IN CONVERSATION WITH KING AND ADA, CO-FOUNDERS OF POOL RECORDS

In a conversation for Flowe Journal, we ask Pool Records co-founders King Puentespina and Ada Laud about building connection through music, fostering growth in art, and more.
In a cut-throat industry that emphasizes art as commodity, Pool Records is challenging the standards of traditional music labels. Founded in 2018, what began as a way to help artists expand their vision, has since turned into a growing community and movement.


To founders King Puentespina, Ada Laud, Mike Parker, and Alex Coloquio, Pool Records is more than just a music production company. It’s a safe space for artists to nurture their creative energy with more intention, and cultivate an intimate relationship with their audiences.


Below, we sit down with King and Ada — Pool Records’ Music Director and Brand Director, respectively — about building connection through music, fostering artists’ growth, and more.

BOTH OF YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PASSIONATE ABOUT MUSIC, BUT WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO GET TOGETHER AND CREATE A RECORD LABEL? CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH YOUR JOURNEY IN BUILDING POOL RECORDS? 


Ada: For me, I always experienced music from the outside. There were always ideas shared about how we could amp up the experience of music for audiences and artists. It wasn’t something we wanted to do straight away. It naturally took its course as we started working together on more music projects and we decided to bring it to life officially as Pool Records.


King: Our talks started and became more frequent after launching my beat tape, Orchid, in 2018. We got together with Mike Parker and Alex Coloquio and decided that we wanted to recreate that experience of seeing an artist from the artist’s perspective and intention. We wanted to really listen to the artist and make their music a tangible entity for our audiences and listeners, giving them a full experience of the artist. Thus, Pool Records was born.




POOL RECORDS SEEKS TO “EXPAND ARTISTS’ OVERALL CREATIVE ENERGY.” BUT WHAT EXACTLY DOES IT MEAN TO CULTIVATE ONE’S ARTISTIC ENERGY? AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO GO BEYOND MUSIC PRODUCTION? 


Ada: We want Pool Records to be a safe space for artists to hone their work and bring it to its best life and form. As a label, we wanted to rethink the process of creating with the artists to give them the support where it's needed. Instead of making a mold for them to fit in, there’s also a sense of finding it together. We think of Pool as a guided trip, where it's symbiotic and a learning process for all of us.


King: It just adds so many layers and accompanies the music and the stories so well for me. We wanted to focus on the intention of a project and bring it to life. For Curtismith’s album, Museo, he wanted to make a story about his life experiences and what he wanted to say through his music. We translated the album as his mind's museum of memories. We got excited and came up with so many grandiose ideas and we pulled it off for his launch in 2021. We collaborated with numerous artists, who each painted a track from the album, which we put up in an exhibition at Pinto Art Museum.


MUCH OF POOL RECORDS IS FOUNDED ON COMMUNITY AND CREATIVE COLLABORATION — FROM THE PARTNER VENUES YOU CAREFULLY SELECT TO THE VISUAL ARTISTS YOU WORK WITH. PERSONALLY, WHAT DOES COLLABORATION MEAN TO YOU? WHAT IS ITS SIGNIFICANCE IN BUILDING CONNECTION THROUGH MUSIC? 


Ada: Collaboration for me is trust. I think we’ve learned to embrace the vulnerability of creating, and that really helped us understand what we’d like to do with Pool.


King: Music is made to be shared and I think that goes the same when you make it. Collaboration just makes everything better in music and it really takes a village for a great piece of art (or anything) to be executed well. You’ll always need dedicated collaborators to make sure you’re all getting to the same destination the right way.


LOOKING BACK AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR CREATIVE JOURNEY, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR GROWTH AND FINDING YOUR NICHE AS ARTISTS?

Ada: Early on, I never really considered myself as an artist since I always work on the brand and marketing side of things. I’ve let that go and just let myself create in a way that I am comfortable with. Before, I would obsess over the vision and execution, but more recently I’ve learned to trust the process. It brings a whole new experience to creating.


King: I learned that, after going through so many experiences over the years, there’s still so much to uncover. There’s an infinite pool (nice!) of knowledge that we just have to keep diving into and is worth exploring. Finding my voice in music is probably the thing I’m still working on the most but I'm glad that I have a strong team that is there to help me interpret what story I want to tell.

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE OUTSIDE OF WORK? 


Ada: Taking the time to get inspired whether from conversations with people or new experiences like traveling. I think it’s a great way to learn without the pressure of it.


King: Making sure that I’m absorbing and sponging up other mediums on my days off. I love taking in books, films, great food, and participating in other artist’s projects when I can.


WHAT DOES A DAY IN YOUR LIFE LOOK LIKE? ARE THERE ANY EVERYDAY RITUALS YOU ENJOY, OR THINGS YOU LIKE TO DO?

Ada: I spend a lot of time in front of a screen, so I try to stay active in the morning — whether through tennis or taking my dogs for a quick walk. I also write down three things I’m grateful for as soon as I wake up


King: Making coffee in the morning and reading a book at night are definitely my all time favorite rituals and I wish I have those moments to myself for the rest of my life.


WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE?


Ada: Movement. Maybe dance, travel or a change in pace and environment.


King: I have Ada, my poodle Boba, and all my loved ones still here with me, and I get to listen to music everyday? I have everything I could possibly want to feel alive.





Ada and King use the Checker Performance Hand Towel in Earth, Checker Performance Hand Towel in Ocean, and the Striped Performance Hand Towel in Ocean.


Explore Pool Records’ work here.