“There are so many bad things happening in the world right now,
so it’s fun to escape for a little bit.”

Our favorite album of the summer is finally here! After a long wait, Los Angeles-based “daytime disco” duo Poolside, aka Filip Nikolic and Jeffrey Paradise, hit us with a surprise release of their sophomore album “Heat” just in time for these carefree summer days. The new 13-track album, which follows 2012’s stunning debut LP “Pacific Standard Time”, was inspired by all of their travels. It includes previously released singles “And The Sea” and “Everything Goes”, as well as a glorious cover of David Byrne and Brian Eno’s “Strange Overtones”. The album “Heat” is loaded with the kind of wonderfully daytime disco vibes and sun-soaked grooves we’ve come to expect from Poolside. There’s more upbeat tempos and lush electronic vibes on this one. “When you listen to the new album, it’s kind of like reflecting on a summer in your past, or a trip that you’ve been on, or a romance that ended,” they say. We caught up with the much loved duo to talk about their new album “Heat”, inspirations, pool parties and more. Summer can start now.

It’s been five years since your debut album “Pacific Standard Time”, so why has it taken so long to come up with a new one?

The short version of the story is that we stumbled into many happy accidents. Poolside started because we didn’t hang out enough as friends, so we decided that we should start a fun music project as an excuse to hang out. Within 24 hours after posting our first song “Do You Believe” on SoundCloud we had several label offers. How that song even got out there is a happy accident itself, because we didn’t want to buy a SoundCloud pro account to make the song private, so we just made it public and told some friends.

That led to more and more occurrences that felt like “Well, this is the last time we’re going to have the opportunity to: DJ a pool party, tour in Australia, perform at a festival, play a live show, etc etc etc”, so we just kept taking every opportunity that came our way assuming that life would go back to normal soon. Obviously if you’re reading this you know that didn’t exactly happen and things kept progressing. At first we were only going to DJ at daytime pool parties, and then we got asked to DJ at a festival, and there were a couple of thousand people singing along to “Do You Believe” and it was nuts. We pressed our first record because James Murphy emailed us and asked if we had plans to put our “Harvest Moon” single on vinyl, and we didn’t, so we did a rush order for the 12”. We started playing live because the guys in the Rapture texted us and said “We need an opener for our tour and you need to play live” and so we did.

We started working on the second album, while also doing remixes and mixtapes on breaks between rehearsing and then touring as a live band, plus we had lots of DJ gigs, and after a few years of that schedule, we really needed a break to get back in touch with why we started this group in the first place. We felt this self-imposed pressure to follow up with something that met our expectations musically, but one of the really special elements of our first album “Pacific Standard Time” is that we had no expectations, we were very carefree, and we think that came out in the music. So with the second album, it was kind of a mind-fuck on how to carefully make a carefree record. Of course that approach didn’t work, so we took almost a year off from Poolside entirely. We didn’t do any emails, shows, phone calls, DJ gigs, anything at all, but when we regrouped and returned to the music, we had a fresh perspective. We figured out what we loved that we had already started, and we super stoked on the results.

Tell us about this new album sounds compared to “Pacific Standard Time”?

The inspiration for the first album was really just us going to pool parties and BBQs in LA in 2010 and hearing music that really didn’t seem to fit our vibe. It was “peak dubstep” even in the most chill and serene settings; you couldn’t escape the sounds of robots fighting. So we set out to make music we would want to hear in daytime and relaxed environments. We even tested out each song while hanging out in our friend’s pool that was next to Filip’s old studio.

For this new album we kept the same core ideas and expanded the pallet we worked with – the instruments, percussions, tempos, sounds, etc – but we definitely turned up the heat a bit more on some songs with more upbeat tempos, spread out into some more lush electronic vibes, and we didn’t shy away from our more guitar based influences that were mostly hiding on the first album. All in all, it’s building on the same ideas but expressed in a more expansive way. We’ve grown musically over the last five years and we think our fans have too!

Is there any theme or inspiration behind your new album? What’s the story behind the new album’s title?

