Hailing from the southern end of Sydney, Polaris have spent the year cementing their pole position on Australia’s metal leaderboard. Their sophomore EP The Guilt & The Grief dropped in January, and they’ve been on the road since.
With the year drawing to a close, these five unsigned heroes have one gig on their mind: Unify Gathering – Australia’s Mecca for heavy music. Eager to chat about the year gone by and the festival just over the horizon, we caught up with bassist and clean vocalist Jake Steinhauser for a chat.
A five-armed, two-mouthed metalcore monster from Sydney, Polaris have been thrashing their way to the summit of Australia’s heavy scene since day one.
HAPPY: This year has been a pretty big one for you guys, your EP received some really good reviews. Can you talk me through the experience?
JAKE: It’s been exciting. Having the EP released at the beginning of the year was a really big milestone for us, we’ve worked really hard on that over the last year and for it to be reviewed as well as it was really exciting, so since then it’s been a bit of a mad race to write the follow up. The beginning of this year was met with elation and now it’s a bit of a mad scramble just working as much as we can to try and get the next product to be as good as it can be.
HAPPY: You have been touring a fair bit, and with Unify coming up that’s a pretty big one can you tell me the difference for you guys playing a festival of that scale to a regular gig?
JAKE: Well, Unify will be the first time we’ve really played a festival like that so I have a few ideas of what it might be like, and probably the closest thing we’ve had to that so far our recent run with Northlane, which was just fantastic to be playing in rooms of that size and to even have people in those rooms responding like they did. But it’s definitely a different feeling to be in a smaller room like we did on our headline run.
HAPPY: How did the EP come together? You said it was a year and a bit working on it, what was that like?
JAKE: The EP came together in about four or five months I’d say, we’d already written one of the singles off that the year before so we already had something that we wanted to try match, we knew the kinds of tracks we wanted on the EP. I think it was almost one track per month after that point. It’s not necessarily the same experience writing an album is what we’re discovering, the EP was more of a condensed period and this has been very much drawn out, we’ve had to divide our attention a lot more with other things we’ve had going on. So the EP was, whilst stressful at the time, probably a delight in comparison to the full length.
HAPPY: You guys have a very massive and very devout social media following, bit of a random question, but how do you think those kind of platforms play into your fans and building a following?
JAKE: I don’t know how much we really recognised it to begin with, but it happened at some point we just kind of worked it out that everyone used media in different ways. Our guitarist was really into YouTube when we first started up and placed a lot of importance on us posting original content frequently and using that as a means to spread our stuff. Our drummer placed a lot of importance I suppose on Facebook as a means of social media and I guess over time we’ve seen that by spreading it around different platforms we have managed to get quite a diverse fan base. It’s not something we realised at the beginning would work as well as it has, but yeah we’re pretty stoked to have the following we have now.
HAPPY: Yeah well your social following’s insane, so many vocal fans.
JAKE: Always great to hear positive feedback, we do get a few messages on the band Facebook varying from things like comments from the show and also people from overseas saying they want to see us as soon as we can, so always good to get that kind of feedback.
HAPPY: Unify really brings together a pretty mixed bag of heavy genres into one festival. What drew you personally to play music like this?
JAKE: As you said, especially this year, it is a really mixed bag. They’ve gone for a few different sounds and I think the more rocky and punky aspects of this year got a lot of us into that kind of genre, or at least the kind of genre we’re into now. A lot of us went through our punk Blink-182 days or Green Day, stuff like that. Then it kind of moved on to things like your standard metalcore, which might have been Avenged Sevenfold or heavy bands like Slipknot. I guess it really came down to that more rocky stuff that we listened to growing up that got us to listen to what we are now so it’s really exciting to see those kinds of genres and bands playing on this year’s bill.
HAPPY: Who are you looking forward to seeing most?
JAKE: I’m really looking forward to catching Violent Soho, as well as Alexisonfire. I know they’ll be really fantastic live. Northlane is another favourite of all of ours, we had the pleasure of seeing them just over the last month and they were just incredible to watch side of stage. Also just keen to see a few bands I hadn’t really heard of before like Moose Blood, I’ve heard good word about them as well so keen to see some new ones
HAPPY: Rounding out to the end of the year, do you guys have any plans beyond Unify – what’s up next for you guys?
JAKE: Well we haven’t announced any tours recently so I can’t say anything about that yet, but the definite plan for next year will be release the full-length. That will 100% be going ahead and be done by then. That’s the only thing set in stone for now.
HAPPY: That’s a pretty good thing to have set in stone…
JAKE: Yeah, looking forward to it. It’s the first album that any one of us has ever released so it’s gonna be a big year.