On the cover of Smallpools’ self-titled EP is a boy striking a serious pose for the camera. His hands are resting atop his head and his lips are pursed as he gazes hypnotically at the camera. The image is confident, bizarre and really funny.
“The cover is our producer, Ryan McMahon. He just brought in that picture randomly one day… What seventh grader has that kind of swag,” lead singer Sean Scanlon said prior to their show at the Echo in Los Angeles on September 5th.
It's the first headlining show Smallpools has played in the city in which they were conceived. A modestly impressive step for a group that barely existed a year ago. But now they are signed to a major label (RCA) and busying themselves with producing new material.
Their set has everything you’d expect from newcomers in the pop world: a limited repertoire, a bouncy enthusiastic stage presence, and just enough humility to win over any audience. But Smallpools also have something else. It begins with a T. No, not the T that rhymes with P, which stands for Pool. Talent. Real talent, honed skill and an earnest desire to entertain. Speaking of P, they have one of those too. Potential. Lots of it.
Like the black-and-white EP image, the quartet offers a heaping helping of adolescent fun and naive confidence. Their songs, while catchy and infectious, are also meditations on pure joy, total humiliation, the subconscious and settling into adulthood.
“It’s definitely crazy how fast people are latching onto it… I’ve had other projects in the past," said Scanlon. "You usually get to develop your sound and write more songs. And now there is this pressure to put out the album real quick.”
Having only released a single EP, which along with McMahon was co-produced by Ben Berger, the group is still enjoying the fledgling stages of pop stardom. Their first single “Dreaming” has garnered them all the requisite views and mass appeal on the road. Because the group has gained so much traction, Smallpools is pulling double duty, touring and working to finish their full-length album.
“When you build a song from zero, it’s like, you kind of lose perspective on what it is after hearing it over and over,” said Scanlon. “When the rest of the world reacts, that’s the good part.”
During their set, Sean spoke of his "dark days" upon first arriving in LA when he and Mike Kamerman (guitarist) spent all their time drinking whiskey and singing one particular karaoke song, before launching into an impressive cover of New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give.” Well Smallpools, those dark days are firmly behind you and as the song boldly states: You’ve got the music in you.