Poolside FM gets a refresh with a '90s operating system in your browser

"Some friends and I built this kinda ridiculous music website and I thought you might be into it," said Marty Bell in an email to Creative Boom this week.

The Scottish entrepreneur – founder of Tens sunglasses whom we featured earlier this month – is also the brains behind Poolside FM, a '90s operating system in your browser, with super-summer music and VHS visuals. What more could you want?

"I launched the original website with a friend about 5 years ago, I can’t exactly remember where the idea came from," Marty tells Creative Boom. "I was living at my parents' house in the Highlands of Scotland (pouring rain and very grey at all times!) and I was really into this genre of feel-good, super-summer music.

"I think I built it as some kind of virtual vacation to lift my spirits. I’ve been into ‘80s/‘90s design for years, I can’t shake it, it’s just so full of fun and positivity. This mix of music and care-free nostalgic visuals seems to put people in a really happy place, I love that."

As it’s been around for some time, Poolside FM already has a huge fanbase. But today, it relaunches with a fresh new look. Brought together by four friends (who've apparently only ever met via Google Hangouts), Marty is the founder and curator, Niek Dekker is the designer, Aziz Firat – the "pool boy" (whatever that means) and Lewis King the developer.

Forget Spotify, this is your weekend sorted. Just leave the tab open as you browse other sites or, like me, spend a happy half hour changing the background theme or clicking through 'Poolside TV' and the many tongue-in-cheek '80s and '90s clips (some very entertaining indeed). It's an endearing trip down memory lane, back to a time when you begged your dad to buy a better graphics card or the latest quick-firing joystick.

I guess we could all do with a lift right now. The Poolside FM refresh couldn't have come at a better time. Marty adds: "The new website is quite an upgrade from the old one, using the UI of an early ‘90s Mac operating system, with some summer Poolside FM twists.

"I made a whole new playlist with hundreds of tracks and spent hours on YouTube finding videos that made me smile. Our designer Niek Dekker and our developer Lewis King have put a ton of work into making it look and function like this, we laugh about how many hours we’ve put into a website that won’t make any money whatsoever (quite the opposite), but if it makes people feel good, that’s a huge success for us."


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