We didn’t set out to write within a specific theme, but one thing we’d discussed was Fata Morgana, that kind of sensation of what’s real and what’s not, what’s permanent and what’s temporary. When you listen to the new album, it’s kind of like reflecting on a summer in your past, or a trip that you’ve been on, or a romance that ended. The record was inspired by all of our travels, when you wake up on vacation or at the start of a relationship, and you’ve got that excitement, the kind of dreamy bliss of infatuation. Things can be hot, they can be passionate, they can be confusing, sometimes all at the same time. There can be a turmoil in longing for what you once had, and idealization can lead to trouble. When you can come to peace with yourself, you’ll think fondly of life, and appreciate the good with the bad.

Why did you decide to release the album without making an announcement or telling anyone before it came out?

We feel like a lot of times in the music world and just in life in general things are built up too much. In the old days, the record label would make you wait six months to put out an album after you finished it, so they could get everything set up to sell the record. One of the happy accidents with the first album was that a lot of labels were interested, and we were super close to signing with one of them, but then we just decided to release it ourselves. It was the best decision we ever made. We have total freedom, and we think it makes for a direct relationship with our fans, who are all super supportive and nice and positive.

With this new album, we were trying to find artwork for it that we felt really captured what we wanted to do musically. We couldn’t decide on artwork, but there’s a photographer we both like a lot named Neil Krug, and we asked him to do something and he made this image for us from a photo he took and we thought it perfectly represented the album. We didn’t really want to announce the record before we had the right image for it, and we were waiting, and then last Friday we finally got the image from Neil. We sent everything to our distributor and begged them “Is there any possible way you can get this online on Tuesday?!” Usually you need a couple of weeks, but we wanted to release it on June 20th, as it’s the Summer Solstice. It’s awesome we made it.

What kind of impact has living in Los Angeles had on your music?

For PST it was absolutely central to the sound and vibe of the album, as discussed above, we set out to make music that we would want to hear at LA pool parties (rather than the dubstep that was so pervasive at the time). For this album most of our time writing we were on the road and we were lucky enough to travel to many beautiful and vibrant places: Mexico, Australia, all over Europe, Indonesia, South America, so at our core we are an LA band making music in Highland Park, but the influences are more global. That said, the support and love we give and receive for/from LA is massive, we couldn’t be more grateful to the other bands, DJs, artists, radio, friends, and those who support us in LA, it’s the best city in the world to be a musician.

What else have you got in store for the rest of 2017?

Lots of gigs: we have offers to DJ in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and South America, along with a lot of fun festivals and club gigs in the States where we’ll be playing a lot of our new music in our sets.

Tell us some of the big tunes you are spinning at the moment?

We don’t spin big tunes honestly. We’ll leave that up to the Tiestos of the world.

What’s your favorite daytime pool party so far?

Quantity is quality when it comes to pool parties. Again it was another happy accident, that by creating music that happens to go well with beautiful settings, we’ve been able to play at some truly majestic settings all over the world, from Bondi Beach to crazy mansions in Guadalajara, from the Hamptons to a crazy street party in Chicago.

What is the greatest pleasure for you in playing your music?

What we love about DJing is that it’s a chance to create an environment for yourself and the crowd. When it works right everyone, including us, forgets about everything and not just their troubles, and we can all just get lost in the moment and experience a unique kind of joy that can be hard to come by. We love music and feel really lucky that we get to play music that we love to an audience that gives us plenty of room to maneuver. Our fans are truly great and open-minded, they don’t come out to hear top 40, or the big song of the moment, or pop-house music with some tropical flutes or drums or whatever. We’ll play anything from Bruce Springsteen to obscure Italo disco, but we really settle in on a vibe that doesn’t really pull you in, you have to want to dance to the music we DJ, there’s no sugar, no build up, no pay offs, no drops, just music that we feel has the right emotion and feeling and beat to make the kind of party we would want to be at. We feel it makes for an environment that can be really special and really magical. There are so many bad things happening in the world right now, so it’s fun to escape for a little bit.

Do you have a pool?

No, but the original studio where we did all of “Pacific Standard Time” and started a lot of “Heat” was in a converted pool house that was right next to a pool (literally poolside), so we tested all of our songs while swimming and chilling out by the pool.

Poolside’s new album “Heat” is out now via their own Day & Night label.


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