With numerous releases under their belts, a South-American tour behind them, gigs across the world and even an appearance on reality television, it’s been quite the year for Polarsets.
With that in mind, I was dispatched with only a machete and an iPod to track them down on the other side of the world somewhere. One day, I’ll tell the whole story about how I befriended a mountain Lion called Gonzalo, learned backgammon, and inadvertently unleashed an unspeakable evil on the world, but for now, here’s my interview.
Adam Clery: How do three lads from Whitley end up on national TV in South America? Why do you think you’ve struck such a chord out there?
Rob Howe: We work really hard so it’s wicked when things pick up in different territories. We love Latin music and try to incorporate elements of it into our sound. The music works for the audience and the TV stuff just comes off the back of the interest. We stopped trying to find reason in what happens to this band a while ago.
AC: Your music often sounds tailor-made to be played in more temperate climes, did you set out with this in mind? Do dreary overcast gigs back home still appeal?
RH: Might have to call a song climes…We didn’t set out with anything in mind but as we’ve developed our sound has definitely become more tropical, so have our lives. We want people to have fun listening to our music, and to brighten up the dreary North.
AC: How do South American gigs differ to those back home? What are the venues and the crowd like in comparison?
RH: They dance better in South America. It’s a pretty awesome feeling to watch a Colombian dance the salsa to a tune you wrote. But with all that warm weather they don’t know they’re born. It’s very different.
AC: What do you do on your down time out there? Is there much scope for going exploring or is it pretty constant?
RH: We’re getting our bearings in Bogotá now. We wander round. Do stuff Trip Advisor advises us to do. Play rana. Always a bit of free time kicking about.
AC: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened out there?
RH: We took an entire field of cocaine.
AC: Is there any awareness of the North East out there? When people ask where you’re from, do you have to use Tino Asprilla as a reference point?
RH: Everybody knows Asprilla and Newcastle United out there. They’re absolutely football crazy. We played a 5-a-side game against the promoters once – England vs Colombia – we won 18-14.
AC: You ended up getting a song on Made In Chelsea the other night, how does something like that happen? Fans of the show?
RH: Big fans. We just had a word with Spencer and Hugo and asked if they fancied playing our tune. They gladly obliged.
AC: What’s next? The Exotica EP is out next month, but are there any plans for a full release? More touring? Something else entirely?
RH: We’re going to record the album and release it. Going to Sweden for the Emmaboda festival. Hopefully head over to LA for a couple of shows towards the end of year. Maxing and relaxing.
AC: EPs seem to be the release format of choice for a lot of bands lately, what appeal do they hold over longer or shorter formats?
RH: I think there’s some technical reason to do with iTunes that means EP’s make more sense but it had nothing to do with our choice. We pretty much just heard the St. Lucia EP and thought ‘right we’d better do that as well then’.
AC: Is it still ‘deep disco’?
RH: So deep.