Playing with KNIVES

First off, thank you so much to everyone who has made it out to our last few shows.  From our acoustic performance at Hotel Cafe to two nights at the Virgil… we really had a great time meeting new faces and playing music we love.  :)  Special Thanks to ROVE and ALL SCENE EYE for inviting us out.

AND.  We’ve been working for the last year on a new record… quietly obsessing over the right tone and song choices.  The album is part 3 of our 6-album story and it’s called ‘Knives Among the Orchids’.  

A bit about the writing… while we were completing work on ‘Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies’, we knew that we wanted to take the sound in a more aggressive direction… without losing the ‘prettiness’ or the dynamics.  So I started writing a new record… thinking all the while about desert landscapes and the fate of the American Dream.  

This is the original album design (since scrapped for something more befitting of the final album)…

The first two songs I wrote were ’SodaJerk’ and ‘Stars & Stripes’.  The second Maddie heard them, she put her foot down (as she does often) and said: “We are putting these on ‘Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies’.”  I resisted, claiming that they conceptually belonged on our ‘desert record’.  But Maddie got her way.  And I’m happy she did.

As the writing continued, Maddie really wanted to bring a bit more of a dirty blues vibe to it. So we kind of did… although I’m not sure you’d be thinking ‘blues’ if you heard it.  But it’s there.  Faint remnants of ye old 12-bar.  So, we reshaped the record together and dreamt up new artwork.

Just yesterday, we completed drums with Kiel Feher at his studio: the Spirit Lodge.  For those who don’t know, Kiel is the drummer for Polaris Rose who doesn’t pose for the band photos but plays a killer kit.  He is an amazing musician, with an vast instinctual understanding of what a song needs.  

You can watch a video of us recording a song called ‘Goodnight Daylight’.

3 songs from ‘Knives Among the Orchids’ were actually completed months ago.  John Spiker mixed and mastered for us.  We’ve been floating them to different people in different places and we’ve been really thrilled with the response.  Even better, we’ve been playing a couple of the songs live… and the response there has been pretty enthusiastic.  :)

‘Knives Among the Orchids’ is 9-songs… and we think it’s our best work.  We think you’ll agree.  You’ll probably hear the first single in January.  We’ve got a lot of work to do from now till then.  We have 4 songs that need vocals to be tracked.  We have at least one music video to shoot.  We’ve got the art already.  And we’ve already begun booking shows for the spring.

A video posted by Polaris Rose (@polaris_rose) on Nov 3, 2016 at 9:12pm PDT

rose

Take a listen to ‘Rose’.  It’s the latest featured single from our album “Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies”.  Partially inspired by the character Rose from Titanic, partially inspired by a more general sense of sharing the sunset on a beach with a special someone.  I also meant for the sunset to symbolize death and the passing of time and how our lives/loves are fleeting... but I'm told that particular message isn't all that apparent.  haha.

Rose

Tonight at the Mint

Tonight we are playing at the Mint here in LA!  It’s a busy day, but I still wanted to get this blog done.  I’ve been putting it off for far too long haha.

First off, the first single from our upcoming album Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies is out!  The song is called TigerBait.

We’ve been very happy to see the response the song has been getting.  Bucket Full of Nailssaid, “A portmanteau of David Cassidy-era fervor and today’s data-driven reality, new single “TigerBait” from Los Angeles-based duo Polaris Rose is an analog plea for physical contact and human connection.”. 

I also had the chance to interview with Kira from Roll the Dice and Play Niceand it was a really fun one!  A little excerpt from Kira’s introduction:

“TigerBait” does juggle lots of pieces: The steady, consistent chug of tightly layered guitars; an extremely catchy, synth driven melodic hook; lyrics that take on unexpected syllabic emphasis, thanks to syncopated rhythms (What I know / is tragically subjective / a three ringed show); a striking guitar solo and perfectly aligned vocal harmonies galore. Top that with interval and chord combinations – created by the vocal and instrumental parts together – which oscillate the track between singable major and dissonant minor, and this song might sound like compositional chaos. Yet, much like the intricate power-pop works assembled by Rivers Cuomo, Elyse and Anthony have shrewdly delegated each piece of TigerBait’s puzzle into something that is indeed wholly irresistible –in the best possible way.” -  Kira Grunenberg

Check out the full interview HERE.

We have been hard at work on music videos.  First up is the video for TigerBait, which we’re really happy with.  Kind of a classic Polaris Rose video, with the whole collage of old footage with simple performance shots.  Last week, we traveled down to Joshua Tree with our good friend and dp David Walk, as well as our friend and producer Mohamed Omar.  They helped us film a video for our second single which is - we think - definitely our best video to date.

