Some bands are all about ambiguity: masked members, made-up genres, and names that seem to mean everything and nothing all at once. But such is not the case for Poolside, the L.A.-based duo of Filip Nikolic and Jeffrey Paradise. Named for a poolside home studio — and started with the intention of playing only daytime pool parties — the band is now attracting a bona fide buzz, and touring the world with an itinerary that includes as many clubs and amphitheaters as it does hip midday soirees.
Next Thursday, February 7, Poolside brings a brand of “daytime disco” to UCSB for a free on-campus concert at the Hub. The band heads out on the road in support of Pacific Standard Time, a wonderfully chilled-out debut, which dropped last summer. As its namesake might suggest, Poolside makes music that’s equally groovy and blissful, filled with hints of tropicalia and beats that pulse along dreamily. For many reasons, the band seems to stand in direct opposition to the dubstep hype machine; in place of beat-you-over-the-head bass lines, the duo call upon catchy synth hooks and yacht-rock-inspired guitar tones.
“At a lot of the pool parties in L.A. I played before Poolside, these guys were playing heavy dubstep. It was like, ‘Aren’t you supposed to just relax?’” Nikolic told Pitchfork last year. “Sometimes it’s nice to have dancey music, but we’re like, ‘This is an actual place where you can get paid to DJ songs at 80 BPM.’”
The mindset seems even more noteworthy when you consider Paradise and Nikolic’s history. Prior to Poolside, both were working primarily in the studio, producing and writing for other acts. Before that they each spent time in “heavier” dance bands. Nikolic played bass in Junior Senior and Ima Robot; Paradise got his start with The Calculators, who would go on to become The Rapture.
The way they put it, Poolside’s success has come as something of a fluke. The band was started as a pet project and just happened to fall into the right hands at the right time. (Namely, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, who took a liking to the band’s cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” and started spinning it during his deejay sets.) Nowadays, though, the guys are making waves all on their own, with summery vibrations that are proving just as listenable during the winter months.
Poolside plays a free show at UCSB’s Hub on Thursday, February 7 at 8:30 p.m. with Dante Elephante. Visit kcsb.org for info.