After spending a few years on the road touring, Sydney’s own Polaris released their The Guilt and The Grief EP in 2006; fast forward a year and Polaris are still hard at it!
They’ve been hard at work in the studio to release their debut album The Mortal Coil to their ever loving fan base, both within Australian and worldwide. The Mortal Coil is available to the public on November 3rd 2017, bought to you by those at Resist Records. This album has been quite an experience for Polaris; not only did they rent a house in Mollymook, New South Wales and convert it into a studio to record in, they also flew their producers over from the United States!
OVERDRIVE was really fortunate to get time to speak with Daniel Furnari; not only are Polaris in the middle of an all too familiar tour around Australia, they’re also preparing to fly to Europe and perform abroad for the first time.
The first topic of discussion was about the upcoming release date of The Mortal Coil and how excited Polaris was to have it finally arrive; Furnari mentioned how “it’s been a long time coming” before going into greater detail:
Not in a long time from a time perspective; we were actually on a tight schedule, but from the overall significance of being our first album! You’re always thinking about this moment; from when you first start a band, you always talk about ‘when we do our first album…”. It definitely feels like a grown up step for us; it’s like we’re a real band now (laughs) Compared to releasing an EP, there’s a lot more weight that comes with releasing your debut album. One of the most exciting things is I feel that there’s a lot of great momentum around the record; the fans have responded to the singles so far, plus we’ve got some really stuff lined up. We’re going to be in Europe when the actual release happens, so in many ways that is the number one thing in my mind! Getting this whole thing out and getting over to Europe safely is the number one priority before we get to watch it all happen.”
At the time of the interview, Polaris have already performed three shows on this tour to date; when asked how those shows have gone down and how the crowds have reacted to ‘The Remedy’ and ‘Consume’ upon hearing them for the first time, Furnari couldn’t contain his excitement within his response:
“They’ve been absolutely incredible and have blown us away! We started the tour in Adelaide at Fowlers and it’s a big venue for a band like us; it’s quite a feat to fill that room in Adelaide. We were stoked by how many people were in the room and it looked amazing, plus the vibe was incredible. Then we had the two Melbourne shows, one of which was sold out; that’s definitely one of our favourite shows in a long time. That show is really special to us! Melbourne has always been a key city for us to play in and we try to go down there as much as we can, so that felt great; it felt like a celebration of what we’ve done by going down there. As for the new songs, we’ve been opening with ‘The Remedy’; that’s been getting people bouncing a lot from the beginning of the set. It’s nice to get out there with something fresh and new, watching people’s faces light up when they hear that song they’ve been waiting to hear live for the first time. ‘Consume’ has been going amazingly as well, it’s actually our Wall of Death song (laughs) In the middle of that song there’s a really big build up section that we’ve been really playing out live; there’s been some crazy mosh action to that and we’re really excited about it!”
As mentioned in the intro, Polaris decided to fly both Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland over to Australian shores to produce their debut record. Furnari gave a really indepth insight into the thought process that went into making this happen:
“We’ve had a bit of a working relationship with them for a little while; they mixed a single we did a few years ago, as well as The Guilt and The Grief EP we released last year. We really liked what they did with our sound and we felt that the next step to pushing that in the next direction was to bring them over and produce it in person! They could be a little bit more hands on this way. We were originally talking about flying over to Pennsylvania to record at their studio, but once we calculated costs we realised that we could fly them over here and set up a temporary studio in a house. It turned out to be a really awesome idea; a couple of friends of ours who released an album recently told us how they decided to rent a holiday house and put a studio in there. The very first record we did, it ended up being all of us staying in a house together and going to the studio to record; this time we thought about just combining the two together.”
Knowing that Polaris set up the studio in a holiday home, one would be curious as to where they got the equipment and furnished it. When asked if Polaris bought their own gear or if Slovak/McFarland bought equipment over with them, Furnari mentioned that “it was a little bit of both really” before answering in greater detail:
“They flew over a Mac Tower, a couple of outboards, compressors, processors and some guitar equipment/vocal mics. They also flew in a MacBook Pro, so we kinda had two studios set up in parallel; they bought most of the general vocal equipment. Then we bought our own computer equipment, our guitars recording rigs etc., so it was a bit of a combination of both. The last couple of days before we went away, we were in a bit of a chaos trying to make sure we had all the little knick-knacks we required! For the most part, it went pretty well; there were a couple of hiccups along the way though. They almost didn’t get let onto the flight with their computer tower, which was kind of scary; they were about to get onto their flight over here and the baggage people had an issue with the size of the tower. When they went to get on the next flight the next day, they encountered the same problem! They worked out that they could actually take it on as carry-on luggage; they ended up carrying this huge computer tower onto the plane and storing it in the overheard lockers, which is kind of funny! They were sending us photos of themselves with this computer tower on an escalator whilst they were travelling between terminals (laughs) THEN when they got here, we had this USA to AUS voltage power converter that blew up the first time we tried to used it…”
The lyrics on The Mortal Coil are very emotional and hard hitting; this interviewer was curious as to whether they were the production of one band member or if everyone contributed. Furnari took OVERDRIVE behind the scenes and gave a nice insight into the creation of the lyrics at the Polaris school of song:
“I’ve always written the majority of the lyrics on our records up to this point and it was the same on this album also; it is a little collaborative though, as I’m not the one singing it. The opinions of the guys who are going to be singing the words matter a lot! We may have to compromise here or there, so we can all feel comfortable about what’s being said or so we can relate to it; I think that’s the most important thing. If you’re going to have someone out there screaming your lyrics, you want them to really feel what they’re screaming or singing. I wanted to make sure that everyone in the band could to some extent content with personally; because we spend so much time together and spend so much time together as friends, I was able to incorporate the experiences that the guys could relate to, as well as my own personal thoughts and concerns. I’ve come about that over the process of growing as a band a little bit and making a couple of records together; we can now collaborate a little more together on the lyrics and make it a bit more universal and relatable to all of us.”
After the last shows on this Australian tour finish, Polaris is heading over to Europe to perform on the Never Say Die! tour. Furnari explained how quickly this European tour fell into place for Polaris:
“The opportunity came up shortly after we finalized signing with Resist Records actually; Graham was helping us try to find an agent for Europe. Avocado Bookings took an interest and we were really excited, as Avocado is one of the best agencies over there and always touring amazing bands! They seemed like the natural choice; they were saying from the get go that the ‘perfect way to launch you guys in Europe would be on the Never Say Die! tour. That tour has an amazing history so we just jumped at the opportunity; some bands can sometimes wait a little bit too long for something perfect with a huge guarantee, but the ship can sail before you realise it. We just wanted to jump at the first opportunity, so we can start our work over there nice and early; plus it’s really cool to get to meet overseas fans who are hitting us online and asking us when the band is coming over! We’ve toured Australia a lot over the last couple of years, so to see new places is a really different experience. We’re actually going to be on a real tour bus, so we’re all excited about having a bunk to sleep in and a place to hang out!”
PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF THE MORTAL COIL HERE!