Nashville, Tennessee — Naturally, Nashville is known for its country music scene, but due to the popularity of the city with all the young people who come for college or to visit, there is a strong alternative rock culture growing here as well. The latest band to move to Nashville is the emerging Indie band, Smallpools. Recently, I sat down with lead singer/keyboards, Sean Scanlon, guitarist, Michael Kamerman and drummer, Beau Kuther.
Mike recounted, “We started out in LA. Sean and I are from the East Coast. We knew when we started the band, we could go to New York City or LA where there’s not much of a comfort zone. The fast-paced lifestyle [of LA] is very conducive to the beginnings of the band and the excitement of starting something fresh. Sean continued, “It definitely shaped our sound, being in Los Angeles, the sunshine, the beach, that whole lifestyle, carefreeness.”
They guys listened to a lot of different stuff growing up. Mike, a New Jersey native, naturally listened to Bruce Springsteen. They also touted, Elton John, Billy Joel, Tears for Fears, The Police, and Fleetwood Mac, (basically the music of their parents). “I even got into Deena Carter’s “Strawberry Wine,” Mike gushed. Sean recalled, “I remember listening to ‘Africa’ on the Album and now Weezer has redone it and ‘Africa’ is making a resurgence. We grew up with 90s grunge- Smashing Pumpkins, Sound Garden.” Mike agreed, New Radicals was very influential when we started the band and moved to LA -we listen to their album on repeat.”
In 2013, Smallpools erupted onto the scene with their head-turning opening statement, “Dreaming” (now RIAA Certified Gold). The song surged to the top of the Hype Machine chart; quickly earning the band support from alternative radio stations across the country, late-night television programs and a home on the road as the opening act for Twenty One Pilots, Walk the Moon, Grouplove and Two Door Cinema Club on their national tours. Smallpools then released their acclaimed, debut album Lovetap! and spent the majority of the next year selling out venues nationwide in support of its release.
But how did this indie band from LA ended up in Nashville? It turns out while on tour, Mike met a girl from Nashville (who is now his fiancé’) and this girl had a friend who caught Sean’s attention. Mike explained, “After our lease ran out, for me personally, I couldn’t picture the next destination in LA, like where am I going to go? Where is a good creative headspace for me? What a better place to move to than to Music City.” Sean continued, “We pulled a lot of energy out of LA. There was a naïve recklessness to us at the time and it spawned a lot of cool creativity and character building and as fun as it is to think about that and I don’t think we would put ourselves into that situation again.”
Beau then playfully interjected, “But if you wanted, you go could go five miles down the road to Broadway [in Nashville] and it’s the most insane experience ever.”
The guys are happy to be in Nashville and have spent some time in the writing community. Mike stated, “We’ve taken the time to write ourselves in a new environment. With a house and studio in the back and dog with a front yard.” (They didn’t have any of that in LA.) “But there is a whole community of songwriters and artists. Even when I come here, (Retrograde Coffeehouse) I run into somebody from Nashville or LA or wherever. Nashville is definitely on the radar.” Beau states, “People go to Nashville, LA or New York if they are going to do music. Everyone stops by Nashville for a weekend or even longer.” Sean articulated, “People always want to collaborate and work together [in Nashville].”
Smallpools will be releasing their forthcoming EP – So Social – out December 7th. Says front man, Sean Scanlon, “‘Social’ is your fear of missing out versus my already having been there. Just bow out and save yourself.” Michael Kamerman continues, “Social was written at a time when we were deep within one of our musical self-discovery phases and ironically, we weren’t really feeling all that ‘social’…. To me, the song is really an anthem for anyone who is choosing to stay in on any given night and work on a skill, hone in a craft, study, etc.”
Since they were already living in Nashville, Beau had the idea to have a big EP release show here (at the Basement). Mike informed, “We haven’t released much music since we moved here (about a year ago) But we thought, we are in Nashville, our new chapter and we want to celebrate it with whoever wants to be there with us. This is the start of a new era for us.”
The band recently released their official video “Stumblin’ Home.” The video was directed by Chris Grieder, who worked with Smallpools on their videos for their RIAA Gold single “Dreaming” and “Run With The Bulls,” as well as videos for Wolf Alice, Nothing But Thieves and more. Watch the “Stumblin’ Home” official video here.
“Stumblin’ Home” and “Social” follow the band’s 2017 release, The Science of Letting Go, featuring their singles “Million Bucks” and “Passenger Side“, which have a combined 30 Million streams on Spotify.
Though it is unexpected that they are in Nashville, Mike confessed, “We just wanted a new start. We have been to Nashville many times with production and rehearsals. The buses are here. It easy to start a tour out Nashville.”
Smallpools is kicking off their 2019 tour on December 2nd at the Basement in Nashville. (EP Release Show). The rest of their tour will be in 2019 at the following locations:
– March 8th – Atlanta, GA at Vinyl ATL
– March 9th – Durham, NC at Motorco Music Hall
– March 11th – Boston, MA at Brighton Music Hall
– March 12th – Philadelphia, PA at Union Transfer
– March 13th – Washington, DC at The 9:30 Club
– March 14th – New York, NY at Bowery Ballroom
– – –