Wolverhampton unsigned band Pool just want to get better and better
The last great band to define a generation were The Libertines. We are the first generation without that defining band.”
So says Charlie Greenway, frontman of up-and-coming Wolverhampton band Pool. They are four friends with big ambitions and a love for music that transcends merely listening to it and delves into feeling it and living by it.
They take music seriously. But that hasn’t always been the case, as they tell us in a group chat by phone.
“I generally think we have an Urban Hymns [hit for The Verve] in us. We just have to find it,” Charlie adds.
Charlie, 19, from Bilbrook, is the voice and one of two guitarists for Pool. He shares that role with Brandon Nijjar, also 19, from Perton, while drums are thumped by Brad Sumner, again 19, of Pattingham. All three met while at Codsall High School. The line-up is completed by 20-year-old Ben Clarke from Dovecote on bass.
But the school friends had an earlier moniker – Colours – which was a trio they started at high school.
“Forming the band was never a conscious choice,” the lads tell us. They just started jamming as 14 and 15-year-olds and then this just ‘kind of happened’.
“We were just influenced by so many artists and that meant so much to us. And we played that music.
“It probably came more naturally to us then than it does now. We weren’t very technical it just came out and if it sounded good it sounded good. We had such a laugh.”
And that energy went into their live performances too – which also came about by accident (and a dollop of arrogance).
“We went to see a band our mates were in at Newhampton Arts Centre, and to be honest we were expecting much better. We were 15 and cocky so we went up to the geezers running it and said ‘you should get our band on, we’re 1,000 times better than this’. It was our arrogance that did it.
“We didn’t have a band. We wrote the whole set list in two weeks and got on the stage. We were like, ‘what is this?’ We only planned to play that one gig but here we are.”
Colours, as they were then known, were born.
“We were passion-driven,” the lads add. “We didn’t know what we were doing and we’ve only really tightened up and improved in the past two years.
“We got sick of Colours fairly early on, to be honest. We had songs such as Surfer Jain which we just blasted out and had a laugh with but we needed time to get better with our lyricism and sound.
“Those songs, they defined us as 15-year-olds but nothing else. This change has happened naturally, our writing has just got better and deeper.
“We wrote Surfer Jain when we were 15 and we’ve been playing it since our first gig. It feels like we’ve been through the entire lifespan of a band behind closed doors before we even released this as our first single.
“Surfer Jain still has to be there. It was a song of our time. It’s honest and genuine – we’re not one of those bands who five years down the line we hate a song, you can’t just disown it when it is yours.
“There’s already history in this band. There’s already a story there, those songs just had to be there to show people where it started.”
That story expanded when Ben got on-board in the summer of last year – the move from Colours to Pool was complete. They released Surfer Jain soon after quickly followed by Dogma, both of which can be heard on their Soundcloud page.
Despite a different vision and style now, the boys are far from embarrassed by their earlier antics. They still play the early material as part of their sets and use them as a yardstick to remind themselves of how much they have improved.
“Pool have a much more serious outlook. It’s about songwriting, not just about going mental.”
Their influences include Nirvana, Pixies, Sonic Youth, early The Verve and Birthday Party – a deep, growling sound that mixes atmospheric guitars with thundering percussion.
They don’t see themselves as like any of the big bands currently entertaining the public.
“It’s partially down to the eradication of ‘bad press’,” Charlie says.
“There’s just too many sub-par bands that need to be told they are boring and that we’ve already had 300 variations of their new single in the past week alone.
“If music is your passion I’m not saying you shouldn’t be allowed to express that, but not every single by every unsigned band in the UK is groundbreaking. In fact a lot of them are boring, bland rehashes of not even the greats but the bands that were big last week.”
And as far as Pool’s approach to ‘bad press’ goes, Charlie adds: “Even if one of my musical heroes was to lay into our band I wouldn’t care in the slightest. It’s not for them. I know what this is and what we’re doing.
“Opinions don’t matter when your art’s genuine.”
Pool have two new tracks ready to reveal to show their progression. Sh**** Song should be with the world in around six-to-eight weeks, with Oregon to follow after a similar timeframe.
They were ‘only recorded a couple of days ago’, so a lot of production is to follow before their release. They’ll be digital-only at first, but Pool have hopes of creating physical copies to sell at future gigs.
“They’re rough demos,” the boys add. “But people will soon be able to pick them up and listen to them.”
l Pool’s new singles will be available on their Spotify and Soundcloud pages alongside their earlier releases. For updates on when these are released, follow them on Twitter @poolband_