POLAR are a force to be reckoned with. They made a name for themselves in 2012 with the release of Black Lungs, emerging as an angry hardcore punk band from Surrey. They’re known for lively live shows. Mind Equals Blown staffer Craig Roxburgh recently had the pleasure of conducting an emailed interview with POLAR’s lead singer Adam “Woody” Woodford. Here he discusses their upcoming album Shadowed By Vultures, the hardcore scene and sneakily covers-up who he’d least like to collaborate with.
MEB: What are some of the main themes that Shadowed by Vultures touches on?
Adam Woodford: We cover a wide range of themes in the record but it really focuses on survival and determination, not giving up and never stopping trying. That was the state of the mind the band was in when we wrote the record and we think the songs express that.
“Glass Cutter” is an aggressive song, lyrically and musically. What inspired the writing of this song?
It was actually the last song to be completely finished; it was mainly just the melodies and lyrics we needed. We wanted to write a really driving song and I had so much to work with and a chance to push my range. Chris (Stockings, bass player) and I sat and worked the song’s lyrics and melodies in the studio one morning and we recorded it that day. It catches the aggression, melody and the determination to pull ourselves out of the crowd. In reference to the first question, the theme of never giving up is displayed lyrically in this song.
There seems to be a lot of comments from people, about your latest singles, that you’re too “generic”. How do you guys react to this?
We don’t, there’s no need. People are free to their own opinions but it’s a weak way to judge music. We write music that is true to ourselves and proud of what it achieves.
On a continued note: Do you think that there is such a thing as being generic in this day and age?
No not [at] all, I mean what hasn’t been done before?
How did you guys end up collaborating with Ellie Price, of Signals, on your song “Before the Storm”?
The collaboration came together through our producer Neil Kennedy, he had worked with Signals and recorded with Ellie before. We wanted a female vocalist on the record and showed Neil the song and he asked Ellie to do it and she agreed. She came to the studio and wrote the song with us and it’s incredible. We are forever in Ellie’s debt for guesting on the album.
Was recording that song any different to recording the rest of the album?
The process we chose to the record the album was that after tracking drums, we recorded the album song by song. It was a case where it was that track to be recorded and we had to prearrange everything with Ellie.
“Before the Storm” has a more intense atmosphere and dynamic to it than the rest of the album. Was that the original idea for the song or did that happen while recording it?
When we were writing the album we wanted a track that brings the pace down, almost a time to catch your breath. The atmosphere and dynamic came from Ellie writing the piano part and her vocals in the studio took the song to a whole new level.
In “Mountain Thrones” the line “We are condemned to be criminals” forms a major part of the chorus. What is the meaning behind this lyric and the song as a whole?
The lyric is an expression of what I feel is happening to the youth of today in order to survive. With the struggles of modern day life, kids have to do whatever it takes to keep their heads above water.
When you guys formed in 2009, hardcore was still a relatively underground scene. Now it has gained a level of popularity, thanks to bands like Every Time I Die, Comeback Kid, Defeater, Letlive. and various other bands. What is it like being part of such a growing scene?
Incredible and inspiring. The scene is really strong and it’s continuing to gain strength, there’s so many amazing bands pushing boundaries. We’re proud to be a part of it.
What are some of the major influences on your writing in terms of lyrics and musically?
There are so many influences within our sound; I wouldn’t say that there were any particular influences. Musically we set out to make a huge-sounding record without losing any of the heavy aspects of our sound. Lyrically it touches on a split of things that happened to us directly and indirectly. I would say lyrically it’s very angry; it was five guys getting a lot of weight off their shoulders.
You guys are renowned for your energetic live shows. Are there any particular rituals you guys perform before a show?
Well we have a just created a new one and what perfect timing to explain it. Our new guitarist Jag has a favourite red called Chateauneuf du Pape, it was one of the first things we learnt about him. So on his first show we put our hands in and Jag suggested shouting Chateauneuf du Pape, very loudly. It stuck and has been our ritual ever since and surprisingly gets you pretty pumped.
Are there any countries that you’d really like to tour that you’ve never toured in before?
We really want to tour America, that would be a dream come true for us.
Final question: what artists would you least like to collaborate with?
Wow now that’s a question, I don’t actually have an answer. I’ve racked my brains… nothing or maybe I’m just covering my back.