Thursday, 1 September 2016

Eight questions with Polar Front

(c) Marina Fucito
1. Who are Polar Front and where did the name come from? (a short introduction)

Polar Front are an alternative three piece, combining electronic and raw instrumentation to create atmospheric melodies, a hard-hitting rhythm section and soulful vocals. Inspired by the likes of, Jack Garratt, The Maccabees, Daughter and PVRIS, Polar Front take contrasting genres to develop their own unique and modern sound. 

With their music featuring on two of Vicky Pattinson's 'Honeyz' television adverts, playing the likes of Wychwood Festival and Sofar Sounds London, and working closely with Roli, Polar Front have already booked some impressive jobs in their first year as a band. 

Made up of singer Sophie-Rose Goldsworthy (23), guitarist Perry Sangha (23) and drummer Liam O’Halloran (23) the three piece create backing tracks that drummer Liam triggers before each song, to play along to live, to fill in the missing instrumentation, for example bass. The name came from a friend of theirs who once mentioned how “Polar Front” would be a great name for a band, and after his permission the three decided to use it themselves. In meteorology, the polar front is the boundary between the polar cell and the Ferrel cell in each hemisphere.

2. Your debut single ‘Eye to Eye’ has been out for a few months now - how have you found the response has been?

The response to ‘Eye to Eye’ has been fantastic, we expected local support, from friends and family and the regulars at our gigs, but we have had a lot of people from different towns, cities and even countries giving us some lovely feedback about it. It’s definitely the song in our set that gets people up and dancing, we’ve been told it’s very catchy, and often hear our friends with it stuck in their heads! 

In fact the other day, my (Sophie’s) friends were all at Centre Parcs celebrating a friends 21st, and I (Sophie) couldn’t make it due to a busy weekend of gigs, and they’d posted a live feed on Facebook of them all in the cabin dancing and singing along to it, it was brilliant!

3. Tell us a little about your songwriting process… does one person usually take the lead or is it a joint effort? Does the music come first or are the lyrics the initial element of a song for you guys?

Our song writing processes vary to be honest. It could be Perry that starts it off with a guitar riff or a chord progression, then the melody and percussion follows, or I (Sophie) can write a melody and lyrics and the boys will fill in the gaps instrumentally, and Liam is really into his books and poetry so he really helps with the lyrics too. It will always start as one tiny factor of the song though, for example a hook or a line of lyrics, and then we will jam it out until something works and we are happy.

4. How does it feel to know that your debut EP is due for release in a matter of weeks?! When was it recorded, and where? If there is an interesting story behind how you and any producers and session players met and started playing together, please do share!

The EP release is really starting to get exciting now, the whole idea started when our manager/producer Sam Bates suggested that we turn the September gigs into an EP launch at the beginning of August, and obviously we all wanted to. However only having a month as a deadline has really pushed us all to work hard! We have been working with Sam for around 9 months now, after we met at an acoustic gig in Swindon, he messaged us and since then we have pulled him in as our mentor/manager and producer. Without Sam we wouldn’t have been able to have this EP, let alone already have Eye to Eye out, he has really helped to develop and bring the best out in us, and is a very talented producer and musician, so that always helps when recording an EP! Due to busy schedules, we actually recorded the EP in a few days at Ladder Factory Studio’s, with Sam and Perry working hard leading up to the studio dates, to make sure as much as possible was pre-recorded so that we could get the vocal and most of the mixing done in the studio. We actually recorded most of the drums for the EP at my (Sophie’s) grandparent’s house in their swimming pool dome! It was amazing for reverb in there!

5. You’re launching the EP at a Songs of Praise show in Swindon on 15th September, before supporting at our huge O2 Oxford show with Homeplanetearth on 16th September. A pretty exciting couple of days we reckon! How are you getting ready for the shows?

We are releasing our debut EP “Polar Front 16916” on the 16th of September electronically, and at the Songs of Praise gig on the 15th of September we will be releasing the physical copies! We have been lucky enough to have a pretty packed summer with gigs and festivals, so we are well rehearsed for the O2 show and excited to get up there and play! We will however have brand new backing tracks, from the EP recordings to play with, as the ones we use at the moment are brilliant but we are always wanting to improve and sound better!

6. Who is your audience and how do you connect with your fans? Any crazy, fun, exciting stories are very welcome.

Our audience varies, as we try to cover as many genres of music as we can, we find that most people can find something that they like within our music. We have been described as refreshing before by a heavy rock fan and complimented by a classical piano teacher, so it is hard to describe it under one category. As a band in Swindon, you find you that you’ll know most of the other bands as well, everyone is really supportive of each other, and after a show together you can often find yourself with a following from an audience initially there to see someone else, and as far as online support goes, I think we all try to share and support each other’s success, and you find you increase your audience and type of following that way as well.

7. What does your ideal gig look like? Is there a band you would love to play a support set for, or perhaps a local band you’ve love to play alongside?

Our ideal gig will always be a sold out one. Every band wants to play the huge venues that hold thousands, but unless you can pack it out it won’t have the same effect as a local pub where there’s no room to breathe it’s that packed! So as long as there’s a good audience there and everyone is having fun, we are happy to play anywhere and everywhere. We all have differences and similarities in our music tastes but I think we can agree that we would love to support PVRIS and Jack Garratt, their music is brilliant and they are a huge inspiration to us. Locally we always love gigs with our friends All Ears Avow, Yves and SN Dubstation, all with completely different music genres, but great bands to watch and play with!

8. Aside from the EP launch, what does the rest of the year hold for you, and looking towards 2017?

For the rest of the year I think we will continue to write and play shows, we are hoping to release a remixes EP of the one we launch in September towards the end of the year. We think it would be really interesting to work with different people and have their take on our songs and to see what they could do with them. We also want to pack out our Summer17 dates as fast as possible, we really loved all of the festivals and shows that we have played this year, and want to make sure we have it all again and more!

Polar Front support homeplanetearth at their huge Oxford show upstairs at the O2 Academy on 16th September... tickets for that one here, and we've also got some tickets for their Swindon EP launch the day before here.

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