PHOTO CREDIT: Niall Lea
GIVEN that their new single is called…
Gold; I was curious whether we could expect a modern cover of an old classic: a Spandau Ballet hit given a 2017 twist. As Polar States stress: it is a completely different beast and that is a good thing. It is a song that sparkles and gleams; it bounces off the screen and gets inside the head. No images of huge 1980s hair and overly-dramatic choruses: just a solid group of lads providing exceptional originality and brilliance. I ask the Liverpool band about touring and how it feels being celebrated by D.J.s across BBC Radio 1 and ‘6 Music. They offer advice to new musicians coming through and provide a list of artists to watch out for. Polar States explain what it has been like playing some big gigs and what we can expect to hear from their forthcoming E.P., Electric.
Hi, chaps. How are you guys? How have your weeks been?
Hi! Really busy but it’s brilliant to be working on new music and getting ready for festival season!
For those new to your music, can you introduce yourselves, please?
We’re basically a guitar band with a mixture of slow and fast songs.
Gold is your new single. I am guessing it isn’t a loving reworking of the Spandau Ballet classic. What is the derivation of the song?
I knew when we called it that we’d get this!
It’s about people being what you should value – not money.
The song, to me, has glistening synths. and seems to blend the Pop heritage of Liverpool with the colourful, vibrant Electro.-Pop/Indie scene emerging right now. Would you say that is a fair assessment?
I think, if that’s what you hear, who am I to argue! We never really aimed to fit in a scene but it’s cool that so many people are enjoying the music we’re making.
Electric, your upcoming E.P., is out on 28th of this month. Can you tell us about the sort of songs and ideas expressed in the E.P.?
There’s a mixture of themes across the E.P. and that was intentional. Everything was inspired by (just) being happy with where we are as a band right now. Shimmer is about post-sex in a car – but we made a part one and a part two because we had so many versions of that song with different messages.
Gold is about valuing what you have right in front of you – people over money – and Electric is a pretty obvious song about someone grabbing hold of your heart.
Looking at previous songs such as Elizabeth and Concrete one cannot help noticing they are all one-worded titles. Is that conscious decision to be focused and economic?
I do like concepts but we have songs with more than one-word titles – they’ve just not been released yet. Our songs usually have a few titles until we settle on one. In the end, you just go with what feels right.
Not many bands can say they have been championed by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stevens and ‘6 Music’s Steve Lamacq. Is it quite daunting having the big D.J.s backing your music or does it give you a determination to keep playing and gigging?
I think we have a sense of belief in each other and the songs we write – so that what keeps us pushing forward. But, it’s incredible to have the support of people at such high levels so early on. It’s class hearing your songs on national radio.
I know you have an E.P. about to arrive. In the back of your mind, are you looking ahead to the next work or focused on getting Electric out and toured?
We’re constantly writing so we’re already thinking about the next release but we’re also really looking forward to playing the songs live.
On that note, in the next couple of months, you are touring around the north. Any particular dates you are looking forward to?
It’s all about festival-season really, now, and we can’t wait.
Festivals are great because there’s so little pressure on you as a band: you just turn up and enjoy it.
PHOTO CREDIT: Niall Lea
With such a loyal London following; will you be heading down south to play anytime soon?
We’ll be back towards the end of the year when we next do a U.K. tour. We love playing London. We did Sofar Sounds recently: a totally unplugged acoustic gig in a packed-out pub. It was daunting to be so exposed but brilliant at the same time.
Last year, you supported The Japanese House, appeared at Liverpool Sound City and made your name known to some big radio decision-makers. What has been your career highlight so far, would you say?
I think, at the moment, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster so every achievement feels like a highlight. Headlining the Liverpool 02 Academy was incredible because it’s one of our favourite venues – and hearing your tracks on Radio 1 is undeniably surreal.
It might sound like a cliché music interview question, but I’m a bit shameless like that! If Polar States could host a dinner date and you could select the artists, past or present you’d invite, who would you select?
Anyone who’s down to earth can come along. Liam and Noel G(allagher) are sound but Adele seems pretty real too, so she can come and drink plenty of wine.
The lads from Catfish (and the Bottlemen) are top class. Harry Styles seems like he’d be a laugh; Dave Grohl would have pure stories and Halsey would probably cause chaos.
So, there you go, and eclectic bunch – can you arrange this?
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
If you had to select the one album that has meant most to you; what would it be and why?
The Bends by Radiohead. It’s slow but so powerful, engaging; weird, euphoric and dark. It encompasses everything you can aim for as an artist: an album of experience.
Is there any advice you’d give to artists coming through at the moment?
Two years ago, I met a guy in a bar who told me the best thing you can do as a musician is to give up your influences. It’s so incredibly hard to do and we’re miles off, but we’ll get there.
Finally, and for being good sports, you can each select a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Black Star – Radiohead
Loveblood – Sundara Karma
Colours – Halsey
Karma Seeker – Vant
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