Slow Jams and Summer Days: A Q&A With Poolside

Dancing in the daylight doesn’t seem so strange when you hear Poolside’s sun-drenched jams. The Los Angeles duo, aka Filip Nikolic and Jeffrey Paradise, refer to themselves as “daytime disco.” It’s a fitting name for a sound that’s versatile and vividly textured, ready for either parties or lying out on a lounge chair with a drink in hand.

After building up buzz last year from their cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” Poolside released the sprawling debut album Pacific Standard Time this summer. Across 16 tracks, they establish a sound that’s simultaneously intimate and spacious. Squiggling basslines, synths that shimmer like reflections on chlorinated water, and Nikolic’s laid-back vocals create an idyllic vision of California. Songs like “Slow Down” and “Give It A Rest” are warm and immersive, perfect for the last days of summer.

I caught up with Poolside via email to talk PST, both the album and the time zone.

Your album’s called Pacific Standard Time. What are your favorite things about the West Coast?

The weather is great, there is tons of beautiful nature and the people are very laid-back and friendly. The vast amount of space in L.A. makes it feel very liberating.

Has California had a particular sense of mythology to you that you want to embody?
We definitely implement the classic fantasy about southern California being this place of endless summer, beaches and palm trees. We kinda try to ignore the fact that people actually have normal day jobs and just focus on the dreamy side of it.

What do you hope people are doing while listening to your music?
When making the album, we wanted to create the soundtrack for a perfect sunny weekend, since that was what inspired a lot of our songs. We want to let the music be a part of the environment they are in. After the album came out we got a lot of feedback from people who live in places with super cold winters etc. and we were very pleased to hear that the album is good for triggering fantasies about being in exotic warm places when you are actually freezing in your little apartment somewhere else. So I guess it has a dual function like that?

You call yourselves “daytime disco.” How did you arrive at flipping a genre that’s typically associated with going out at night?
We have both always been very into disco and both of us have been heavily involved with the DJ and night club world and we still love that whole scene. But there is a lot of disco music that rarely gets played at night clubs simply because it’s so slow and relaxed that a lot of DJs are scared to clear the dance floor. We liked the idea of pool parties being the perfect scenario for playing some of this more laid back stuff, and since our own music is created in this environment we decided to put it all together and call it Daytime Disco.

What’s the appeal of making music that’s romantic/sexy but meant to be heard when the sun is out?
When we make the songs it all just happens organically and ends up being what it is. Romances need to be sparked in your mind before embracing the evening, right? The daytime is definitely our playground, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t listen to it in the evening or any other time.

You’ve previously talked about not being too ambitious with this album. Do you think that’s part of what makes it good, in terms of being able to feel accomplished in a natural way?
When we started Poolside, we definitely didn’t think of it as a project that had to pay our bills etc. That lack of pressure created a situation where we only catered for each other and the moment when we were making it. For us it definitely makes the end result better cause we didn’t try to overproduce anything but rather lay down the instruments as the parts came out. We chose to keep all these little things most producers edit out in the songs cause they become little details and give the album an overall sense of life.

Your album’s been on pretty heavy rotation for me. What are your end-of-summer jams?
Lately we have been obsessed with a Bill Withers song called "You Got The Stuff," but otherwise anything goes. Big Star’s “September Gurls” is another perfect end of summer song.  

What are some of your tour essentials?
Jeff: My portable French press for great hotel room coffee and plenty of vitamins / supplements to stay healthy on tour.  
Filip: My skateboard, a good book, and tons of music.

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