Modern Nature: JD Twitch interviews Pleasure Pool
Glasgow’s music scene remains as fertile as ever and one of the most interesting, as well as unpredictable, bands to have emerged over the past few years are Pleasure Pool.
For a start, they’re not a band in any conventional sense, but rather a loose collective of musicians, performers, producers and fellow travellers who work with the band’s core of Andrew Robertson and Finn O’Hare. Robertson comes from a fine arts background, and is something of a long-standing fixture on the Glasgow scene, while O’Hare is a young musicologist who bonded over a love of electronic music.
They would go on to DJ at venues ranging from respectable arts centres to a residency at a less reputable, if Bohemian bar, where they proved a bit too avant-garde for the clientele. Their musical interests segued effortlessly into live performance, where they’ve built up an enviable reputation as one of the most interesting live bands in the city, owing to their loose, improvisatory ethos, with an ever-changing cast of like-minded hedonistic talents, where everything feels as if it could constantly fall apart, yet always pulls through and makes good at the end.
They’ve played everything from clubs to art afterparties to three hour durational sets in a Turkish bath – with the steam switched off, that is.
The band’s understandable aversion to the madness of social media – they have finally succumbed to Instagram – has led them to not being as well-known as they could be, but built them a considerable following amongst the city’s musical cognoscenti. Now, the magic has been bottled onto their first album “Love Without illusion” which feels like a report from the heart of the heart of the dancefloor, on Optimo Music.
Label head Keith McIvor spoke with the band…
Who are you?
We are Pleasure Pool. Pleasure pool is a collective of musicians and friends who have a shared love of music and collective joy, and create sound and experience that encapsulates this.
Where are you?
Glasgow, you know where it is but you can’t always find it (But maybe the secrets out).
What are you all about?
Floating through space at high velocity in a band with four cans of Guinness.
What do you love?
Well today, it’s Laurie Anderson, George Wyllie, Tony Conrad, Ivor Cutler, John Giorno, Mark Fisher, Yvonne Rainer, Socrates (both footballer and philosopher), Julius Eastman, John Lurie, Kathy Acker Iain Hamilton Finlay, Neue Slowenische Kunst, Bob Mortimer. But tomorrow, who knows.
Waking up slowly on a Sunday morning and going to get a macaroni pie? Just kidding, we don’t sleep at the weekend.
What don’t you love?
Tories and Lib Dems and Keir Starmer, snobbery, and pubs with no Guinness. We also think this is a no brainer, but we don’t love Inequality, racism, homophobia and everything that makes people feel marginalised and less than.
Do you play live?
Yes, we’ve spent much of our time up until now as a solely live performance act. But now we’ve got some music for people to hear. I think to those that have seen us live, this record will differ in many respects to that experience. Our live shows are centred around improvisation and have a sort of free form aspect to them depending on setting/venue/time of day, sometimes we’re channelling Larry Levan working a 1982 New York dancefloor, other times we’re more interested in slowing down than speeding up, but often it’s 2am and somewhere insalubrious. We’ve performed an extended durational piece in a Turkish Bath Suite and have more collaborative performances planned next year with poets, artists, and maybe you? Our performances have a sort of controlled chaos that lends itself well to a live setting but doesn’t always translate to the recording process.
Where do you want to go?
As much as we love Glasgow, we are keen to move on to bigger and brighter centres of the world. Like Greenock. For the meantime, there’s a wee place between here and there where we can all get together and feel the love. We want to connect and, not to sound trite, folk inspire us, so continued collaboration is key. We want to keep using creativity as a vital life force. We think culture should be urgent and so we are keen to create opportunities and spaces for this to be expressed. Also, Tokyo (Please)
Zoom zoom we’re going to the moon.
Are albums still relevant?
Well hopefully as we’ve just made one, and it took quite a long time. I guess albums are inherently tied to the medium of vinyl, the amount of music you could fit on a record determined and still determines what we think of as an album. So as long as there’s still people buying physical records then albums absolutely have their place. For us, it was about being able to explore a few different musical areas, and the format of album allows for that without feeling the music necessarily has to satisfy a particular niche or function.
Do you have any thoughts as to whether some form of anarcho-syndicalism could save the planet?
Keith, you’ve mixed up one of your questions from your recent interview with Noam Chomsky. I hope you didn’t accidentally ask him what his favourite Arthur Russell record was. But in terms of saving the plante, I think a form of international socialism would at least start us off in the right direction. Then we can think about fractioning off into our respective leftist communities. We hope one day we can live in a world without nationalism and have a unified world experience??
Should Scotland be an independent country?
Yes, at this point in time it seems like our best shot at being able to enact a radically transformative government. Also, we have to protect the University Cafe nougat with raspberry sauce at all costs.
Catch Pleasure Pool in London this Friday HERE.
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