Nashville, TN (April 7, 2021)—Like many acts, indie pop band Smallpools was forced to cancel its touring plans when COVID-19 forced the country into lockdown. Aiming to turn lemons into lemonade, the three band members—guitarist Mike Kamerman, drummer Beau Kuther and singer Sean Scanlan—have instead been working on their next album.
Smallpools have notched up hundreds of thousands of streams over the years and are perhaps best known for the gold-certified single “Dreaming,” which was widely heard through EA’s FIFA 14 videogame and was reportedly the first song ever featured on Snapchat. While their debut album, 2015’s Lovetap! was a collaboration with L.A. production group Captain Cuts and released on RCA Records, they’re self-producing the upcoming full-length.
“We got together for about three and a half weeks in December in an Airbnb in Nashville just to put the finishing touches on a few things and try to write a few more songs,” says Kamerman, speaking from Florida. In recent times, he’s picked up some of the tools and techniques of production and takes the lead when the band records.
“It’s intimidating to take on the production and immerse yourself, but it’s a very collaborative experience; I’m just pressing the buttons for the most part,” he says.
“Sean and I have dabbled in everything and understand it all,” says Kuther, noting that they both do a lot of work in Ableton for live track playback. “But Mike took the reins, dug deep into stuff and figured it out.”
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“Most of the record was done on a Telefunken Copperhead CU-29 microphone,” Kamerman continues. “It sounds really nice on Sean’s voice. We usually record that through the LA-2A plug-in and process it later.” Kamerman, who lives in L.A., has multiple pairs of Focal and Kali Audio monitors for when he works at home, in Nashville and elsewhere.
While the band’s most recent single, “Simulation,” was released in December, Smallpools also collaborated with American Authors and MORGXN last year, and previously co-wrote a track for The Chainsmokers’ No. 1 album, Memories…Do Not Open. The threesome also recently produced the theme song for Masters of Mutanite, a videogame developed by their manager’s brother, who sent them a voice recording of the melody he wanted.
“He was a natural finding the melodies and changes,” says Scanlan, noting that it was intended to mimic Saturday morning cartoons of the ’90s. “The chords that we put to it were not what I would come up with on my own; he did something unique.”
The band’s latest release is another collaboration, a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere,” from the Tango in the Night album, that features vocals by Emily Vaughan. “After the Airbnb, I stayed at Sean’s and we recorded vocals. I got to Florida and we connected with Emily and recorded her vocals,” says Kamerman.
The turnaround on the song was less than a month, he says, which is not unusual these days. “You wouldn’t have been able to do that even a couple of years ago.”
The band signed with music solutions company ONErpm late last year, stating at the time, “With the ever-changing landscape of the way music is shared and consumed, we’re thrilled to be partnering with such an innovative company to release our long overdue second full length album.” ONErpm is part traditional record label, part digital distribution company and hopes to be “a redefining force in the new music economy,” according to its website.
“Before, when you signed to a label, you were signing away the licensing,” says Kamerman. “But now it’s a shared revenue steam. Back when we were on a major, we’d write a song and hope the label liked it, and if they liked it that they’d want to release it. Now, we can write a song and release it next week. I feel like, with Spotify and Apple Music, and with so much music coming out and people consuming so much music so quickly, you want to be able to move at that pace.”
Smallpools • www.smallpoolsmusic.com