INTERVIEW: Infinity Pool
With the way the collective releases music, if you blink, you might miss the next Nice FM drop. However, I sincerely hope that you don’t do that, because it’s a very solid project between producers Hot Science and Zero Tep, known together as Infinity Pool. The duo have put the finishing touches on a collaborative EP, and the first single, “Take Off” is out today. We caught up with the pair to talk about their upcoming project. Check it out:
B&E: Introduce yourself! Who are you?
HS: Hi! I am Sam Sumner, musically known as Hot Science and ½ of Infinity Pool.
ZT: Heyo! My name is Kaelin Bougneit. I make a lot of music under lots of names, all on my label Subviolet Records: wavy electronics as Zero Tep, energetic rock/punk as Psychic Sex, other experimental/ambient/industrial stuff, and now I’m the other ½ of Infinity Pool!
B&E: How did the idea for a collaboration come about?
HS: Almost exactly a year ago, I was working on some new demos meant to follow up my solo release from April of that year. They were going to be instrumentals, but as I listened over and over, words and melodies just appeared! I sent them to Kaelin for his opinion and he wanted to take a crack at a remix or two. Those remixes blew me away and we decided to do the whole project together!
ZT: Sam’s demos were reaaaaally cool, and I was hearing all kinds of ideas within them. I’ve never had a collaboration unfold so seamlessly. There was a weird synchronicity between us; we even came up with the same band name separately.
B&E: What was the process? Were you collaborating together in person, or via the internet?
HS: This was via the internet exclusively as there are 2000+ miles separating our physical beings. There wasn’t as much back and forth as I’m used to in a collaboration, because I was basically done with the project by the time Kaelin started working on it. Every time he sent something over I was delighted and literally had NO NOTES for him!
ZT: Like Sam says, I just kept working on these songs at my own pace, trying to flesh out the color on top of the songwriting. Sam sent me all the stems, so I usually started by dubbing down the song to its root elements – bass, vocals, drums – and working out. That way, I could get a better picture of the songwriting underneath. I used a combination of synths/drum machines made primarily in the mid-late 80s (some Korg M1 and Roland Jupiter-8 emulations were my big go-tos) while relying on the bold textural elements of genres like chillwave (heavy delay/phasers) and new wave (angular layers of guitars/synths) to try to simultaneously date the record and bring it forward into the future, where we have the technological freedom for maximalism in music. I do hope we can work in person in the future! I think we have a lot to learn from one another.
B&E: What elements of each other’s style do you like best?
HS: I love Kaelin’s unique instrumentation and his ability to find certain melodies in the material that I never thought of previously. I think he was able to musically convey the emotions behind the words much better than my original recordings could.
ZT: Sam’s music is full of little moments of reverie, small melodies and samples that pop out and get stuck in your head. And the attitude: it’s lo-fi, but by design, because using hardware to write music often gives you more streamlined and substantive inspiration. When I saw him live, he’d synced up a bunch of Teenage Engineering gear with a click-track running from an iPad, and he just ran with it! You can hear his OP-1 jams all over the Infinity Pool record: the bass and pads of “Geode Heart”, the thick horn section on “Clearance”, pretty much the entirety of “Welcome to the Circus” is a dub version of the original demo with minimal additions from me.
B&E: Were there any parts/tracks that didn’t make the EP?
HS: Some of my initial instrumental demos never inspired any words, so those were left out very early on. I had another track called “Skeletons” recorded, but I cut it before I sent them to Kaelin. All of the tracks I sent him made the cut… who knows, maybe those lost demos will resurface at some point
ZT: Though I was initially worried I’d be an inconsistent collaborator, everything Sam sent me ended up being used for the EP, and I couldn’t be happier with the final product!
B&E: Lastly, are there any other plans to collaborate in the future?
HS: I can safely say there is a 100% chance we will collaborate again! Nothing concrete in the works yet, but I would love to do a follow up Infinity Pool release for sure. Also, I would love to put our beatmaking skills together on a project in the future.
ZT: Definitely! We’ve already talked about doing something else with Infinity Pool in the future; this first batch of songs came from Sam, but I want to contribute more from a songwriting angle, too. However it arrives, there will certainly be more!