For the stargazers amongst us, Polaris is the Northern Star, set above the north celestial pole. It apparently stands almost motionless, with all the stars in the Northern Sky appearing to rotate around it. It seems befitting then, that Midlands (UK) band The Polaris have perhaps derived their name from this stellar reference. In a world increasingly teeming with multiple genres of music, sub-genres within sub-genres, it's poignant to come across an Indie Rock band built solely on evocative rock. The solid foundations of momentous guitar riffs, depth of emotion in the vocals and to put it simply, great melodies, give the band a tangibility, a sense of realness, reminiscent of rock from eras past (as if on cue, the radio has suddenly started playing 'In Between Days' by The Cure, I kid you not). Where others are filling up the sky, The Polaris is shining just that bit brighter.
Not without their share of emotional ups and downs, there is sincerity to the music that no doubt comes from the light and shade of life's adversities. It's hard to manufacture this for audiences. It's a rare ability to plunge listeners into the deep waters of tracks like 'Nowhere to Run' and 'One More Night' and deliver them back out, moved on a level more than what we feel in everyday existence. It's raw, it's pure and it's incredibly heartfelt. Like watching a beautifully crafted screenplay, the building crescendo in the music takes you on a melodically driven journey. It's anthemic rock in its non-angst filled best. There are certain songwriters that can capture the heartache and fragility of life. Fewer can extract the potency and create three minute sojourns into what might appear as vastly different worlds, but are really so close to home for all of us. The Polaris is doing exactly this.
Stewart, The Polaris
Lead vocalist Stewart, shared the band's philosophy and some of the emotional resonance behind their music and their lives.
Question: I watched your 'vlog' (great idea by the way!) and you mentioned that your new single is coming out next week ('Nowhere to Run')? How are the band feeling about this and how is recording in general going? Congrats on getting number #1 on the Reverbnation Indie charts!
The Polaris: Thank you, we are a little unsure what to expect by going independent and releasing the debut ourselves, and of course deciding on which of our tracks to actually release. In this case we have chosen Nowhere to Run which is brooding anthem to lead off with. As for recording, we much prefer to play live and bounce off the energy of each other and the crowd. So it has been a little bit of a learning curve to say the least, especially in trying to get that 'live emotion' across.
Question: I'm sorry to hear about your brother, it's no doubt a hard time for him and for the band (his brother has Cerebral Palsy, and is in critical care). How do the band all know each other and how did the band start? What other projects do members work on?
The Polaris: It's a tough time at the moment, and of course very stressful managing full time employment, and the band on top of personal issues such as this. But we all support each other a lot, and have done so over the years no matter what, we are like a family. Stewart and Dan formed the Band at a local running track (Stewart is a UK athletics Qualified Sprint Coach and actually competes still himself), as the two got talking about learning guitar etc. Stewart had written some lyrics to a few songs, notably one called 'Daddy' which chronicles his childhood and he asked Dan to put some music to it (Daddy is featured on the forthcoming EP). The rest quickly followed, Gaz the bassist went to school with Dan and Ewan is the son of one of their former schoolteachers.
Question: What does 2015 look like? Are you all keen to get out and do some more gigs?
The Polaris: 2015 see's the release of the EP in January; it also sees Ewan completing his Degree at university and then a summer full of gigging and local Festivals. We all love to GIG, as stated above about recording, we bounce off the crowd and each other (not literally of course) and although we all have completely separate jobs and trying to get by in life, it's music we all live for, and the passion and fulfilment that it brings. We just hope we can continue to build on this year and keep it going.
Question: What informs your songwriting and how does that process work with multiple band members?
The Polaris: We all have input in some way into the songs, but it depends on how the spark has derived. The Lyrics are written by Stewart, and are always based on his personal endeavours, as most singers do. He channels his ups and downs into his lyrics, either from his childhood or the troubles of love life. The music is fairly organic with the whole band, as we can usually feel where it needs to go and everyone will have input. We have a great ability to 'jam' from a small idea brought by anyone, and let it grow into something. Then we chop it, and change it and see if it's useable. We have written songs purely from a random bass run being played whilst Gaz is setting up and testing his kit. Same with Ewan on the drums just messing with a fill. But mostly the music will be the ideas of Dan and Stewart from when they get together and hide away in Dan's music room.
Question: I believe you are based in the Midlands (Central UK), could you describe what the music scene is like there?
The Polaris: Well it depends on whom you talk too in regards to the music scene here. We are based in what previously has been a very industrial area that has suffered a lot of job cuts and industry changes. This has shaped some of the music greatly. We are kind of in a music revival at present with new venues opening up all the time and trying to drive our City forward, the community from this is very good and everyone is holding each other up.
There is a heavy influence of the old 'Brit Pop' 'Indie' and also Rock/Metal, and we never fit directly into any given genre properly, we tend to play the song in whichever way it feels it needs to be to say what we want it too.