Polarheart – Sound In The Signals Interview

Sydney electro-pop duo, Polarheart began writing together in 2013. Quickly growing their fan base and releasing new music led them to getting their song "Paralyse" featured on the Cameron Crowe and Showtime show Roadies. After much anticipation, Polarheart released their self-titled EP on July 15th. They were kind enough to tell us what it was like when they first started writing together, what the process of creating a song is like from the first thoughts to when it's completed, and what inspired their cool cover artwork.

You started writing together in 2013. You've quickly gained a following and high streaming numbers. Tell us about when you first started writing together and the music you create as Polarheart for those who may be unfamiliar.

It started out as a solo project of mine (Chris) with some songs I’d written and produced. I was session guitarist in one of Mary’s previous bands and through that we became good friends. She offered to sing on some of my tracks, and after writing songs together for about a year, it became so collaborative it evolved into a band. We wrote in many different genres in the beginning but we feel all of those influences make it what it is today! As Polarheart we create pop songs that can be dark, dreamy, sad or uplifting.

Your song "Paralyse" was featured on Showtime's Roadies, which is quite a cool accomplishment. How did this happen and what was it like when you first saw it? Are you interested in featuring your music on other shows, movies, or advertisements?

One of the music supervisors for the show got in contact with our management and after quite a few months we found out it had made the final cut. It was really exciting and we were honored to be a part of it! We love music to feature in all forms, and will always be open to having our music used in this way. The show was written by Cameron Crowe, which was super exciting because Almost Famous is one of our favorite movies!

Your self-titled EP was released on July 15th. One of my favorite aspects is how the layered vocals are mixed over the synthy-electronic sounds. Can you take us through the process of creating a song from the first thoughts to when it's completed?

We usually start very raw, just a guitar and vocals, and we set out to write a solid song before any production is added. We’ll improvise some chord progressions, throw lyrics and melodies back and forth and then we’ll lay it down start to finish. Once we feel we’ve got something we are happy with, Chris will add the production and we’ll work through the mixes until we’re happy with it…which can be a difficult process sometimes!

The cover art for the EP is neat and really fits the vibe of the songs. What inspired this art work?

The cover art is actually a photograph my (Chris’) dad took in 1982 of Aurora Australis, in Deua National Park, Wyanbene. My dad has always been great photographer and when he showed me some of these photos one day, I just had to give it a go on the cover. It just worked! 

One single from the EP is "Forward". The band described "Forward" as "a track about the choice of letting regrets and mistakes rule our lives, or putting them behind us. It’s about constantly looking to the future, rather than ruminating on our past and realizing that the only time we have is the here and now". That's a great message and something that is very relatable. How do you look forward – what is it that drives you individually and as a band?

We both know that when things get rough, it’s only going to make us that much stronger when the next thing comes around. We always want to try and better ourselves! When we are going through a hard time, looking forward and remembering our goals is the best way to get through it!

"Dystopia" is another song on the EP. You've said, "after weeks of writer’s block, we set ourselves a challenge…. to write something terrible. With this, the pressure of writing our next single melted away, and we came up with Dystopia". That's a neat idea and you definitely created a great song after the pressure left. What are some of the ways you deal with writer's block? Does the feeling pay off when you finally create something that you know you like and that fans will enjoy?

Sometimes we get to the point where we put quite a lot of pressure on ourselves to write something we think is good. When we feel it’s not working, we set a simple goal to complete whatever idea we come up with that day, even if it’s not great. We find that this way at least we accomplish something! Otherwise, we find that when we are in rehearsal or gig mode, it gets us out of the writing headspace for a bit and we can come back to it fresh.

You had a successful East Coast tour of Australia in October 2015. Is there a tour in the future? What else are you planning as you prepare to release the EP?

There may be a tour in the works, and about to confirm our EP launch in Sydney. Before then we’ll keep playing shows around Sydney. 

Thanks for the interview. Do you have anything else you would like to add?

Thank you! I guess just that we should all keep supporting independent Australian music, we’re surrounded by a lot of talented people and it’s awesome!

Buy Polarheart on iTunes.

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