"Those kids in the cafeteria"-- Pool Holograph-- talk playing Audiotree

From the obscure depths of Chicago’s DIY indie-rock scene, the four-piece group Pool Holograph, has merited themselves on Audiotree Music Festival’s Sunday line-up and only after-show Saturday night.

Somewhere in the Windy City on a Monday night, vocalist Wyatt Grant and guitarist Paul Stolz shared a set of headphones in a bar to talk over the phone about the upcoming festival.

“We’ve been trying some new stuff,” said Grant of their set list. “We’re making sure it’s well-rounded but also not a lot of stuff people hear from us all the time. We’ve been trying to keep it new and relevant to us so we’re pumped about it and to keep people on their toes.”

Their last album, Transparent World, manifested thoughts of the unknown into fervent, head-spinning nine tracks.

Stolz added, “We’re writing again and right now, we’re just feeling really good about writing new music and seeing how far it will take us.”

Currently, the guys said there are no concrete plans for any releases coming up.

“It’s kind of a chain of reaction thing where we’re in the moment, writing what we feel is relevant to our growth and making sure it’s feeling like a good next step rather than putting our trajectory for a release format.”

Interestingly enough, Grant explained a lot of their new material has pop components and wouldn’t “hold it against” any Audiotree attendees who feel the urge to dance.

“The influences have been more along the pop lines, rhythmically,” he said. “That’s been kind of important in the way of formatting music in a pop structure so I guess innately it’s poppy, but it’s not essential to the songs. They just come out that way.”

Pool Holograph is using Arcadia Creek Festival Place in Kalamazoo as a platform to explore their most recent content.

“Formatting sets for outdoor venues, I feel like it puts you in a different musical mindset…Outdoor settings feels more conducive to me with experimentation and people being more patient and lively. It’s an interesting shell I have yet to crack.”

Besides playing, they’re looking forward to watching many of the other acts. Stolz, dressed in a NE-HI shirt that evening, mentioned he was “scared/excited to play right after Post Animal.” Together, they through around the names of V.V. Lightbody, Real Estate, NE-HI and Melk Belly, who are on their list to watch. Also, Grant noted many of the bands happen to be fellow Chicagoers as well.

“It’s crazy how many Chicago bands are playing,” said Grant. “We are proud to be part of the envoy.”

Photo by Claire Byrnes.

Diving in a bit further on how creating music in Chicago has affected Pool Holograph’s writing, Grant expressed many of his favorite bands even growing up in Memphis would have a connection to Chicago.

“You get a little bit of everything,” he said. “I think even small music scenes building up in Memphis get something big coming through so living in a place where you can almost anyone is a little overwhelming…”

Stolz described the scene as a “full, different, collective music scene,” and noted it’s not just the bands.

“It’s a community of music enthusiasts as well. People are just psyched about what everybody in the world is doing,” he said.

Being in such a saturated city such as Chicago, LA, NYC or Nashville, bands either follow trends or strive to be authentic to themselves.

“I think there’s that self-awareness in some pockets,” said Grant. “Especially bands that challenge each other, not by calling each other out but by putting out new stuff and fucking the status quo. Whenever you have a large concentration or saturation, you have trends but also, you have just as much of a likelihood of people challenging those and recognizing okay this is a norm, it’s time to end this.”

In response, I asked Grant what Pool Holograph does to stay original, which caused him into an unintentional spiral of thinking out loud.

“We feel like things are still fresh with us because we’ve reinvented ourselves a few times. Our approach to writing and to contributing in general is we try to stay conscientious to what we’re putting out there like how is this doing anything for anyone? Also, there’s been a lot of bands recently that have challenged us a lot and have inspired us to do the same things but in a way that’s our own. It’s not because that’s what we’re doing because it’s a testament to what makes music valuable. It’s only if you actually try and push yourself and are scare that you’re going to make music. We could write albums forever over and over again—that’s not really a problem. It’s more of just accessing what you really want to say.”

Photo by Claire Byrnes.

On a less serious note, Stolz added they are “the most on-time band in Chicago.” “Tragically on-time,” Grant added.

“We want the whole standing out thing to be a bi-product, rather than a predetermined thing… You could do that in any number of ways but whether that’s valuable to the listener or significant artistically is a whole different subject.

Pool Holograph will play at the WIDR FM Stage on Sunday, Aug. 22 at 4:30 p.m. and the after-show at Old Dog Tavern at 10 p.m. Saturday night.