Q&A: Poolside On Ulf Pilgaard, Diplo’s Memory And The Perfect Poolside Menu


Growing up, my grandfather had an above-ground pool annotated by the sign “Welcome to our Ool. Notice there is no ‘P’ in it. Please keep it that way.” Grandpa loved that pool and I remember lots of good times in it, none of which involved me relieving myself (for fear of triggering the mythical dye pack). The one thing I don’t remember much of was music. My grandpa was probably a bit too old and salty to have really been interested in the original disco boom, but I know that if he were here right now he would definitely love LA duo Poolside. Why? Because he’s dead and he’d be so pumped to be alive again that he’d like anything that was put in front of him. The living can be more discerning, and even among them Poolside’s instantly appealing grooves and it’s-always-summertime-here vibe—a fantastic antidote to the current hetero-house boom of Brostep, Trap Music and Dickwave—have caught on posthaste. (I mean, homeboy sings in a falsetto. How “hard” can the music get??) After a banner year during which Filip Nikolic and Jeffrey Paradise self-released an album, Pacific Standard Time, they’re taking their live act on the road. Filip Nikolic put his boat drink down long enough to answer some questions for us.

What is the Danish equivalent of the concept of Poolside?

Musically it is definitely the band Laid Back. I mean hey, just their name has the same vibe. Their whole thing is all about relaxing and being friendly and nice.

You’ve been in a number of other projects. What is it about this one that made people’s react so well and so fast?

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we didn’t want to force people to be into it. We just made the music for ourselves as an excuse to hang out and I think that makes the result more honest than other projects I have been involved with. When you make music for so many years, it gets to a point where you are not scared of what other people think and I think that fact benefits this project a lot.

How did you enjoy working with Diplo on the new Bonde do Role album?

Well, we worked hard for a couple of months and he probably still doesn’t remember my name.

You’re based in Los Angeles. What other places in the world have Poolside weather that you could see yourselves working? Do you have any favorite pools abroad?

Anywhere tropical has worked good so far, but a kiddie pool in a backyard in Denmark can be equally good.

Was it difficult to translate the songs to a full band for the live show?

The biggest challenge was to make it true to the album with a limited amount of musicians. Touring is expensive in the beginning and we just have to be cost effective to make it work. If we keep growing I wouldn’t mind adding more people, that would be the dream scenario.

You’ve said that the “Harvest Moon” cover may have saved your career before it even started. What other songs do you see possibly getting the Poolside treatment?

We haven’t really talked much about that, but we are definitely into the idea of doing covers again. One rule is that it has to be different enough from the original, so that it’s not just a tribute, it should be it’s own thing.

Who would you like to see take a shot at covering one of your tracks?

I have no idea., maybe??

Have you had the ‘pleasure’ of one of your mellow tracks getting the dubstep treatment yet? That seems inevitable now that your songs have been played at HARD Fest.

Not yet. There have been some hip-hop mashups, but nothing hard yet. That would be fun to hear, though—probably a bad idea, but fun.

Quite a few famous Danes are making their way over here now. Lars Von Trier is always stirring up trouble. Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor prize at Cannes this year for The Hunt. Or maybe you’re more of an Ulf Pilgaard man? Who would you like to see more of from Denmark?

Actually I want to see more from all the three you are mentioning. Besides that, I wanna hear more from the Queen of Denmark. She has always been a super cool lady.

The party you’re playing here is called The Really Really Blonde Party. Being from LA, you must know some good jokes…

I have one that involves a pool, so I’ll give you that one. How do you drown a blonde? Put a scratch-and-sniff sticker on the bottom of a pool.

What else do you guys have planned for 2012? Any new remixes?

We are gonna play a lot of shows and start working on a new album.

Why did you decide to self-release Pacific Standard Time?

We kinda just got scared of being on a label that would have a bunch of control over us. We are all about doing what feels right in the moment, and to be able to do that you have to have as few people involved in the decision making. Another major factor was the release date; if we went with a label, the album would not be out yet.

We know where to enjoy your music, but what should we enjoy it with? Please give us the perfect Poolside food & drink combo.

We are all about mezcal and wine, but I’ve seen people drink Bud Light with great success while listening to Poolside. I guess you just have to drink whatever makes you feel great! The same with the food; BBQing is pretty obvious but maybe you’re just in the mood for a bowl of soup?

Please make up a story of how you two met.

Craigslist Casual Encounters.

Good story!

To win a Poolside tote bag containing a copy of their debut album & this awesome t-shirt, email sotc at villagevoice dot com with the answer to this question: What is the name of the party where Jeff and Filip actually met? We’ll choose three winners.

Poolside play Moods Of Norway tonight as part of Fashion’s Night Out. RSVP to for entry.

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