So, tonight we are performing at the Mint, and it’s a special night because we will be joined by long-time friend Elliot Klein, who we were close with back in Boston.  He has brought a lot of great guitar work to these new songs!

We are rehearsing this afternoon, learning a new song last minute before the show (at Maddie’s behest), and then going out for a good-old band dinner.  Hopefully we’ll see you tonight at the mint!

WOW wow wow!  Today was one of the coolest musical experiences of our lives.

I’ll give you the long story…

Maddie and I woke up at 8am.  Actually, Maddie woke up at 8am and (in typical Maddie fashion) proceeded to pester me until I emerged from my slumber.  We made a quick cup of coffee and got ourselves moving.  Traffic over Laurel Canyon was a drag, but we soon found ourselves in Culver City.  We were at the grumpy/bitchy/nasty stage of our morning.  Thankfully, Tender Greens opened at 11, so we swung inside and scarfed down two fancy salads (hooray for veggies!)  Even better, TG’s had cold brew.  Huzzah!  Sweet life-saving nectar!

12 noon rolled around and we made our way to Sony Pictures.  After a minute of confusion with security, we found ourselves at the end of the rainbow at the Thalberg building.  We descended into the screening rooms, where (at an amazing spot called the Bakery) we were scheduled to master our album “Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies” with the phenomenal Eric Boulanger.  John Spiker - our mixer - joined us as well.  After some hellos and chit-chat, we dove into the record.  Eric pulled up our song “Rose” first, working his magic with tremendous refinement.  Maddie and I sat back and smiled, not entirely sure what he was doing but loving it all the while.

The day was a lot of fun.  We hung out, we chatted, talked music, watched videos made by the ‘my talking pet’ app… all the while, we listened to Spiker’s amazing mixes of 'Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies’ come even more alive.  It seemed like everyone had a good time and everyone was in good spirits.

So.  Basically.  Incredible.

Out of our hands...

That’s it.  About an hour ago, I sent off the final two songs to be mixed.  There’s still work left to do, of course.  Mastering and packaging… music videos and online campaigns.  But the album itself has left our hands.  And it’s now in the phenomenal mixing hands of John Spiker.  Thus far, he has mixed 4 of the 9 songs that will compromise “Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies” and we couldn’t be happier!

 

It’s been a long road, but Maddie and I are feeling very positive about this album.  "Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies" is our idea of what a sunset sounds like.  Saying that is pretty lofty, but it’s the image we had in our heads working on this record.  30+ songs demoed, constant talks with our manager to refine the sound and vision, and now the big payoff: hearing the final tracks.

We have some shows coming up this November and December… and we have a music video to make.  The first single off ‘Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies’ probably won’t appear until February… but we’ll be furiously busy until then.  There’s always a lot going on behind the scenes, to get things moving.

 

I’ve been writing songs for our next album too, and I feel like it will be a great next step that takes what 'OBVS’ does and travels into a new direction.  Ultimately, this is where my brain really is right now.  Wrote a song last night that has really excited me, called 'Someone to Break my Heart’.

btw. We are making an interconnected series of  6 albums.

I love science fiction. Since I was a teenager, I have been an enthusiast of great storytelling and epic book series.  I’ve always been a fan of expansive, immersive experiences. Why read just the Hobbit, when you can read the Lord of the Rings?  Better yet, why go for that trendy stuff when you can dig deeper into the Silmarillion?  There are many epic book series out there… And I have gleefully devoured many.

So too do I love albums. Better yet, give me an artist’s discography so I can come to know the mind(s) of the artists.  I suppose I’m not suited for this decade, with its child-rhyme hooks and its singles mentality.

Polaris Rose is working on a 6-album series… Beginning with ‘Telescopes’, deepening into 'Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies’ and then racing off into darkness with 4 subsequent albums.  All of which have their own theme and sonic palette… But all of which have the Polaris Rose sound.

As much as I’d like to excitedly talk about the direction we will take, I will hold off.  But I will say, I’m super excited.  On any given day, I will be working on material from album 6 and then turn around and work on album 3.  The titles are all established.  The landscapes are there too (we’re leaving the beach and driving through the desert).  The emotional themes are set up like skeletons, with room for adaptation depending on where life takes us.

“Telescopes” was an album about searching for something/someone unobtainable and making yourself miserable in the process.  I was writing about my own search for success in the music industry.  It was a fool’s search… But more on that another time.  “Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies” is about finding peace in ourselves… Building a life as an artist and letting go of that “unobtainable search” in order to explore deeper territories.  The following record (#3) continues that narrative in a more “socially minded” kind of way.  I’m excited to share those songs and ideas… And I’m excited to be in a band that will evolve over the course of each record, leading to that final, sad goodbye.