Interview: Polaris Rose

Los Angeles alt-rock duo Polaris Rose are set to drop sophomore full-length Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies on March 25th.  It’s a nice, natural progression from 2014 debut Telescopes (which we reviewed) and continues an overall theme that’ll span a few more albums.  You can grab “That Lonely Road” as a free download right now, and learn more about what to expect from the record overall with this lil’ chit-chat with Peter Anthony (vocals/guitar) and Maddie Elyse (vocals/bass).

I find Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies is a little bit more eclectic than Telescopes.  Is that a fair assessment?  What influences went into it?

Yeah, we agree with that.  We wanted Telescopes to be one of those albums that – when a person hears it – they think ‘Oh ok, this is their sound’.  Nothing too jarring.  We wanted it to be a clear declaration of our sound/identity.  For Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies we knew that we wanted the sound to take what we did on Telescopes and show growth.  We allowed ourselves to showcase the dynamics in our songwriting more.  Plus, the lyrics and overall themes of the record get more mature and just a little bit darker.

With your songs all connecting as part of a bigger concept, what part of the story are we in with this new album?

Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies
is part 2 of a 6-part series.  Compared to our last record, OBVS gets a lot more personal and – we think – has a more mature sound to it.  It’s also just a smudge darker.  Our forthcoming records are going to continue to grow down that road.

Not that the video for “TigerBait” isn’t good, but Madelynn told me on Twitter that she – like me – pictured a “Thinking Out Loud” vibe for it.  Peeeettttteerrr why a no-go there???

You hit on a sore subject ha ha.

Peter: Maddie is still mad at me.

Being a duo that shares vocal duties, how does the writing process go?  Do you sing what you write or just collaborate on everything?

We collaborate.  We recorded around 35 ideas for Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies before settling on the 9 that are on the record.  That whole process of demoing and brainstorming goes through a lot of stages and reworks.  It’s a lot of bouncing ideas back and forth.

As you get ready to release the sophomore album, what’s been the coolest thing that’s happened to the band since releasing the debut?

Actually, getting Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies mixed by John Spiker and mastered by Eric Boulanger.  It brought the record to life and it was one of the most thrilling musical experiences of our whole lives.

Besides putting out Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies what does 2016 have in store for Polaris Rose?

Lots of shows. And who knows. We may release another record.

Polaris Rose online: 


Track Listing: Hot ‘N’ Fresh

Just like Pizza Pizza, my favourite fast-food pizza chain!  Mmmm…the songs are all new, they’re new.  As MXC’s Captain Tenneal would say, “llllet’s go!”.

Polaris Rose – “TigerBait”

This Los Angeles alt-rock duo follow-up their 2014 debut full-length Telescopes with Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies in March.  “TigerBait” is a soaring, dreamy tune about things and stuff around us, with lovely in-unison vocals from Peter Anthony and Madelynn Elyse.  I listen to it and picture a video similar to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”, where people just dance beautifully throughout.  That’s legit, right?  Polaris Rose always manage to rock and be beautiful, which isn’t easy to do.

Angela Burns – “It’s Sad”

Sticking with Los Angeles artists (’cause that’s hard to do right?  No scene there at all. *shifty eyes*), it’s time for Angela Burns.  “It’s Sad” is off her mixtape So That You Can Feel Better, and the video was released a week ago.  It’s a five-minute crawler with a solid dirty bassline, piano, violin and some neat guitar effects in the final minute.  And it’s – wait for it – a lil’ sad too.  She actually has a really nineties rock vibe overall, it’s cool.

The Unlikely Candidates – “Your Love Could Start A War”

Ready to pick it up?  This Fort Worth, Texas five-piece just released this new single, and its uptempo sound almost defies its subject matter.  Vocalist Kyle Morris and guitarist Brenton Carney were in the midst of the December 2014 New York City protests, after a grand jury decision not to indict an NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner.  They took in the aftermath first-hand and then wrote about it.  “Your Love Could Start A War” is conducive to hand claps, with an American Authors-like sheen in a boisterous presentation that doesn’t defy the subject matter.  That totally (probably?) makes sense once you listen.

Dark Matter Noise – “Blackwing”

Time to get industrial with Seattle’s Dark Matter Noise.  “Blackwing” is the lead track off the album of the same name, out March 18th.  Frontman Al Tompkins calls the track “a nightmarish-ghostly-witch-crow song”, and with haunting vocals and a wall of sound, that surely works.  My favourite part is actually the first few seconds, which basically sounds like drums that inmates would play if they filed toothbrushes into drumsticks instead of shivs.  (That sounded better in my head than after I wrote it, but what the hell!)

Wrathrone – “Carnal Lust”

Alright sweetheart, let’s wrap this up with some SCANDINAVIAN METAAALLLLLL.  Laitila, Finland’s Wrathrone released their debut Born Beneath last Friday, as well as the video for “Carnal Lust”.  The juxtaposition is hilarious because the video has them goofing around and air banding, but being a death metal act the song is terrifying.  I will never get over guttural vocals…how do these singers not cough up a lung after one verse?  Good on them.   You know what’s goin’ down here, just put your big-rocker pants on and enjoy it.  In fact, enjoy all these tracks why don’tcha.