Stagnant Pools is a two-piece shoegaze/post-punk band from Bloomington, Indiana. The duo consists of brothers Douglass and Bryan Enas. Bryan and Douglass create a wall of sound that is both grooving and aethereal. Brian’s reserved vocals emanate just below the level of noise that is created by the combination of fuzzed-out guitar and on-point drum beats in such a way that they sometime register as a very in-place hum that adds to the overall sound.
Their debut album, Temporary Room is released on August 7th. Sonically overwhelming, lyrically chilling, musically challenging, with subtle nods to the likes of Joy Division and Sonic Youth. This is the best album we’ve heard in 2012. Period. Douglass and Bryan talked to us about the new record and their plans for the future.
TDOA: The Pitchfork review of your new single references Joy Division, The Strokes, Sonic Youth and one of my all-time favorite bands, Calla. Do you appreciate the comparisons? Some bands find such comparisons daunting or just plain annoying. What says you?
SP: We don’t really mind the comparisons and they are fairly nice comparisons because we like those bands and think they are good. So we don’t see them as annoying. We have never even heard of Calla before seeing the name on that review so it was a pleasant surprise to us that a band we never heard of made its way into a comparison. In the end, these comparisons don’t bother us, we are just going to keep doing what we do regardless of what is written about us.
TDOA: The production on Temporary Room is truly remarkable. We’d like to ask you a few questions about the sound on this record. First, who produced the record and what role did they play in creating the actual “sound” of the record?
SP: Our friend Mike Dixon recorded the album at Russian Recording in Bloomington, Indiana. While he wasn’t one of the main engineers there, he was in a band with the owner and he knew how to work all the controls. Before we went into the studio we just told him what we were looking to do and that we just wanted solid recordings of each track. After we recorded it we mixed the songs in his apartment bedroom and that was pretty stress free because Mike knew what he was doing. We were and still are pleased with the results.
We went back into Russian to have it mastered by Mike Bridavsky, the owner and our friend. He was able to take our descriptions of what we hoped the record to sound like and make it happen with all the mastering gear. He has four cool cats that hung out with us while we were mastering, so the process was not stressful at all.
TDOA: How long did it take to record the record? It feels like I’m hearing layers upon layers of guitars. How many actual tracks am I actually hearing on a song like Solitude?
SP: We recorded the record in just 1 day, a total of about 13 hours. Most songs only have 1 overdub guitar track, a couple of them have 2 overdubs. Solitude only has 1 overdub on it and usually the overdubs on each track were cleaner sounding, with less effects of Bryan’s pedal board to have a solid base for the track.
TDOA: Should fans expect your live set to recreate the sound of the album, or are you shooting for something different?
SP: One thing we knew we wanted to do, was to be able to recreate the sound and feel of the songs live. We did not want any large amount of production that would make the record different than what people would see live. The only thing different about the live show then is just the energy that you get with real people playing the instruments in front of you, which is what we both enjoy about going to live shows.
TDOA: Did you have most of the songs written prior to entering the studio or were some of these songs actually written while recording?
SP: Everything was written in advance to recording. Our budget only allowed for one day in the studio so we knew we wouldn’t have time to hang out and write songs in the studio. Consistency, however, was written just two days prior to going into the studio during our last practice before recording.
TDOA: Lyrically, can you talk about your influences? Are their authors or singers who have influenced the content of your lyrics?
SP: I can’t say for sure about any definite influences on my lyrics. I try and read a lot of different things and listen to as much music as I can. I like to think of something Frank O’Hara said when I write, which is something along the lines of, “I write about my experiences, even if I have not had them yet.”
TDOA: Bloomington, Indiana is known as a launching pad for bands that fit your genre. What’s the scene like there and how have you managed to garner the attention of Pitchfork, et al?
SP: We owe a lot of credit to our manager at Undertow and our label, Polyvinyl, in helping us with press and technical things like that. They do all of that stuff and they do an amazing job at it. As for Bloomington, the scene there is widely varied and the shows are cool because there are proper venues as well as numerous houses that like to have bands come play basement shows. Sometimes those shows can be too hectic but they can also be really great. Just being a small, college town, Bloomington has enough people with reach of each other that music thrives there, more so than Indianapolis, where we grew up.
TDOA:You’ve played with some great bands and you have some pretty exciting tours coming up (School of Seven Bells, Maximo Park, Bad Veins). How did you get connected with these bands?
SP: Our booking agent at Flower hooks us up with all those shows. He does an awesome job too connecting with us and keeping us on the same page. Everyone that we work with directly is really nice and cool.
TDOA:Any plans to do a video? If you have one, we haven’t spotted it.
SP: No plans to do a video at this point.
TDOA: Beyond touring, what’s the plan for the rest of 2012?
SP: Some part-time working, catching up on some reading and movie watching. Also learning how to cook well. Hopefully, we can do as much touring as possible.
Catch them on tour!
The Pike Room
Twisted Branch Tea
Chapel Hill, NC
Ybor City, FL
New World Brewery
Santa Monica, CA
The Circle Bar
Fort Worth , TX
Columbus , OH
Saint Louis, MO
Luminary Center for the Arts
The Middle East
World Cafe Live
New York, NY
U Street Music Hall