Polaris

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2016 has been one hell of a year for Sydney’s Polaris. After dropping a killer EP, ‘The Guilt and the Grief’, in January this year and touring virtually non-stop ever since with some of Australia’s biggest hardcore names, it’s a wonder these guys even had the time to sit down for a 15-minute interview. Fortunately, drummer Daniel Furnari and guitarist Ryan Siew managed to find the time to chat to HEAVY about the mammoth year it has been for Polaris, and continues to be as they set off on another tour with Northlane.

“It’s been pretty crazy, really.” Furnari comments. “We dropped the EP in January and it took off way better than we expected. This will be our fourth tour off the EP. We’re pretty stoked with how everything is going right now.”

“This will be our biggest tour yet in terms of the size of the shows.” Siew adds. “I don’t think we’ve ever really played venues this big outside of Sydney, it’s very cool.”

Turning attention to the band’s highlights of 2016, Furnari and Siew are unanimous when speaking about the opportunities the band has had thus far.

“Opening for Parkway Drive at our hometown show was pretty damn surreal. It was one of the first shows in a very long time that I’ve been legitimately nervous for,” recalls Furnari.

“Our headline tour was probably another highlight as well. We didn’t realise how far the EP had reached, so on our headline tour we were blown away by how big some of the shows were.”

“There’s definitely a huge difference in the vibe of opening a show compared to playing your own headline show,” agrees Siew.

In the past 12 months, Polaris have performed with some enormous Australian bands: Parkway Drive, Make Them Suffer and Northlane all feature in addition to the band’s own headline tour with the likes of Justice for the Damned and Pridelands, to name a few. From this, it is clear that there are inherent notions of camaraderie throughout the Australian hardcore scene; as Furnari puts it, “it’s a very supportive network.”

“I think being so far away from everything in Australia brings out this unity and support by all the bands. I don’t know if it’s really as noticeable overseas, but because our scene is so small, once you’ve been touring and playing shows for a few years you’ve basically toured with half the bands in the country. It’s really awesome the way everyone supports each other and shares each other’s music around.”

Despite a friendly and immensely supportive local scene, touring in Australia does have its difficulties, admits Furnari and Siew.

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“It’s a lot more expensive to tour around Australia. You can only really play about 10 shows on most tours, so it takes a lot of work and commitment.”

Writing music, however, seems to be a far less arduous task for the band. Their fluid creative process reflects in  their music. “The multitude of influences that combine during the early stages of writing facilitate open experimentation and exploration”, explain the two musicians.

“All five of us are really involved [in the writing process]. Most of the music is written while we’re all in the same room together hashing out ideas, so all our different influences seep in in some kind of way.”

“We definitely don’t sit there and consciously say ‘we want to introduce a lot more of this sound’ or anything, we just keep writing riffs until one of us gets excited and then we roll with that.”

Furnari and Siew also cite a number of heavy bands for their influential impact upon the sound of Polaris, from metalcore bands such as Underoath, Architects and The Devil Wears Prada, right through to Meshuggah. Electronic music is also a key influence on the band’s music, particularly in terms of the “soundscape-y, atmospheric” elements of particular tracks. Through all of this, it’s evident that Polaris approach creating music with extraordinarily open minds as they continue to work on writing their debut album.

“We never really set out with any goal. We just kind of go with the flow, see where the music takes us.”

“I think if you do put limitations on what your sound should or shouldn’t sound like, especially in your early stages [as a band], it’s a bit restrictive because there’s so much room for growth there.”

“We have quite a few tracks written at the moment, and we’re confident that we’re on a good path. I think we’re at the halfway point, we haven’t locked in when [recording] is going to happen or anything but the writing is definitely going well.”

“The plan is to get the record out next year. It’s definitely on the cards.”

December sees Polaris back in Melbourne for Invasion Fest alongside a gargantuan line-up of Australian hardcore acts. After this, the release of a debut album seemingly imminent and a spot on Australia’s thriving heavy music festival, UNIFY, suggests 2017 is already shaping up to be just as exciting for the band as was 2016. In short: Polaris are definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Written by Sam Sweeney

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Written by Dave Griffiths

Dave has worked as a music & film journalist for over 20 years now. Aside from Heavy he does radio and various podcasts as well. He is the proud owner of Metal Cat.

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