While Pool Kids have made their name in Florida’s vibrant DIY emo scene, their second LP works in the musically agnostic style of “breakup album.” All of those tried-and-true narrative beats—devastation, resilience, reconciliation, catharsis, probably in that order—have coalesced into a genre of their own, drawing in people who might not otherwise be interested in someone slumped over their piano or acoustic guitar or sampler.-Pitchfork
We chatted with the up-and-coming emo rockers, Pool Kids on their recent month-long US tour. Their 2018 debut album, “Music To Practice Safe Sex To,” caught the attention of Hayley Williams, who claimed it sounded like what Paramore “WISHED we sounded like in the early 2000s.” Now a four-piece featuring guitarist Andy Anaya and guitarist/vocalist Christine Goodwyne, Pool Kids have only grown since, having toured with acts such as The Wonder Years, Into It. Over It., Mountain Goats, and Origami Angel. They’ll be embarking on their first European tour in April 2023, supporting La Dispute.
Check out their most recent release, “That’s Physics, Baby” below.
EB: Pool Kids is originally from Florida. Was there a DIY Florida scene that made you want to start music?
Andy: We all grew up in different parts of Florida. I grew up in Miami. I got involved in the music scene pretty early on, I had some friends that played guitar in bands in high school. I started my first metal
–core band in 10th grade. We played all these local shows opening for national touring bands like Suicide Silence, Dead to Fall, and Folly. This was around ‘05, ‘06.
Christine: I did not know any of this existed until college. The extent of my music life was playing in church bands in high school. I joined WVFS college radio at Florida State University, discovered shows, and realized that I wanted to do this too.
EB: How has growing up in Florida affected Pool Kids’ sound?
Andy: It’s not so much being from Florida that developed our sound, but when you start to play with so many of the same bands, there is a stylistic overlap and other bands’ sound starts to rub off on you.
Christine: There is this band called Echo Base that no longer exists and, before I started Pool Kids, I was very inspired by them and I thought, “I want to be like that and I want to play fun shows like this.” So, I guess I’ll make music like that…very noodly, tappy guitar stuff.
EB: Hayley Williams of Paramore recently co-signed Pool Kids. Did this inspire your latest record?
Christine: The shoutout didn’t particularly change the music. But, in general, Hayley Williams was always an idol of mine. People compare any band with a girl singer to Paramore, but I can’t deny that there is influence from Paramore there.
Andy: We all like Paramore so it was a true honor to be recognized by her.
EB: What music has Pool Kids been listening to recently?
Andrew: We listen to all different styles of music in the van. We started the day listening to the Progressive Metal band, Death and transitioned to the new Pile song. So, pretty opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s kinda all over the place.
Christine: We all like Turnstile. There are only a few bands that all four of us agree on and that’s one of them. We got to see them on our day off, which was great. Scott Ian was backstage. And we were all like “Oh my god, Scott Ian!”
EB: You have both recently been rocking Music Man guitars. What drew you to these?
Andy: Christine and I both play Music Man guitars. I have two Music Man Albert Lee models. Christine uses one as her alternate tuning guitar. I also have a Music Man Valentine, which I absolutely love. I picked up my first one secondhand in 2019.
I had always wanted a Music Man. I played an Albert Lee in a Guitar Center once and thought ‘This thing is perfect’. I don’t know what it is, the shape of the neck, the radius, the pickups, everything about it was perfect. It was an “edgy” guitar without being over the top and metal, yet still out there. The offset idiosyncratic shape is different, yet still classic looking.
I used to play other guitars, but there is something about Music Man that balances out all of the other manufacturers. It’s just better in all ways. It’s kinda crazy.
Christine: I hadn’t really found a guitar that I actually loved until I held a Music Man John Petrucci JP6 for the first time. I was holding a bunch of different ones, then I felt that one and I was like “Oh, this is f***ing IT!” Andy was pretty happy because he is a big Dream Theater fan.
I plugged it into Andy’s Marshall ‘77 JMP combo and, after a few shows, it was the best I have ever sounded. I still use Andy’s Albert Lee too, I think it’s gonna be my next purchase.
EB: What has been your favorite stop on tour?
Andy: Roseville, CA was a big surprise. We were not expecting a big crazy audience, but the show was great. We needed it too. We had just flown back to play The Fest in Florida; two long flights, hours of driving, it was all worth it.
Christine: We made a list: Chain Reaction in Anaheim, CA, The Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix, AZ, Pittsburgh, PA, Denver, Cleveland… Honestly we are super spoiled on this tour. It was great every single night. Chicago was awesome. That’s like home turf for us now. Lots of friends and new young faces came out, which was fun.
EB: Pool Kids is supporting La Dispute on a European Tour in 2023. Will this be your first time touring outside of the US? What can we expect from this tour?
Christine: I had never left the country until this tour. We played one show in Toronto and I had to get my passport for it. Andy has toured all over in previous bands, but it’ll be my first time going overseas.
Andy: It’s gonna be great! La Dispute is a phenomenal live band and we’ve only heard good things from friends’ bands that have toured with them. We’re buds with a band called Sweet Pill who has been out on the road with them for the last month or so and they’ve all been singing their praises. So, we’re really excited and feel super fortunate to have this opportunity to travel abroad and visit new places. Hopefully people connect with the music. If not, we’re gonna have a great time regardless.
Christine: We’d basically mapped out what our ideal 2023 would be. We thought we were gonna have to scrounge together our own thing. We didn’t expect to get asked on this tour. But that’s so much better! It’s a dream.
EB: The tour sounds like it is a success so far, what is it like?Andy: It’s almost unbelievable. We say it every night on stage, we’re not expecting to see a full room when we go up on stage. We don’t expect people to cheer and chant our band name. It’s absurd at some points. We’re essentially living this dream, we all feel so lucky and grateful to the people who have been so kind to us.
Pool Kids uses Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Paradigms, Mega Slinky, and Regular Slinky Bass.