Cherry Pools frontman Martin Broda is acutely aware of changing times. Technology has crept into the seams of our daily lives, as science fiction is morphing into science fact. At a writing session in Los Angeles, Broda shares with me over the phone that he and his songwriting partners pondered the possibility of developing a relationship with artificial intelligence, and the frustrations that would come with that relationship.
The band's latest single, "Turn You On," is a profession of Broda's love and fascination for an artificial intelligence girlfriend. Over the chorus, he begs, "Tell me what it takes to turn you on." The single is their first release of the new decade and is as modern as a modern pop song can possibly be. "Turn You On" puts a subtle twist on your everyday love song. Cherry Pools lyricism contains deeper meaning when placed under a microscope and "Turn You On" explores whether technology and human emotion are compatible.
The LA-based indie-pop group had been hard in the studio since finishing their lNeon Future: A Guide To A Possible Tomorrow Tour — an eco-friendly tour meant to promote sustainability and positive environmental practices. "We're trying to bring awareness and at the same time put a new light on performing. I think we can be a little more cautious with creating a better world for tomorrow," says Broda. "We want to introduce our fans to this sort of lifestyle that maybe they haven't really experienced. It's all about creating awareness and at the same time having fun doing it."
The band partnered with One Tree Planted to have a donation basket and profits from their merch sales help raise money toward planting new trees and revitalizing the Amazon. On top of that, the band advocated for fans practicing the use of reusable water bottles at their shows as well. Even the lighting production onstage was LED-based to minimize the amount of electric power consumed through live performances. Though the tour name Neon Future is an homage to Broda's highlighter-hued hair, it also symbolizes a brighter future that waits for us if we take care of our planet.
Broda was raised on '80s pop essentials like Whitney Houston, Huey Lewis & The News, and Peter Gabriel. "I always seem to revert back to that in some way, whether it's a guitar tone or a synth or what have you," Broda explains. Today, he looks up to modern pop. "I'm always intrigued on what the latest sound is. Every person on the planet, they want to hear something new and fresh you know?" he continues. "But everything is sort of recycled."
Broda's journey into music first began with playing the trumpet in his school's concert band. Soon, he moved to drums, which led him to become invested in punk music and sent him headfirst into his "emo phase." He played in some local bands in high school, even toured for a couple years with a heavier rock band where he took up bass, and eventually moved from behind a drum kit to the center stage. "I later found out that I could sing," he laughs. When his friend invited him to sing in a band, he picked up the mic and gave it a go. He has been honing his voice ever since.
"If I'm too static and I stay in the same place for too long I get paranoid," says Broda. "I've always got to be challenging myself with new instruments." His need for change brought him to the pop genre, the creation of Cherry Pools, and even moved him to Los Angeles for a while.
Broda's earlier band Curses signed to Sony in 2017. "Sony wanted us to do a sort of name changing because there were copyright issues with Curses," recalls Broda. He spent hours behind the studio by the studio's pool, sifting through thousands of names and beating himself up trying to find one that fit. Meanwhile, a cherry-shaped pool floatie was in the pool right in front of him. He looked up, and something clicked. Cherry Pools stuck.
Since then, the band have toured with both PVRIS and I DON'T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME, gone on their own headline tour, and released their 2018 six-track EP Less Religion More Sex.
Cherry Pools met through the internet. Broda first stumbled upon Cherry Pools drummer Sean Medeiros on YouTube and was so impressed by his pop covers he immediately reached out. It turned out Medeiros only lived 30 minutes away from Broda. "The stars kind of aligned." The rest is history.
Guitarist Rachel Barker joined the group after their former guitarist chose a different path and their and bassist forced them to part ways. "He made a decision that he shouldn't have done," according to Broda. Thankfully, Barker was introduced to the band by a mutual friend while they were on tour. They first connected over Instagram, and through her masterful guitar work, she was instantly invited into the group.
"Turn You On," is only the second single released with Cherry Pools current lineup. The trio also released "Stop and Stare" in 2019, a danceable alt-rock ode to getting lost in the moment with someone you love. Sprinkled in 80's synths and a dash of disco, the track is a bold declaration of sonic reinvention and the first sneak peak of what we can expect from a new rendition of Cherry Pools.
"It's kind of weird, the world we live in now. You don't really have to audition anymore in person. You kind of discover someone's life and what they're trying to strive to do via social media and I think obviously technology is super powerful but it just kind of helps expedite certain things, you know?" reflects Broda. "We're super happy on how everything is looking and everything is sounding and I think we finally have the proper fit for Cherry Pools now. Everything feels right and I think this is where Cherry Pools needs to live and breathe: exactly where we are now."