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Institut Polaire – Becoming more of a democracy

Written by Jason Strange on July 27, 2010

Institut Polaire talked to Jason Strange about working on their upcoming Ep, playing as a 7 piece and how the band is becoming more of a democracy.

MF: You guys have been bunkered down working on the debut; how’s it all coming along?

IP: We finished the LP earlier this year and it will be out on Popfrenzy on October 9th. We recorded it with Craig Pilkington (Lucksmiths, Blackeyed Susans) here in Melbourne. It’s called Make Your Own Mayflower.

MF: What’s the dynamic like being in a seven piece band when it comes to songwriting compared to the group’s beginnings as a three piece?

IP: It’s definitely becoming more of a democracy. Whereas I used to come to the band with complete songs, it’s much more likely I’ll bring an idea these days and we’ll flush it out in the rehearsal room. I’d say the process is becoming a lot more organic and I think it’s a definite advantage having everyone’s input.

MF: Many people have described your sound as schizophrenic; how would you describe Institut Polaire to the guy at the bar?

IP: I always find that a super-hard question to answer. I guess I would say I tend to write the music that feels natural to me at any given time and that I try not to feel too constrained by any genre or expectation. The rest of the band tend to keep me in check if I try to do anything too ‘out there’.

MF: Like many Perth bands, you made the big move across to the east; is it a sad reality for many W.A based bands that to make it you have to move to the east coast?

IP: It definitely helps for touring, especially for larger bands. For us though, I think it was more of a collective decision that a change of scene would be good for us personally than any collective feeling that we had to move east to progress as a band. I’m just grateful everyone was into the same idea!

MF: The band has received some highly regarded recognition and awards (WAMI in 2008 and Triple J unearthed 2007) plus positive reviews across the country; how gratifying is it to know the audience love your work?

IP: It’s always good to think people enjoy what you do. I think we just do what comes naturally and have just been lucky that folks seem to appreciate the music. We take it as a sign we’re on the right path. We certainly aren’t trying to be flavour of the month. I think the fact that we are collectively slightly older gives us an advantage when looking at the overall picture.

MF: Does Institut Polaire have plans to tour nationally and/or internationally?

IP: Well we are doing some national dates throughout July/August and again for the LP launch in October. International dates are definitely something we’d love to do as a priority if the album goes well. We’ll wait and see I guess. Being an expat Yank, I’d love to take the band over to do some shows Stateside. Nashville would do nicely…

MF: Finally, what would be the first song you’d put onto a mix tape?

IP: Completely depends on the season and my mood. At the moment?…The Electrician by the Walker Brothers.

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