dj poolboi: “it’s okay to be sad”
© Adam Ansley aka. dj poolboi
Get to know dj poolboi, the lo-fi house artist who makes “on repeat” - worthy music for the bike ride back home in the dark.
The Texas-based artist and producer, Adam Ansley, released his debut album “it’s good to hear your voice” earlier this year. He is best known for his melancholic and romantic sound and his aesthetically pleasing music videos that leave us all with nostalgic feelings. In our conversation, Adam talks about his creative journey and how making his own music has gotten him through difficult times in his life. With his instrumental tracks, he wants to spread hope and remind people that everything will be okay in the end.
We are curious, how did you come up with the name “dj poolboi”?
The name actually started out as a joke, to be honest. It’s kind of a long and convoluted story but I had been playing drums in bands in Austin for many years; after those bands ended I started writing my own music. I went through several names and genres trying to find my own sound. I wrote “we can be happy” in the middle of the night at around 2 AM. And that was the first video that gained any attention to my music, so I stuck with dj poolboi
You are from Austin, Texas. How is the house-scene over there and did your surroundings influence your music?
Austin (before COVID) has always been diverse musically and that’s why we love it so much as locals. You could watch a local punk band, and then walk to the next venue right next door and listen to a completely different genre. That being said, there never was a large house scene here. It’s mostly indie rock/ garage rock/ punk. I think just constantly being around other people who made music always inspired me to write, but not specifically house.
According to Spotify, your sound is described as "emo house / blu-wave / music for the bike ride home in the dark” - Could you tell us about your journey of finding your own unique sound?
I never set out to have a certain sound, as I started producing more on my own and learning the piano more, I started naturally gravitating towards certain sounds and feelings. I always end up writing something that sounds like me even if I’m not trying to.
Romance, nostalgia and hope have a strong presence in your songs and videos. How did these themes become such a strong part of your music and your visual aesthetics?
These themes helped me feel connected to the music as if the instrumentation was telling a story. Whenever I wrote something I always pictured visuals in my head while listening back to it, and then I would come up with a title based off of those images I was imagining. They’re mostly just about the ups and downs of life and growing and developing as an individual and learning from mistakes and from past relationships.
When people listen to your music, what do you want them to feel?
I want them to feel hopeful! It’s okay to be sad and there’s nothing wrong with feeling down sometimes but I want the takeaway to be hope and knowing that everything will be okay in the end.
On Social Media, you expressed that making music has been therapeutic for you getting through tough times. How did/ does it help you with your mental health?
I have to write and play music otherwise I would have totally lost my mind. It’s extremely cathartic playing an instrument and writing music, it allows me to express myself without having to vocalize it specifically with words. It’s gotten me through some tough times involving depression, addiction and breakups.
Your music videos have received great attention from all over the world! Could you tell us about the creative process behind the latest video of your track “don’t be so hard on yourself”?
I wrote the song really as a reminder to myself to not be so critical of myself. And I wanted to spread a general positive message to whoever listened to the track to feel the same way. So I worked with Majestic Casual with the production/editing of the video, I would give them general aesthetic ideas of what I was imagining and we would go through the process together of what I liked and didn’t like and what I wanted to convey. I wanted it to be calming and reaffirm that feeling of hopefulness.
You have released your debut album just right at the beginning of Covid-19. How has the pandemic affected your career during the past months so far?
Unfortunately, I’ve had to cancel a tour and all of my shows of course. It’s been very lonely and discouraging not being able to be on the road and travel, play shows and meet new people. However, the silver lining is that it has given me a lot of time to sit down and write and work on new material. So although it is a very hard time right now there are benefits to staying inside and working on material.
What are your plans and goals for the upcoming year?
I’m working on a new album right now that I’m very very excited to put out there. Lots of collabs with artists and singers, some remixes, and I hope to get back out on the road as soon as possible! Lots of stuff in the works, I’m stoked!