Polar States Arrive with ‘Electric’: An Exclusive Interview
The Liverpool-based rock band Polar States has released their long-awaited debut EP titled Electric. The four-piece group that has been championed by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and BBC Music’s Steve Lamacq recorded, mixed, and produced the new EP themselves. All their efforts have resulted in five songs with huge melodies, sparkling guitar riffs, and smart lyrics. 24Our Music had the opportunity to interview vocalist and guitarist Paul Tong of the up-and-coming group about their background, the Electric EP, and the future for Polar States.
24Our Music: What is your musical background?
Paul Tong: I grew up listening to what my parents were playing, which was mainly guitar bands from the ‘60s, ‘70s & ‘80s – The Beatles, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, U2 etc. My dad came home from work one lunch with a pink Stratocaster (someone had apparently walked into his work and sold it him for £50). It sat in the corner of the kitchen for a few months until I plucked up courage to ask Dad if I could have a play.
24Our Music: How would you describe your musical style?
Paul Tong: I think we’re actually in the middle of a transition and we’re still doing a lot of experimenting, but we know what we’re aiming for. We’re all big fans of guitar music that makes you want to escape everyday life.
24Our Music: What are your main sources of inspiration?
Paul Tong: Bands that can fill stadiums with slow songs.
24Our Music: How would you describe your creative process?
Paul Tong: I write most of my lyrics whilst I’m walking around, but in terms of putting songs together, it’s often a case of just getting in our studio, rehearsing the song until we’re playing it 500 times faster than it should be and then going back over the demos to find the best structure. You’re always searching for a feeling. When you hit it then you know you’re onto something.
24Our Music: What are some challenges you have faced as a band and how did you overcome them?
Paul Tong: I think the hardest thing about being in an unsigned band is the lack of money to do things and the amount of time wasters who you have to deal with. We write a lot, so we’re really eager to get a record out, but it has to be right and so we’ve had to learn to be patient! The songs, that’s the easy bit!
24Our Music: What was it like to create the Electric EP?
Paul Tong: When we realized we wanted to record it ourselves it was pretty easy. Picking the songs was tricky, because we wanted it to encompass different emotions, but I think we got it close!
24Our Music: You have mentioned that you wanted the EP to sound “homemade.” Why was that important to you? How did you achieve that sound?
Paul Tong: We wanted the first EP to be recorded by ourselves. We were enjoying the sound of our rehearsal demos so we thought, ‘why not just record it in our rehearsal room?’ That way, it’s a snapshot of where we are as a band. We used pretty cheap gear and a laptop to record it, so it took a bit of time to get right.
24Our Music: What does the future hold for Polar States?
Paul Tong: A lot. We’ve got over 60 songs demoed so we’ll be finding the best ones and releasing new material very soon. We’ve also got 10 festivals to play over the summer and then a UK tour towards the end of the year!
24Our Music: That’s fantastic! Thank you for speaking with us and good luck with Electric.