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INTERVIEW: Adam Woodford – Polar

After grinding on the UK hardcore and metalcore scene for some time now, POLAR are a band that are setting their sights high. Garnering loyal fanbases in Europe, especially Germany, and the UK, we caught them backstage supporting COUNTERPARTS on their tour for You’re Not You Anymore. Vocalist Adam Woodford gave us a whistle-stop tour of who exactly POLAR are after their set, in which they previewed some exciting new material.

Hi Adam, thanks for agreeing to chat with Distorted Sound. First things first, that new material caused quite a stir in the crowd!

Adam: Yeah man, it’s heavy! [Laughs] For starters, we’ve changed tuning. We were in B# and now we’re A#. It’s a much lower tuning and we’ve actually changed our whole set into it now. We’ve wanted to write heavy music, and for anyone that knows our band, we’ve progressively got heavier and heavier, but never losing the melodic side. For us, it’s a challenge because it’s something new to play, and I guess it’s more interesting from a listening point of view. So yeah, it’s breaking the mould a little bit and it’s something that’s interesting for us as well as the people watching and listening.

Is this change related to a possible stagnation in the hardcore scene at the moment? Do you think that hardcore bands need to progress like this at the moment?

Adam: I think the scene has already been changing for years. I guess, for us, we don’t really want to be seen as a hardcore band, which isn’t saying anything bad about the hardcore scene – me and the guys grew up in it, but as soon as you put the word hardcore into things suddenly you’re in that slipstream. For our expansion as a band, not only musically but with everything else, we want to be able to adapt into different environments, allowing us to be able to play bigger tours, and for us to be able to tour with bigger bands. I love the hardcore scene, we all do, but for us, we just want to be seen as a band.

So, it’s about shedding those labels and making music that’s unrestricted and more personal to you?

Adam: Exactly, we write passionate music and it doesn’t all necessarily need to be trying to fit in with the scene. It’s a great movement and it is strongly expanding. CODE ORANGE are going on tour with bands like GOJIRA and TRIVIUM, and that’s the sort of thing that we want to be doing. It’s an expansion of sound.

That’s the idea. It’s an evolving scene and all the bands that are making waves at the moment have the same idea – the idea of progressing, losing the labels, making music organically. Is that what you’re aiming for?

Adam: Definitely. At the moment we don’t have a label, we’re not associated to anyone, for the first time in a long time. We just want to make our band the biggest band it could possibly be. Sound-wise, we’re going for a much more high-end, polished and produced sound.

Yeah, the new stuff came across much more ‘techy’ live, which fits you in well with NAPOLEON on the bill…

Adam: Of course. We’re heading for a much bigger, stronger sound production-wise. Trying it out is exciting and it’s quite nice for the small time we have to just be living in the unknown for the moment. We do have a very big structural plan with our management in the works but for the moment we’re just seeing how stuff turns out.

What sort of bands are you drawing inspiration from in terms of POLAR’s new sound?

Adam: All five of us are definitely looking at ARCHITECTS.

You and everyone else, man. They’ve just sold out Alexandra Palace!

Adam: I know! Ten thousand people. It’s incredible and really well deserved. They’ve connected so well with their fanbase which is, I think, their secret. So yeah, we’re definitely looking at them. On the other side of things, BRING ME [THE HORIZON] seem to be ahead of the game every step of the way. They did Sempiternal which changed a massive perspective on that band – it’s the head-changing stuff. I think we wanna be doing stuff like that. People putting it on and going wow and changing what people think of the band.

People can say what they want about BRING ME THE HORIZON, but you look at the numbers, the facts and the fans and that says the rest.

Adam: Yeah, that’s it. It’s a scorecard, and you gotta get high scores. It’s taking that, and what we’re doing, and expanding on it.

So that would be your dream tour lineup, bands like BRING ME THE HORIZON and ARCHITECTS?

Adam: Undoubtedly, and it’s not even a move entirely away from the hardcore scene – if you look at the ARCHITECTS show at Ally Pally, they’ve got COUNTERPARTS opening. The thing is, we’ve been a band for nearly ten years, and if you look at our sound on day one, to now, we’re literally a different band. That’s what we wanna be perceived as – a different band.

So that’s definitely the future of POLAR – a progressive one?

Adam: Yes. Constantly challenging ourselves. I think that’s where bands succeed – on that challenge. If you really push yourself it’ll push you into that different market.

Thanks very much dude.

Adam: Nice to meet you, enjoy the beer and enjoy the show!

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