INTERVIEW: Polar (04/11/2018)

Credit: Gav Thane / Tom Adam Green

All has been quiet on the Polar front as of late. They haven’t released anything since 2016’s ‘No Cure No Saviour’, and there’s been little information as to what they’ve been up to – until now, having just dropped new single ‘Drive’ and announced that there’s a new record on the way. Hallelujah!

We caught up with the band backstage at the London date of the Impericon Never Say Die! Tour to find out what we can expect from the new album, and what’s taken them so long to get back to us.

DP!: So how does it feel to be playing the Never Say D- are you okay, Tom?!

Tom: Argh!
Nick: He’s just whacked his head on the bottle opener.

T: Fuck!

N: Why would you mount that on a wall there?!
Fabian: Are you okay?

N: How annoying is it when something like that hurts you, and you just wanna hurt it back, but you can’t?
Woody: Yeah, that bottle opener won’t feel pain. You could rip it off and throw it off the roof, it still won’t care. It’ll just end up in a skip.

N: Yeah. Beat it up, Tom.

DP!: Anyway, how does it feel to be playing Never Say Die?

N: It’s amazing. It’s such a great tour to be on. We did it a couple years ago with like all the death metal bands, Whitechapel and Thy Art Is Murder, and bands like that. It was a great tour and they were great dudes, but this one’s definitely a bit more fitting for us. It’s really exciting, and we already knew Casey and Being As An Ocean from touring with them before. Tom knows Northlane quite a bit from touring in his old band too. So, yeah, it’s nice. It’s good vibes.

W: It works very well. It makes sense and it’s very well put together, every band’s got a different dynamic and I think that really makes the show flow very well.

T: I saw the line-up and said “yes” to it immediately! 

DP!: How did your new record deal with Arising Empire/Nuclear Blast come about?

W: Pretty standard really, wasn’t it?
N: I think it was pretty standard! Tom, your head is really worrying me now. Are you bleeding?
Tom: No, I keep checking. I’m okay. But can you say that I am in the interview, because it will sound cool.

N: Yeah, say he’s split his head open.

T: But, anyway, our manager got in touch with the label and we sorted it out very amicably. We were in between deals. We’d just finished with our other label, and we were keen to work with a label that was based in the UK or at least on the continent, just for communication. And with Nuclear Blast, we hit it off straight away. I think we were all on the same page immediately with what we wanted.
W: It was the right label to go to at the right time.

T: Everything just made sense. The roster they had at the time really felt like a great fit for us, and it feels like we’re moving in the right direction.
F: Nothing but good things so far. Everything’s working like clockwork.

DP!: Tell us about ‘Drive’. It’s a love song, so a bit of a new direction for you.

W: Yeah. We just wanted to make money, so thought we’d write love songs.
N: I think we just wanted to have a bit more emotion in the music.

F: We had a rule when we started writing, and we don’t really do rules, but the one rule we did have for this album was that lyrically it had to be personal. We did a bit of writing about big ideas, and things that were larger than the band, and there are just a lot of bands that do it better. We just wanted to write some lyrics that were really personal to us. We all write the lyrics together pretty much.

T: I think a big chunk of it comes from Woody obviously being the singer, but every member’s chipping in. It’s very collaborative.

W: It’s a collaborative record we’ve done vocally and lyrically, which is good, because everyone’s got their own touch on it. If there’s something I’m not touching on and someone else is then it’s good to have that scope. That’s what makes good songs.

N: It is meant to be emotional. Hopefully other people will get that and understand it from their point of view and make a connection to it.

DP!: So there’s finally a new album on the way then. The big question is: where have you been?

W: Where have we been?!

T: Well, I’ve been in Jonny’s basement for about six months working on the album! We haven’t stopped. It looks like we’ve stopped, but we finished our last tour and immediately got writing. We’ve still been together, we’ve just been writing.
N: We made a conscious effort to have a little break though, didn’t we?

W: Yeah, I think it’s healthy for a band to disappear. It’s good to go away and come back, unified and with something new to show. I think it’s important for bands to become missed. That’s what makes it more interesting when they do come back. Taking a step out of the public eye is never a bad thing, but we haven’t stopped.
T: We just didn’t put it on the internet.

N: And all of that was conscious, we said we wouldn’t go social media mad like you do when you’re on a campaign. We didn’t want to put any pictures up of us writing or in the studio, we just wanted to get it done and start with a bang with the single, so everything we had would be worth people looking at. There’s lots more to come.

DP!: What can we expect from this new record?

T: That it IS coming. It’s in a Dropbox somewhere.
F: It’s definitely more expansive in terms of ideas. From the lyrical content that touches on far more personal things, which I think portrays a better picture. It stretches to the music as well, there’s things we put in there, different vibes, to just make the sound wider. We’ve changed tuning as well. It’s definitely heavier.

T: To be cliché: the heavy bits are heavier, the melodic bits are more melodic.
F: The melodic bits are better as well. I think our melody lines have become a lot better.

N: Essentially, we’ve grown.

W: I think it’s definitely a symbol of our band maturing, as people and as musicians. The angst has worn off, I’m not angry at my parents anymore! As maturity comes, so does writing more mature songs.
F: With getting slightly older, there’s different things that happen to us in life, and it’s good to be able to have this forum to be able to say what you want about that. Before it was things that we noticed in the wider world that we had feelings about, but this time it’s about things that have happened to us. It’s a lot more personal, we have a lot more vested interest in the songs.
N: There’s a new dynamic. There’s some electro stuff in there that we’ve really played upon. It became a bit of a running theme through the record, and that’s a dynamic that people might find a bit surprising.
T: We ended up with a bit of an 80s vibe, didn’t we?!

W: We just played around with it and it just felt right, and it made sense having it as a constant theme through the record. So we’re really proud of it, it’s definitely a different record to anything else we’ve ever done. It’s much more expansive, it’s opening the blinkers a bit more. I think when people hear it they’ll be impressed. Well, I hope they are, otherwise we’ve just sat around in a basement for the last six months for nothing.

DP!: So, is there anything else in the pipeline?

T: Well, we’re playing a new song tonight.
N: Yeah, there’s another new song in the set that we’re playing live along with ‘Drive’. But yeah, we can’t really say too much at the moment. We wanna put stuff out when it’s necessary.
T: Everything at the moment is just about ‘Drive’. We’ve put that out, the album will follow, and everything will start to make sense with the sound and the visuals that have been created for ‘Drive’. It will all start to make sense. We’ve put a lot more thought into the overall than any other project we’ve ever done, so you’ll see links and crossovers from things you see and hear. There’s a lot of connections. That’s what excites me about this album.

W: All will make sense soon.

The band’s yet-to-be-announced fourth album is expected to be released in early 2019 through Arising Empire/Nuclear Blast Records.

More details surrounding the album, including pre-order options, will be confirmed in the coming weeks.