There are some band names that seem to come out of nowhere, but others seem to make perfect sense. What comes to mind when you hear the words “Cherry Pools”? If you’re thinking bright, colorful synths and catchy indie-pop songs that you can easily lose yourself in, you’d be right on par for describing this Toronto-based group.
When Substream speaks to Cherry Pools’ frontman Martin Broda, he is en route to Los Angeles. Cherry Pools have yet to release their debut EP (the five-track effort is planned to be released this fall on Weekday Records / Sony Music Entertainment, though no date has been set), but Broda is already tackling the group’s next record. “I’m actually a little bit ahead of the curve, taking initiative to tackle the next sound that Cherry Pools releases, just cuz we have a little bit of time now and it’s better to be not rushing things as much as I can,” he offers. It’s no wonder he’s so smart with his planning, as this isn’t his first musical effort: he’s spent years playing in bands and touring internationally.
As Broda is making the trek westward, Cherry Pools are gearing up to release their third single; perhaps coincidentally, it’s called “Hollywood.” With shimmering synths and wavy, intoxicating percussion, “Hollywood” is a “bad girl anthem” about so-called “Hollywood girls” acting in exactly the way they’re stereotyped. The video, which was shot by director Raul Gonzo, centers around two women on a tennis court, while Broda and his band mates (Matt Krumins, Talyn Prior, and Sean Medeiros) observe from the other side of the fence. Though dressed for the game, neither of the women are there to compete. “We actually shot the video in California as well, which was kinda cool cuz we wanted to tie in the whole lyrical aspect of it,” Broda reveals. “The video concept is that we wanted to compare the stereotypical bougie girls with the sport of tennis cuz it’s a bougie, posh kind of sport.”
Cherry Pools had previously partnered with Gonzo for the video for “Are You In Love”, which was released in February. Both videos have a distinct style, with carefully crafted retro aesthetics and pastel color palettes. “Are You In Love”, in particular, seems right in line with the vibrant, colorful work that Gonzo often features on his Instagram feed. “Forever Young”, in contrast, maintains the nostalgic feel of the other two videos, but takes place in the slightly darker, mysterious setting of downtown Toronto. “Forever Young” was shot by Daniel Ciccotelli, who Broda also partnered with for the writing of Cherry Pools’ debut EP. “This is his first dive into music video directing, and we came up with a concept and literally shot it overnight in Toronto. We put it together super quickly and I think it came out super well. It’s definitely a different vibe from ‘Are You In Love’ but that’s what we wanted to go for; we wanted to have each song and video be represented individually,” Broda shares excitedly.
Image is everything in music, and music videos are an important way for artists to communicate that to their audience. It’s a smart choice, then, that Cherry Pools will be making videos for each of the five songs on their EP. they’re intentional about the visuals they create, ensuring they match the accompanying song: when asked if he thinks of the video when writing a song, Broda responds that the video concept is “actually a huge component.” He further explains, “When I think about a song, I think about its entirety – mood, aesthetic, the video concept, the sound, how it’s gonna translate to the public – I want to capture all of the emotions…. You want to capture everybody’s attention in all aspects, visually and sonically. I think it’s very important, and a lot of people overlook it…. When I’m coming up with a certain idea, I definitely start with an overall mood and it kind of builds from that. I also like to build little Pinterest boards and stuff like that. [Laughs.] I build little mood boards back home as well, which actually helps us tremendously.”
In February, Cherry Pools made their live debut on tour with PVRIS. While Broda is no stranger to the stage, Cherry Pools marks his first time fronting a band, and with that new role comes new responsibilities. “Honestly, in my previous experiences of being in a band, I haven’t really taken the role of being a frontman, so from my personal standpoint I could definitely obviously take more initiative,” he admits. “There’s a lot of things I still need to learn as being a frontman, and that’s the process of being an artist, right?… I basically learn something new from every tour, whether it’s from another artist or myself or whatever the case is – but perfecting my position in the band, for sure, I could definitely take that from that tour.”
Thinking back to the first show of the PVRIS tour, Broda says, “It took me back a bit. Like the first show we ever played as a band, we played in Atlanta, Georgia – and we played to maybe – it’s hard to take a guess at the moment, maybe 1200 people – and honestly I missed every second of it, but it was so natural. We got so many compliments after the show and we literally had a line of people that wanted to take pictures with us, it was like – “What’s happening? This is our first show – this is something that should be happening in a couple years” – but we had such a positive reaction on-stage and off-stage. It was weird, because it felt like we’d been doing this for so long, yeah- just going back to that first show, it was definitely iconic and I’m going to remember it forever.” Overall, the tour was a success for Cherry Pools: “That tour did numbers for us. We gained a decent amount of fans for the short amount of days that we played; it was honestly unreal to be on the road again, that’s for sure.”
When asked about Cherry Pools’ plans for the rest of the year, Broda mentions “a lot more touring.” They’ve got a few shows announced for May and June, including Spring Fling V in Cleveland, as well as other tours in the works. Along with the EP, the band will be releasing a music video for each song, “so everyone will get a little taste of the diverseness of each song on this EP.” Broda also hinted at the possibility at another new song from the album to be released after the EP, though didn’t confirm further plans. He wants to stay in Los Angeles long-term, explaining, “the longer I stay out there, the better, just cuz everybody that I know is out there. I feel like I could do really great things out there,” but at least for now, he’ll be “bouncing back and forth” between the City of Angels and Toronto, where his bandmates still live, to practice and take care of matters at home.
Things are just getting started for Cherry Pools, though Broda and co. are ready to share their music with the world, and take the band as far as it can go. “We want to get our music out there as much as possible to people that haven’t heard of us, and get people to jump on board,” he states. Broda knows that not everyone will appreciate what he’s doing, but is comfortable in his observation that “if you’re not stirring the pot a little bit, you’re not doing something right – you have to go back to the drawing board.” For now, things are going well – the first round of shows with PVRIS were a success, and they’ve got a busy year ahead with plenty of new fans cheering them on along the way – and that’s enough inspiration to keep going.