Interview with Polar Bear Club
As I always say, I believe a reason why I continue to steadily interview the bands touring their butts off is because of their heart and determination. Currently there is a perfect touring example of this in the Glamour Kills incarnation that is happening now. It features five acts (The Wonder Years, Transit, Polar Bear Club, The Story So Far & Into It. Over It.) who tour the majority of the year while barely having any time to themselves at home but it pays off. The tour has added several second shows in cities to selling out the majority of the already planned ones and all are past interviews for me.
But one that always stands out are the Rochester boys in Polar Bear Club. A band that just released their new record last September ‘Clash. Battle. Guilt.Pride’ and will be spending their summer on the always treacherous Warped Tour! This time around, we talked about the writing process of the new record and how great the Glamour Kills experience has been so far. Read on for our new exclusive with lead vocalist Jimmy!
Artist: Polar Bear Club
Title: Clash Battle Guilt Pride
Release date: 09/13/11
Label: Bridge 9 Records
Polar Bear Club
Buy at: Amazon
I know this tour just started the other day with The Wonder Years but how have these first few shows been going?
It’s been great! It was kind of strange because like I just said, we had so much time off. Three months off and that’s a lot for us. I mean we’ve maybe only had like a month off at a time here and there. We just sort of burrowed ourselves into a little corner where there was nothing else for us to do and then this tour came up so we haven’t seen the US in this three month time period, we had just come off a European tour and we didn’t want to go to Australia and South America after that. We just took the time off. So we did a little warm up show in Rochester and now we’re on the third day of The Wonder Years tour and its’ been great. This is a massive tour. Not a lot of people realize that we did two shows in New York that were both sold out.
Two shows in New York?
Yeah! This show here is sold out as well in Boston in a huge venue. They added a second show in Chicago, they added a second show in Philly which is a really good energy. I guess I didn’t realize that The Wonder Years were this big but they earn it. It’s kind of amazing because headlining is great but it’s a lot of pressure and a lot of work. I actually would much rather open for another band just in terms of like day to day. I mean as an headlining artist, you have control of the show but in terms of work level and stress level, this is amazing. We’re playing fourth out of five so we don’t really have a lot of pressure on us but the kids are in the room by that time anyways so it’s the best of both worlds really.
And then it’s you guys, Wonder Years, Transit, The Story So Far and Evan (Into It. Over It).
And Evan, yeah. Don’t underestimate The Story So Far.
Yeah I have an interview with them too I understand.
Oh, okay good! They are destroying this tour. They are absolutely destroying and I said it on stage in New York City it was amazing. We’ve sort of seen a lot of bands like that before. Like we took Title Fight out right when that was happening and we were on tour with Gaslight Anthem right when that was happening. And now to see this happening right now. It’s like there’s nothing like seeing a band in its’ stride. They’re really hitting hard. You’ll see tonight just like they’re killing it.
Perfect and then the new record, ‘Clash Battle Guilt Pride’, I got it! Because we interviewed like two years ago and you were working on it. Like AP tour! How do you think it’s been going over so far?
It’s been great! It’s done exactly what we wanted it to do. I think it showed people what type of band we are. That we’re going to make records for a while and that’s going to be the sum of the whole thing. I think when we first came out people were like ‘Oh this first stuff is really good. Is that going to be it from these guys?’ because that happens to a lot of bands. I think with this record we’ve shown a lot of people that that’s not all we have because we’re songwriters. That’s what we want to do and we’re going to make a lot of records and a lot of people that talk to me about this record they say ‘Wow it’s like a combination of everything I thought Polar Bear Club was in one record’ which I guess that’s kind of cool. Really, from our stand point, I say this every time, even I probably said this to you at the AP tour, we just really make music that we want to make. There’s no other way to make music. It’s so funny when people say a band has sold out. I’m not saying people think that of us. It’s funny when people think that and I think it too sometimes. When you think that a band is trying to act a certain way. We’ve never been able to fathom that. We’ve never been able to be like ‘We should try and sound like this’. I was watching the documentary about Wilco on Netflix the other day and Jeff Tweedie was talking about this very thing and he was like ‘The record label didn’t like the record and I didn’t know how, there’s no other way to do it and I don’t know how to do it any other way’. I was like ‘That’s it!’ because there’s no other way to do it. People could come to us and be like ‘You need to make a record that’s more like this’ and we just said ‘Go fuck yourself. There’s no way to do it’. We just make the music we want and we only just follow our instinct. It’s a reflection of where you’re at in your band and the person you are at that time but I think this record really is one more step into our world. The next one will be the same thing but just at a different time in our lives.
