A Q&A with Community Swimming Pool

An image of people on a cliff, looking at the sea, at sunset.

Above is the artwork for "Upside Down," the debut single from Community Swimming Pool, out now via Backpack Records.

What’s your name, and where are you from? What are your pronouns?

My name is Brett McCann, and I am from Edinburgh. You can call me "Bmac," and as I’m a wee boy, I guess you can call me “he/him,” but I’m really not fussed! I’ve been called “cunt” a lot, so anything works.

Why the name “Community Swimming Pool”?

The name Community Swimming Pool has a lot of different meanings to me, but none of them influenced the naming of the music at all - which is funny, now that I think about it. I’d just like to clear that up before being named either "self indulgent" or, I don’t know, a bit "over enthusiastic" about the deep-meaningfulness-art thing, haha.

I was walking in Cowcaddens - an area in Glasgow - with my girlfriend spitballing names when we walked past a sign for a local swimming pool. She came out with a “what about Community Swimming Pool” comment, and it was a good feeling that instantly connected the dots that I had been searching to connect.

It features the sunset coastal atmosphere that I imagine my music sounds like, but it also features the sea… or the big free community swimming pool.

I guess I now see the connection with happy, summery, coastal, outdoor swimming images that the name holds, and it works in a bunch of ways. I feel that the music I write sounds like those words (among others), and I also feel that the sea could be (oh god) a "Community Swimming Pool" which is really funny to me. This is also a hidden laugh about the "Upside Down" artwork, as it features the sunset coastal atmosphere that I imagine my music sounds like, but it also features the sea… or the big free community swimming pool.

Can you tell I’ve never done an interview before? (Editor's note: no! this is great stuff!)

You said you’re a multi instrumentalist--what instruments do you play?

I mainly play the guitar, the drums, the bass, and a bit of the piano. I tend to record those instruments on my songs, anyway.

What artists do you draw inspiration from?

Turnover changed my life entirely, so I owe an awful lot to them. Beach Fossils also had a particularly profound effect on me. Prefab Sprout, The Blue Nile, Big Country, DIIV, Alvvays, Snail Mail, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Smiths, Good Morning, Her’s, TOPS, Mac DeMarco, Gus Dapperton, Bane’s World, TOLEDO, Men I Trust, Clairo, Frightened Rabbit - the list could probably go on and on… and on!

Are there any themes or recurring story lines in your music?

I generally always write sad songs, which is potentially miserable information to be telling you, but I can’t seem to help myself, haha. The expression “sadboy” has been thrown at me all too many times, damn! Nah, but I’d say the general theme always revolves around how I feel, how I’ve been dealing with things, or what I’ve been experiencing. I mainly write with regards to relationships or feeling sad, which I have been told is quite relevant for a lot of people, much to no one’s surprise.

Is Community Swimming Pool a solo project?

Community Swimming Pool is a solo project, and there are plans for the live band. I decided to get a good friend to play drums on the first single, and I hope he can play on everything in the future, because he’s such a talented musician. He’s called Sam Leighton! The live band bassist-to-be is Mark Johnston, and he’s potentially going to record bass on some singles also, if it works out. I originally thought it would always be myself recording everything, but as of late I’ve decided to be as open about it as possible, because to tell you the truth, I’ve been silently working on this project for a long four years behind the scenes. So by this point, I’m branching out and trying different things, though it’s only the very first single. That sounds a bit bizarre now that I’ve said it out loud.

Has COVID-19 and quarantine affected this work at all?

COVID-19 is the all-seeing bastard eye of this year, but thankfully it’s not really made any difference to the way that I do things. It meant that I had five months off work though, which meant I could strike while the iron was hot if that iron ever fancied getting hot enough. The first single "Upside Down," for example, came to me one day, and I recorded the song on that same day, which is probably not recommended, but hey, it worked.

Speaking of, what is life like there in Glasgow in relation to COVID? Is it risky to go out, is it under control, etc.?

It’s a bit sad here at the moment, by no means quite as bad as some other countries, of course. Without getting too deep - which is rich coming from a man who’s struggled to refrain from doing so with each question but hey - some of us are trying our best to remain vigilant and safe, but we’re absolutely colonized by people that seem to have no care in the world for it. It’s mandatory face coverings in public transport for example, yet there’s at least three or four people on each bus without a mask on, or their big beak is hanging over the mask thus rendering it entirely useless. It’s probably riskier than people think, but for the best part, we’re trying… I think, haha.

What are your future plans for Community Swimming Pool?

I really hope to continue to release songs that are (quite remarkably) as positively received as this first single has been to date. I have a lot of music there, and I want to tour the music as soon as I can. I’d say I’ll most likely release the next single within a month or two. Other than that, staying alive and being as positive as I can be are high on my list of tasks!


Listen to Community Swimming Pool's new single, "Upside Down," below!