Polar Circles are a young rock band from Lausanne. Their debut studio album Polar Circles came out in September. It rocks so you’d better check it out! I had a nice chat with Ian Grey, singer and guitarist of the band, at Caribana Festival this Summer, for which you find a review here. Thanks to Ian and best of luck in following his music dreams!
The Liberation: Your first EP came out in September 2013 and in September 2014 your album will be released.
- Ian: Exactly, we recorded it in February, the time to mix it and re-record it. Now we are nearly done with mixing it. We just finished it and we mastered it yesterday (June 3) and now we prepare it for the September release.
The Liberation: What will there be on it?
- Ian: It’s gonna follow a bit the line of our EP which was rather spontaneous, rock, mainly live. People told us they liked the live part and said they had the impression to be listening to a rock band. So we recorded the album in the same way, playing all together, we did some pushed experiments sound-wise, we tried to work the guitars’ sounds and the voices, we did something better than the EP.
The Liberation: How did being among the four finalists of My Coke Music Soundcheck (mycokemusic.ch) changed your “career” as a band?
- Ian: It arrived at a key moment, we had created the band the year before (2012), our EP had just come out and than the boost: we were taken for My Coke. This led us to the title for “Swiss Live Talents”. I wouldn’t say we’re known nation-wise but this certainly did some advertising at the national level. Being on a stage in Zürich in front of 200-300 people boosted us. This contest, which has a pretty big advertising around it, on 20 Minutes and on all the music related websites, boosted us and was positive.
The Liberation: Are you thinking about doing other contests?
- Ian: I think it’s good to launch a band, I think we needed it in order to make ourselves known to the public. I think we wouldn’t have had Caribana without My Coke. We are always at the beginning, but now we want to make ourselves known for what we are and for our music rather than through the media. It’s the music which must prime now.
The Liberation: Which are the bands that inspire you the most in your music?
- Ian: We have common influences in our band, which are: Jack White, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis. We are also influenced by all that was done in rock beforehand, from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin until today’s more modern things. We are also into retro-rock, if I think of Jack White, who is pretty old style. Speaking for myself, since it’s me who writes all the songs, without taking all the merit (laughs), artists like Nirvana aren’t bad, things a bit rough and also English bands, like I said before Oasis, which don’t have a thousand effects and which go straight to the point.
The Liberation: Do you come up with lyrics or with music first?
- Ian: I don’t know if it’s the music or the lyrics which come first, it’s usually both simultaneously. Either a short melody which will inspire me or a phrase that I would hear and from there I create songs with other texts which had been dragged along. I’m not the type of guy who strums on his guitar for an hour in order to find something, it’s more spontaneous. Things which inspire me are what I experience, very rational things, I like paying attention to things which seem without importance.
The Liberation: What do you think of the Swiss music industry? Is it easy to make yourself known?
- Ian: I think it’s a bit contrasted, since we are a small country making yourself known is pretty easy however, live on your music and then grow is pretty difficult. Swiss-French people take increasingly more example from Swiss Germans who try to export their artists to Germany and Austria. We in Romandie, we have plenty of artists which we don’t know but that in the Swiss German part do extremely well. Swiss French people start listening to music produced in the region, so I’m optimistic. At the same time I’m realist, it is very hard to compete with British bands, which come here and are already very famous. I think in Switzerland we remain at a small scale.
The Liberation: Well we hope you’re gonna go on a bigger level!
- Ian: I hope so too. (laughs)
The Liberation: Which is your dream music wise?
- Ian: My dream? If we could do a tour in England that would be the dream, even if we all like travelling all around the world, England remains the promised land, even if we go and play for three persons it is something we need to do in our lives.