“We're three very different people,” David Stoltzenberg of Hamburg natives, Pool, explains how the band started out. “We have spent our whole youth together since we started our band at the age of thirteen. We're not only making music together, we also live together! We're all listening to very different music; have other esteems - but still the time has made us understand each other. Our commonalities have maybe brought us together but it's the differences that keep us together.”
They’re a threesome with three instruments and appear as some sort of retro idea of a band in the way that they line-up. They coax an abundantly rich reaction from a simple formula and the main two aspects of their sound: the beat and the groove. The truly remarkable aspect is that Pool are a band who make indie music yet inspire the mention of such vocabulary not usually synonymous with guitar bands. Signed to House label 2DIY4, sister label of DIYnamic, Pool are the only so called ‘band’ on the label which predominantly hosts DJs: “For both us and the label, it's a very interesting crossover relationship. It's an experimental idea of doing an indie/nu-disco release on a classic house label. We all think that there are some fundamental relations between our music and the other artists of 2DIY4/DIYnamic.”
It’s very rare to find indie music with undertones that touch upon principles from as varied a spectrum as Motown to house music. But seeing as Detroit hosted the expansion of both those genres, it’s perhaps not all that abstract in context. Pool are distinguished from their indie peers for these reasons. Their music is concerned with personal experience without ever becoming trivial. When asked how they felt their hometown had affected their sound they said, “Of course Hamburg has influenced our music a lot; our whole social surroundings have definitely always helped our music in its development.” This wholeheartedly resonates with the impression that they express lyrically, the distinguishing feature being that they remain infinitely relatable and intriguing in equal measure. Having the ability to communicate common themes such as naïve romance and heartbreak, the principles which Motown itself was built upon, but still remaining interesting.
As a German band, the English language seems to be second nature: “We've always been listening to music with English vocals, so for us it's like English was our first language for music. Singing German lyrics would seem much more odd to us as it often sounds way more serious than English.” Essentially by not taking themselves or their music too seriously (in the philosophical sense) they manage to create something far more credible. There don’t appear to be any agendas which they’re struggling to manage and even when asked about their ambitions, their response is humble: “We don't like making plans about this too much. We have always dreamed of making our music in a professional manner. And right now, it's going step by step and maybe one day we'll suddenly realise that we're professionals.” If you’re getting the impression that they’re both easy-going and refreshing in their perspective then that has an accurate relation to their music as well which complies with both ideas.
The entire experience for them seems to be one of both exploration and self-discovery. Their relationship with their own music is something which is a fluid idea in itself. “Our sound should be identical on stage and on the record. But for sure playing live brings a lot more dynamic and power into music. It's important to slightly separate both because the intentions are different. It's nice to discover your own songs again while playing them live.”
When asked about the challenges of being a German band in a market which is dominated by the US/UK ‘bubble’ they were surprisingly considerate. “Of course the main focus in indie and pop music is set on the UK and US, and the media coverage is way bigger in these areas. This can also be an advantage for a band from another place in the world because for many people it might also be interesting if their favourite band isn't once again coming from the UK or US. All in all we haven’t really taken notice of this disadvantage as yet.” And when considering the German music scene, a place where, once again, they seem to be at a clear disadvantage, they retain admirable optimism: “The international focus on the German music scene is basically directed to dance and house music. In Germany there is so much more techno and electronic music than interesting indie or pop music in general. But whenever there is something really good - it finds its way.”
It would be unfair to heap endless praise on a band so young in its recording life but Pool are certainly exciting. They combine enough of what we already know and what we find fascinating. Sometimes a certain group of people can preternaturally express what others cannot. They are by no means creating a new genre or musical concept. What they are doing is very familiar, and in a way that’s as remarkable as the other. They display their influences as clearly as the tattoos that adorn their skin. There is nothing pretentious or contrived. And in 2DIY4 they have found a home which is open to their natural impulses. “The more we think about music, the more we come to the point that we don’t want to know it too much. It’s perfect because there’s always something different that you can take from any music,” their approach almost seems naïve but I think it’s more of a desire to follow instinct. Without that, the music which they define as “indie or nu-disco” would be another interpretation of the former and the fact that it isn’t should be a celebration of both the music that is made and the artists that make it.13 October, 2012 - 09:56 — Matt Bevington