At this years Camden Rocks Festival we were lucky enough to sit down and have a chat with the boys in Polar after their set. You can have a read of what we thought of their set as well as see some exclusive photos of the day here! For now, have a read about how 2015 has been for Polar so far and what big plans they have for the rest of the year!
Rocksins: So how was your set today?
Woody (Vocals): Awesome, absolutely awesome. Better than we expected, we’ve had some time off since we finished our tour so for us today was a bit sudden and rushed but the volume of people that came to see us and how much fun we had, it was definitely a great success.
Tom (Guitar): Yeah, that was one of the best UK shows we’ve played in a good while.
Fabien (Guitar): It’s always quite hard to tell how many people have actually come to see your band and how many people are just checking your band out at festivals, especially at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, you never know how it’s going to go but today was great.
Rocksins: You’re standard Polar show would definitely be in a venue smaller than today’s, do you approach shows like today any differently to more intimate performances?
Tom: Absolutely, we very rarely get to play in venues that big, if we do it’s supporting bigger bands or festivals like this, it’s definitely different and you’ve got to approach it in a slightly different manner but I think we still have a kind of intimacy.
Woody: I think today is a good testament to where our band is going, we’re starting to get more people behind this band, we love the smaller venues but it’s nice to know we can actually start to play these bigger venues and have people in them who actually care about our band, they know all the words and sing along.
Fabien: It was a conscious decision that with the latest album, the songs were designed to be played in a bigger venue, they were bigger and more anthemic obviously, they were designed for venues like today and I think this helps us utilise the space better on a bigger stage, the tiny shows are great and hectic but we do love to have the space to move around and really perform.
Tom: We love the craziness of small shows, honestly it’s what keeps us going but sometimes it’s nice to play a big stage and really be recognised a bit.
Rocksins: Are there any bands you’ve seen or really want to see today?
All: While She Sleeps!
Nick (Drums): Bullet For My Valentine.
Tom: The 16 year old in me really needs to see Bullet For My Valentine (laughs).
Woody: I think a day like today is great because with it opening up so many venues, you end up going to see bands you’ve never heard of or liked before and then you find a diamond in the rough. So yeah there are definitely bands we want to see but I’m excited to just float around and see bands I’ve never heard of or seen before.
Nick: It is cool doing festivals like this because your friends are always there, you don’t get to hang out loads but at these festivals everyone knows each other and it’s cool to have a chance to hang out and see your friends band who you don’t get to see loads. Yesterday I went down to see the guys in Young Guns, I don’t get to see them loads but it’s good to catch up because I love them and they were fucking great.
Woody: Like today I finally got to see Lock & Key and they smashed it, I don’t get the chance to see those boys much so it’s nice to catch up and get to see them play.
Tom: Today’s so varied though I mean, the band who played after us was one of the Ramones and that’s incredible! And he actually watched us and actually enjoyed it! (laughs)
Rocksins: You’ve recently finished a pretty extensive run of shows around the UK and Europe, how were they?
Fabien: Europe was insane, so good, a real eye opener for us. Like we’ve said we tour a lot and we support a lot of bands in various venues but when you go out on your own it’s so different and it’s so great when a lot of kids do turn up to see you.
Tom: When you play these shows supporting bands and there’s loads of people there you can have a great show but you never actually know if it’s because of you or the band above you. This tour we just did was all us, if there were a lot of people in the venue it was down to us and same if there wasn’t many people. But we were blown away, it gave us that extra gratification and that extra bit of drive.
Woody: It’s also a really nice way to round off Shadowed By Vultures.
Nick: We released a video about our last Shadowed By Vultures show at the Barfly and I was watching clips from the tour and had to question if it was really our shows!
Tom: It’s just we did that, we built that and it really means a lot.
Rocksins: A lot of bands would struggle going from home turf to a different country, but this has never really seemed to be the case with you guys, how do the European shows compare for you?
Woody: Honestly home is harder, it’s really tough, everyone knows it and we’ve all seen it but with the UK, unless you’re promoting something like an album or single, it’s hard to pull people out of their homes and to the show. In Europe, they don’t get to see you so often so when you’re there it’s an occasion, we can play the UK whenever but with Europe the fans are there because it’s such rare occasion and they know it’ll take you another 12 months to come there again, so the Europe shows were rammed because they felt they needed to be there but the UK unless you’re really promoting something, it’s hard to pull people into venues.
Tom: We have some incredible fans in the UK, some of the most dedicated fans going, we know them personally and they’re incredible people, but it generally so much harder to fill the shows, people in the UK just don’t seem to want to come but in Europe we go and play a show and people always come out. I would go as far as saying they have a healthier music scene, it’s more like a community, like what it used to be like about five years ago here.
Fabien: It’s like what you said with going to new territories, we went to Romania for the first time and it was rammed out at the show, and that was one of the biggest shows of the tour, 400 odd people had turned up to a place none of us had ever stepped foot in before, you then compare that with the UK where people struggle to go half an hour down the road to their local venue, this is why venues are closing down all around.
Nick: If the UK scene isn’t careful, all the small venues will close.
