Saturday, April 20, 2024

Interview with Polar

If you’ve been to a hardcore gig in the UK, chances are you’ve heard of Polar. Hell, you’ve probably seen them live at some point. The band seems to be omnipresent on the scene, touring so relentlessly it is not difficult to question their sanity. Their endurance has to be applauded, with the band smashing out high energy performances night after night, whether it be at Download or Joiners in Southampton. It’s a small wonder that they managed to also record a stunning follow up to their debut, called ‘Shadowed By Vultures’ and a video for the song ‘Black Days’.

Is this band even human? Or are they some kind of pitting, riff playing, stage-diving machines? We sat down with them to find out what made their machinery tick.

RAMzine: Tell us a little about how the band got together, and the journey that led you to where you are now.

“The band formulated from the ashes of previous bands we had been in from around our area. We had a line-up that produced an EP that actually got us out of our town and onto the touring circuit.

From then, there has been no turning back really. It’s been an up and down journey with several line-up changes that have not always been easy to deal with, but the core of the band have stuck together and now have a complete line-up. Tom Green and Oli Jeff, who we can truly say are our brothers and share the same vision that has never wavered from the 3 original members Adam Woodford, Nick Jones and Fabian Lomas.

Polar has always been a band that has had to work extra hard to make strides in the industry, a DIY ethic still remains in the bands ethos meaning we are truly appreciative when we are landed with the bigger prizes that the industry has to offer. The roots of the band are very much grounded. We are in a far happier place now than we ever have been and that will show in our future releases.”

polar tour

RAMzine: Apparently you had a bad start to your most recent European tour and had to cancel a show. Can you tell us what happened?

“Yeah we were due to get the train crossing from the UK to France however there was a security breach resulting in 6 hour delays. We had a show in Lille that night that we unfortunately were never going to make. France is a country that we would like to play more so losing this show was upsetting for us.

We were then informed that the next show was cancelled meaning we had a non-starter for the first 2 days of tour. Aswell as the financial ramifications it has for a band like ours we pride ourselves on the fact we have only cancelled maybe 3 shows in the 6 years we have toured as Polar all of which were for reasons beyond anything we could help. It all ended up ok as we were added to shows as we went which helped maintain financial stability and our reputation. We hate cancelling shows.”

RAMzine: Your touring schedule always seems pretty hectic. Do you ever get burned out, or is touring something you never get sick of?

“We spent years in our early twenties and in our teens craving a show, then we craved a couple of shows together, then we craved a tour! Years later and numerous countries travelled and we still love it.

We want this band so bad that we appreciate every show we have. We work so hard for the band and touring is one part of it. There are thousands of bands that have never toured and would love to be in our position so we definately feel blessed to be in a position where our songs allow us to travel the globe. Theres obviously times where it can be hard but as soon as your home after a tour, you miss it almost immediately and cant wait to get back out.”

RAMzine: Are there any places that you have visited on tour that you would love to go back to, or any that you hope never to see again?

“That’s our favourite part of being on the road – the amazing places you get to see. Touring Scandinavia was beautiful, travelling between cities around that part of the world was really something to take in. Berlin is one of our favourite cities and always love going back there. As for places we are not so fond of we’d probably say somewhere in the UK like Hereford or something.”

RAMzine: You recently played with the formidable Baby Godzilla. Did they get up to any crazy antics, on stage or backstage?

“We know a lot of bands with the reputation of being crazy, but you find as people they are generally just as normal as the rest of us. Trash Talk for example are great people despite their reputation as being wild.

Our only run in with Baby Godzilla resulted in some of our equipment being damaged after it being lent to them. Needless to say were not in a hurry to play with them again. Tour ettiquette and respect is something a lot of the newer bands lack.”

RAMzine: How was your set at Download? Did you meet anyone cool backstage?

Steel Panther were probably the coolest/funniest people we met. Their stage persona is definately carried with them off stage. You know when they have stepped into the room.”

RAMzine: You recently dropped a video for the song ‘Black Days’. How did the concept for the video come about?

“All of our previous videos were self done and so for this one we wanted to leave it totally in the hands of an art company that we knew were going to do a fantastic job. Previously all the ideas and props and locations were sourced by us to varying degrees of success. We couldnt be happier with how it came out it looks fantastic. We had very little input into the video which was refreshing for us and something we’d do again in future.”

RAMzine: You released your second album early in 2014. Have you been happy with the reception to the album?

“It’s been really amazing how well it has been received, it’s our most well received album so far. We have now seen the influx of support at our shows especially in Europe. Europe have really got on board with it and as a result we have found ourselves higher up on bills and festival slots.

It’s satisfying seeing the results of the hard work we put in. We hope the next release has as much if not more success, thats the plan for every band.”Shadowed By Vultures

RAMzine: You’ve previously said that you preferred ‘Shadowed By Vultures’ to your debut. Why is this?

“We feel the quality of the song writing is far more superior. We were not rushed on this record at all which meant more time spent on the finer details of the songs and artwork etc. We were able to go to a studio that we wanted and work with people that we felt would best transpose the songs onto record. We are extremely proud of all our songs and releases but ‘Shadowed By Vultures’ is one that will live longer in the memories of all involved including the fans old and new.

People talk about bands finding there sound but we prefer to look at it as a band should constantly evolve and write honestly. There are many factors that can determine how songs are written and how they turn out. I dont think you should try and write a particular type of album just write what the band is feeling at the time, that way your fans will stay loyal. Of course be current and up to date but the band has got its stature for a reason. I think bands should have faith in there song writing and produce the best they can at that time.”

RAMzine: Hardcore is undergoing something of a resurgence in the UK, with a lot of new bands who are doing interesting things with the genre starting to get noticed. As a band that has been associated with the genre for several years now, what’s your take on hardcore music in 2014?

“You are right there is a lot of interesting music coming out of the UK right now. It would be nice to see some of these bands stick around and have some longevity because with this comes respect from fans and the industry alike. Its good to see a lot of our friends doing well. Not sure if this helps the hardcore shows in the UK however, the UK seem to be a bit spoilt when it comes to shows resulting in lower crowds for bands that are in that middle teir. So many bands so much choice not enough money to go to all of them. If that’s as bad as it gets then I suppose the UK scene is in a healthy state.”

RAMzine: Finally, what are your plans for Polar’s future?

“We are going to see out the year touring wise, we are waiting on some big tour announcements for October, November and February too. We want to tour this album as much as possible as we feel it has life in it and needs to be performed to as many people as possible.

There will be a new album – when this is we are not sure and it certainly won’t be rushed into production. We are at a very important stage now, this next album needs to be the next level for us. ‘Shadowed By Vultures’ really made the band grow a lot in stature so we want the next level in terms of production, song quality and promotion. Our future is in our hands so its up to us where we want to take it. Becoming a successful headline act show be the end goal for any band and thats exactly where we want to get to.”

Mystery solved! The band are not, in fact robots, but are relentlessly passionate human beings that seem to survive on a complete devotion to what they do. ‘Taken By Vultures’ is available now, the band are somehow still on tour in Europe. Catch them in the UK next month at Hevy Fest!

Polar – Black Days – [Official Music Video]

Sean Lewis
Sean Lewis
General noise enthusiast and second-rate Lester Bangs wannabe.

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