MUSIC INTERVIEW: POLAR
Photo Credit: Tom Green
Gearing up to release Nova, their most honest record to date, POLAR are ready and excited to show the world what they’ve been working on since 2016’s No Cure, No Saviour. We caught up with vocalist Adam Woodford to talk about their new direction, worthwhile challenges and more.
You release your new album Nova very soon, how are you all feeling – excited? Nervous?
Excited! We’ve had the album for ages, so I’m quite excited for other people to hear it and start making opinions on it, whether good or bad. But it’s exciting because it’s been a long time and a big lead up to us actually releasing it. I’m just really interested to see what people make of what we’ve done. So yeah, it’s an exciting prospect.
It’s been almost three years since you released your last album, you say you’ve had this record ready for a while?
Yeah, we’ve been writing it for about two years and it’s been recorded now for little under a year. I guess we just went away and thought about what we were doing musically, lyrically and vocally. So there’s been a lot more of a thought process going into everything and we’ve just taken a little while to do it. But I guess we decided that we needed to disappear and be missed, we hadn’t really taken a step back from doing tours, being out on the road so much, so it was good to take a step back from that and actually concentrate on writing music.
It’s also important to take that step back and recharge your batteries a little bit.
Yeah that is the main thing, it’s nice to reflect back on tour. Well…whatever you remember of them anyway!
We’ve listened to your new record a few times and we’re enjoying what we’re hearing. Compared to your previous material you’ve been writing about things that are a lot more personal to you, why do you think that’s changed?
For us it was actually a conscious decision to do it. We got into a position when we were writing where I think we needed to write more personally, rather than worldly about everything. A lot of stuff has changed and personal situations have changed in three years, and I think the release on this record and the ability to put it into words and into context was what needed to happen, for us to feel like we could move on and draw a line through the sand where we were. I think the record is basically a display of where we were and for us to be able to get that off our chest, and lift that weight off us personally. So it was a very conscious decision for us to do it and we’d never really written such a personal album in the past. It was nice to actually open up and be able to do it!
So your most honest record to date then!
Did you find that because you were writing about personal things that it was a lot more challenging?
Massively. I think when you’re having to write about something that has happened to you, or writing about something that has affected you personally, or the whole band, it’s hard to put it into words, because sometimes it’s hard to portray the idea and meaning so that it comes across and people actually understand what you’re talking about. I think with that challenge it’s made the songs that much more personal. We’ve really dug deep to make them the best they can be lyrically, and to describe the situations we’ve been in and the effects they’ve had on us over time. So it was a real challenge, but a worthwhile challenge.
In terms of the record’s sound, you’ve kept things heavy but you’ve experimented and made it more accessible. What in particular over the last three years has influenced that sound that you’ve developed?
I think the older you get, your music tastes can change and you can end up listening to a lot of different stuff. I know we’ve all been quite influenced by the rebirth of that whole 80’s synth sound that’s come out recently. We were all really interested in bringing that into our music, which wasn’t the easiest of tasks…when you’re writing quite heavy music it’s hard to put an 80’s synth sound throughout it. But the idea was to basically try and pull together everything that has influenced us in the last three years and put it into a new concept, and I think that’s where the evolution of our sound is. I think it’s interesting not just for us, but from our listeners’ point of view as well.
Definitely, you see a lot of bands surprising fans at the moment by developing their sound in ways you might not expect. It’s great though, music is so easy to access these days so people have much more varied tastes, so if you can add other elements to your sound then you should!
Yeah, we went into the record with an idea that we were never going to shun or knock an idea back, but also with the idea that we’d be very critical of ourselves. But then if somebody’s idea didn’t work and it got knocked back it was nothing personal, it just wasn’t going to fit. However, with that open-mindedness going into this record I think it allowed us to explore a lot of avenues musically, and that’s paid off on the record as a whole.
In the run up to the release there have been a couple of singles, have you noticed a positive reaction from your fans?
