Polaris have just entered an exciting new chapter in their careers, having dropped their long-awaited sophomore LP The Death Of Me, and following that up with a string of sold-out headline Australian shows in their biggest venues to date!
With so much happening for them right now, we caught up with vocalist Jamie Hails the day before The Death Of Me's release and the kick-off of their tour. How was he feeling about it all? Read on to find out!
Hey Jamie! You must be pretty excited - a new LP is out tomorrow and your biggest Australian headline tour to date kicks off!
Oh very excited. Excited, stressed and everything else in between, I'll tell you that right now. [laughs] It's all very overwhelming. Like, when we were in the early stages of planning this tour and talking about what venues to look into doing, I just remember being like "yeah...are we really gonna do this? Is it too ambitious for us?", but yeah here we are the day before we start our run around Australia and surprisingly these bloody shows that we're playing are all looking to sell out which is absolutely insane.
You've been vocal about feeling pressure in the past with new releases coming out, especially when you've had so much hype before it. Is that the case again with The Death Of Me?
Yeah, for sure. And definitely a lot more pressure and stress than previous releases. Feeling it big time in the past few weeks.
How did you find the time to get this album together when you've been touring so much over the past couple of years?
Yeah it was basically like I was saying, very stressful. Any spare time that we had at home between tours was spent writing and, you know, just trying to get this record finished and then of course, actually recording the album whenever we could between everything else that we had going on. Quite stressful [laughs]
I've also read that you're still working a day job to be able to pay for things like rent and touring - I don't know how you do it man...do you ever get a chance to relax or is it always go, go, go?
It's basically always full on. Like, I'll come back from tour and be fortunate enough to still have a job when I come home. Rick - our guitarist - his family has a family business so I work for them which is quite fortunate. Usually I'll come back home and if I'm feeling a bit iffy I'll be able to have an extra day or two off and if I'm feeling fine I'll usually be straight back to work at 7:30 the next morning.
Yeah, that's sick to have a job that are so understanding of what you're doing with Polaris!
Definitely - my boss is Rick's mum so she knows about our tours before I even get the chance to be like "hey is this going to be ok?". She's just like "yeah, nah that's all good! You just take whatever time you need" and I'm saying "I'm so sorry I'm leaving again" [laughs]
Do you think you'll be able to make Polaris your full time gig this year then?
That's definitely the dream. More and more as we've been touring it's definitely been solidifying itself as a full time thing now...it's not just being in a band it's now like a job of ours.
A lot of the lyrical themes on the new record are about the repeated ups and downs of life and coming to terms with that - what's the biggest up and biggest down of being in your band?
I mean for me personally...stepping out on any stage whether it be here in Australia or overseas in a country that doesn't even speak a word of english...I still do this day can't really describe what it's like to have people singing back and screaming back our lyrics and enjoying our music. It's a very amazing and overwhelming feeling.
Being able to see so many places and countries is also quite a beautiful and lucky thing that we're able to do, where not only do we play the music we like and are able to be in a band, but we're able to experience and travel the world while doing so.
I guess that does come with its downsides, and it is hard because you are spending so much time away and having all these great times but at the same time...I'm a big family person myself, and so I do miss my family, my partner and her daughter...it does get very hard. I have many, many days where I'm thinking "What am I doing here, why am I not home with them?", especially if you hear that someone close to you is sick, all you want to do is be home with them and make sure they're okay.
And to make our band grow we have to tour more internationally, so yeah.
I'm pretty curious as to how and when you realised that you could do heavy vocals. Did it just start with practicing in your room?
So I lived with my mother in community housing townhouses surrounded by neighbours...as soon as my mum would leave for work at 7 in the morning it'd be like, 7:02am, once I know she's out the door and it's safe, she's driven away, I'd turn my guitar amp on [laughs] I actually started getting into music playing guitar before I did anything vocally, so it used to be just me playing guitar really loud and standing with my foot up on what I think was a Fender combo amp, windmilling and banging my head and playing Slipknot riffs.
And then yeah, I really just started wanting to try and scream so I'd blast the music as loud as I could so that people outside could only hear the music and not me wailing away in my room, and just stand there with a foot up on my amp with, like, a deodorant can in my hand and practice [laughs]. It's all I really did and obviously it didn't happen overnight, it's taken a long time to get my voice sounding good. But yeah, I think I was like...14 or 15 years old?
Was Polaris the first band you did vocals in then?
That I did vocals in? Yeah... I was in a few other projects where I used to play guitar and do singing and backup screaming, but as being a vocalist, Polaris is the first band I've been a vocalist for. At the time when Polaris was becoming a thing, ,a mutual friend of ours hit me up and was just like "hey, you still scream and everything yeah?", and I said "yeah, maybe once a week when I'm at Hot Damn drunk off my head"... so I hit up the guys and did a bit of an audition.
Honestly, I sounded pretty garbage [laughs], but I believe we played The Amity Affliction's 'I Hate Hartley', I think it was? And I was screaming, headbanging, singing, and at the end I was like look, I only practice my vocals at Hot Damn once a week, but if I was to be in the band I would 100% put everything into working on my voice and training it to be a better vocalist. And here we are as a band 8 years in and it's been a long journey vocally.
So we've already established that Polaris is blowing up very quickly - do you have a bucket list developing of bands you want to tour with or places you want to play?
Oh for sure, and we've already surprisingly ticked off quite a few things on the bucket list, especially with bands like Parkway Drive and Architects, and the likes of many other bands as well. All these people are kind of like our friends now as well, I guess, It blows my mind [laughs]. And you know, I never thought that touring around like we do would be a thing for a band that I play in.
Thanks for chatting with us Jamie, good luck with the shows - go crush it this year!
Thank you, really appreciate it. Look after yourself!
Listen to Polaris - 'The Death Of Me' now.