And then maybe how did it compare song writing wise to ‘Chasing Hamburg’? Was it pretty different?
It was very different. It was incredibly different. ’Chasing Hamburg’ we wrote really fast. We took the winter off just to write and we were at it every day. We all lived in like the same house doing it just twice a day, five days a week for the whole winter. We toured out to the studio and recorded it. This time around, it was a little bit more organic. Sort of on slow bills. We didn’t really force it and we really took our time with the songs. Something new this time which we had never done before is we had a demo version for every song. Complete demo.
Oh really? Full on demo?
Full on demo. Vocals, everything and then we went to pre-production where we recorded a second demo of each song and then recorded so we had never done that before. Most times, no one is knowing what the vocals even sound like until we go to record them before this record. We’ll probably never do it again but that’s the way it was moving up to this spot. Now, we’re just demo-ing, demo-ing, demo-ing. Just trying to get into that sense of the big picture with the record and I think this record was more cohesive then our records have been in the past because we did that. We went into the studio with I think fourteen songs and ended with eleven? Eleven on the record? Yeah. I’m sure it does.
Could be eleven songs or maybe eight?
But you know, we just had a bigger pool to pick from and to make sort of the cohesive record that we wanted to.
And then maybe you have this tour that just started and it’s a pretty decently long tour. Then Warped Tour!
Yep, all of Warped Tour!
You’re playing all of Warped Tour, you just started the Glamour Kills tour, what’s going to be going on this year? Just keep on touring? Take more time off?
Well when this tour ends, we have a little break and then we do all of Warped Tour and then after that, we have a little tiny break then over to Europe for some end of summer festivals. A little short fall tour and that’s all we’re planning at this point but yeah I mean, you know, I think the goal is to do that and be writing at the same time and sort of getting some demo’s out and seeing where we’re at as songwriters and just getting ready for the next record! That is really our goal for being in a band. Is writing records. I mean touring is amazing and we definitely enjoy the climate that we’re in in the music industry. You now write records so that you can tour as opposed to one day where it was the opposite. You tour to sort of sell records. Now, we’re making records so that we can go on tour but the best part is the writing process. I love that so much and so to get back to that, that’s important and we’ll be back doing that soon.
Well that’s really, really important!
It is! Writing records is kind of important. I mean it’s just we’re not going to be on the radio. We just have to build our own sort of world to be able to sustain ourselves doing this band. It’s just the way you do it now because you just have to build your own sort of life and touring is important to that for sure but we just want to keep putting out records. Putting out records and just reach new people. It’s why this tour is so great too. You wouldn’t think it but at these shows, there is a lot of people who have no idea who we are. These kids who are coming to see The Wonder Years.
Yeah! Totally. Like I think people generally know who we are who never really gave us a chance. I’ve read at replies on twitter. People are like ‘Wow I never listened to you guys’. It’s kind of a double edged sword because you may have toured for ever but you’ve just become a name. I mean there’s bands I do that too also. I never really listened like when I was younger to RX Bandits. It was like a band name I saw on tour posters but I had never listened to them but I saw them and I was like ‘Wow that’s cool!’ to a lot of people that are in that band. I had seen ads in the magazines and posters but it was like ‘Oh, that’s what that is? I thought that was like this!’ Oh okay, it’s cool!
Well that seems similar to AP Tour where you were nothing like say Bring Me The Horizon.
This one’s a little bit more alike. It’s funny and it amazes me every day too because I’m like wow I’ve done so much press. We’ve been in all these different publications, all these bands have talked about us. Louis C.K. has that amazing bit: ‘There’s a lot of people in here but there’s a lot more people not here’. I figure everyone in this “world” at least knows who we are but that’s not true. So many people don’t and we just have to stick at it until they give you a chance.
Well, thank you so much!
"Clash Battle Guilt Pride" by Polar Bear Club - release date: 09/13/11..