Definitely, everybody seems to be on board with it. I think it’s interesting, people are really enjoying the fact that we’re back, we have something new, it’s something different for people to get on board with and get to grips with, and by us challenging ourselves musically and creating what we have, I think that it’s pushed us into a much wider market and it’s caught the attention of a lot more people. Whether it be the fact that we’ve added a lot more electronica in there, we’ve developed the idea of making much more melodic choruses, and generally putting more melody into the whole album. I think people are enjoying it, it’s definitely had the strongest reaction of any record to date.
Amazing! Can you tell us a fact or story about the album that we might not know?
[Thinks for a few moments] There aren’t really many facts or stories! It was a long two years or going backwards and forwards. I guess with working more on melody we worked with Ellie Price, who is in a band called Signals, she came in and helped do the choruses with me. She actually sang the choruses first, so I had to sing to her, which is never the easiest task because she’s an incredible singer. That pushed me into a much more melodic style of screaming, because I was following her lead as opposed to her following mine. I guess that’s a fact!
Does Ellie feature on other parts of the album?
Yeah, that’s her! She features on quite a lot of it to be fair, maybe about 80% of it. You’ll find that she’s either there in the background or you can hear her a little bit more at the front in some of the songs. She’s like the sixth member of our band.
Following the album release you’re heading out on tour. Which unreleased tracks off the album are you most excited to play live?
I’m very looking forward to playing Devil, purely because it’s a very metal track. It’s something we’ve never done and I just know what the reaction will be to it live. I think we’ll be playing another song off the album called Adore, which for me is probably the rockier side of things, again I’d be interested to see what people’s reactions are live to the choruses, well to those two songs, because they’re quite uplifting choruses, and we always thrive on playing these big choruses and people get behind them quite quickly.
So this is your fourth album and you’ve seen the music industry change a lot, what is the most valuable thing that the experience has taught you?
Just to be very humble and level headed. I think that’s something that we’ve learnt. When you get further and further into your career and things start to progress quite quickly, you get yourself into a bigger environment whether that be live, or online, and you need to keep yourself grounded and humble, because at the end of the day the people who are supporting and buying into your band are the people who got you there. They appreciate when you are humble and always give time to people, that’s a valuable lesson I have learned over time. You can be very foolish at the beginning, because it can all be very smoke and mirrors, but over the last ten years we’ve had clarity, we’re still here making music and whether it be magazines, fans or record labels, they are the people who have invested interest, money and time into your band, so you have to stay humble.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to somebody who is starting out?
Keep your feet on the ground, never get above your station and just enjoy every experience whether it’s good or bad. Don’t be bogged down with the idea that you’re not progressing as quickly as some bands, or playing the festivals that some bands are playing, everything that you do in music you should appreciate. That’s an ability that a lot of bands don’t have.
Well thank you for taking the time to chat to us today! Do you have a final message for our readers?
Thank you very much for supporting us over the last ten years, and thank you to everybody who has taken the time to check out the singles from the record, I hope they like Nova!
Interview by: Hannah Gillicker
POLAR‘s new album Nova is due for release on 5th April via Arising Empire, available to purchase HERE.
See POLAR live at one of the following dates:
Fri 5th – GUILDFORD, UK – Casino (album release show w/ Loathe, Seasonal, The Deadlights)
with special guests TRIPSITTER
Fri 3rd – LONDON, UK – Boston Music Room
Sat 4th – ANTWERP, BE – Kavka
Sun 5th – HAMBURG, DE – Hafenklang
Mon 6th – COLOGNE, DE – MTC
Tue 7th – NUREMBERG, DE – Z-Bau
Wed 8th – PRAGUE, CZ – Underdogs
Thu 9th – BERLIN, DE – Musik & Frieden
Fri 10th – LEIPZIG, DE – Naumanns
Sat 11th – ESSEN, DE – Cafe Nova
Sun 12th – HANNOVER, DE – Lux
Mon 13th – MUNICH, DE – Backstage
Tue 14th – AARAU, CH – Kiff
Wed 15th – WIESBADEN, DE – Schlachthof