, and rehearsing hours on end.
“It was classic kind of tale of moving out there, struggling having a job that you hate, and just trying to ‘make it’ music,” shares Scanlon. “A lot of that struggle was definitely put in those songs. I think back in the day, there was a very exuberance bright but also dark underneath feel, kind of like LA can feel. These days, it’s a little more of a smaller footprint. We’re not getting in a big room and making a lot of noise.”
Set to go on tour November 2021, these days Smallpools are content throwing melodies around and seeing what sticks. “Things keep evolving and changing, and sometimes, it’s tough to know what you’re supposed to do or what makes the most sense. But I guess we just have to keep staying true to ourselves.”