Tom: And these venues are what drive the new music! If you start a band and do what Polar did and what my old band did, you have to start in the small rooms, you can’t just jump in at the big shows and if all these small venues keep closing, that’s going to die.
Rocksins: This has all been part of your touring cycle for Shadowed By Vultures, and your pretty much ending it with a London show in June doing the album in full, how are you feeling about that show?
Woody: Stoked! Honestly really happy, we’re going to be playing songs that we’ve never done before and probably never will do again, particularly with Ellie (guest vocals) on “Before The Storm”. We’ve got tracks on the album that we thought would never see the light of day, we love songs but they’d never fit in a normal set, so this show is captivating us because we’re going to be doing something we’ve never done before and at the same time our fans will be seeing something they’ve never seen before.
Tom: It’s probably going to be the last show we play quite a lot of tracks from this album, obviously the next tour will be on the back of our new album, there’s going to be songs that we’ve been playing for years that will have to go to make way for newer tracks, so this bookmarks the end really.
Nick: That’s what I love about this show is it really ends the cycle, closes one chapter, starts another.
Woody: Exactly, our new chapter has new friends, new blood and everyone’s got their new heads on for this record so it’s really exciting.
Fabien: There is a lot of hard work to be done though, parts of some of these songs were literally written in the studio, no rehearsing, nothing. So now we have to actually perform them live and with two new members.
Tom: When I joined, I had to learn this whole set, I knew the songs because I was a fan before I joined but taking and then having to learn another five plus songs, just for this one show, it adds a lot of pressure for me and Johnny, but we’re excited and it’s going to be worth it.
Rocksins: What brought up the idea to do this album in full?
All: Our Manager (laughs)
Tom: If I’m being honest, in my previous band we did it for our first album, it went down really well and we had this idea to end it before we went into the studio for our second album, to do an album show and it went really well for us, our drummer became Polar’s manager so obviously just looking at what’s worked in the past and trying it now.
Nick: We did it with our last album as a hometown show too in Guildford, we did Iron Lungs back to front.
Woody: It’s just nice to close the book knowing that you’ve properly finished the chapter.
Nick: It’s also just the chance to hear stuff you’d never hear otherwise, say “Our Legacy” is your favourite song, last track on the album and we never play it so we might as well give people the chance to hear it.
Tom: Case and point, it works for the anniversaries of albums. We went to Download festival last year and saw Linkin Park play Hybrid Theory front to back, that was incredible! All of us grew up on that album and you get to go see them play all these songs you’ve never heard live before and that’s an incredible idea! I guess maybe we’re a little tiny bit smaller than Linkin Park but taking that idea and having it in a small venue is a great thing to do.
Rocksins: Although you’ve played majority of the album live before and the songs you haven’t are more of a departure from your usual sound such as “Before The Storm”, how do you think these will translate to a live show?
Fabien: There’s a big interest in that song in particular, it’s a lot of people’s favourite, personally it’s my favourite song on the album and again it’s something that is going to put us outside our comfort zone. We’ve never claimed to be a certain type of band, we’re a band who writes music, that’s all! If our next album is acoustic and that’s what we want to do then so be it! (Laughs)
Nick: Just look at bands like Thrice, none of their records are the same, they just write pure music and look how big that band are, because they’ve got something for everyone!
Tom: Every time we get labelled as a punk, hardcore or metal band, I hate it, why can’t you just allow a band to be who they are!
Fabien: I know majority of our stuff is a certain way and yes we’re a heavy band but there’s always freedom to write whatever the hell you want, take “Paradise”, no singing, no drums, nothing, it’s just instrumental, we had “Iron Lungs” on the last album, it may happen again on this album who knows.
Nick: We wrote “Before The Storm” and it was going to be another “Iron Lungs” because we didn’t feel like it needed screaming, and then the producer suggested getting a girl involved, he had the perfect girl so we just went with it and Ellie came down to do that track.
Rocksins: You’ve been hinting online about starting your third album, have you started writing at all or are your planning on going away to do it all once these shows are over?
All: Oh yeah!
Woody: We’ve definitely started but I want to be vague with it and not give all the cards away but it’s heavier in places, it’s lighter in places and it’s more melodic in places but generally it’s our band evolving. We’ve got new members, new ideas, it’s all fresh and it is there to tear people’s heads off once it arrives.
Rocksins: This is the first time writing with your current line up, are you expecting it to be a different experience to what you’ve done in the past?
Fabien: Definitely, it’s designed to turn some heads.
Rocksins: So finally, are planning to take your time and writing the album or have you got anything else planned?
Tom: We really did want to but when you release an album and you’re not a massive band like the Foo Fighters or someone, you can’t do what the hell you want and you need help which means with so many wheels in motion, we’re going to be bringing out an album sooner rather than later.
Nick: And that is it! That’s all we’ll say on the subject!
Woody: People will be hearing some new music… At some point! (laughs).
Polar with be playing their “Shadowed By Vultures” show at the Camden Barfly on the 18th of June along with Giants, Lock & Key and Young Kings.