When Chordblossom came into existence, it was always our aim to shine a spotlight on the artists and bands that make up the music scene in Northern Ireland. We’ve been doing it for over ten years now and one of our favourite methods is our Introducing feature.
Put the kettle on, curl up on your sofa and and join us for a quickfire Q&A with some of our favourite new musicians. Who knows, maybe you’ll even discover your new favourite artists.
This iteration of Introducing features the musical talents of Polar Bolero who just released their new single ‘The Rain’.
What was the inspiration behind your artist name?
Polar Bolero was a picture book Pearse’s Dad used to read him. We thought it had a nice ring to it and the author (Debi Gliori) very kindly gave us permission to use it for our music.
You’ve just released a new single. How did it come about and what does it mean to you?
‘The Rain’ was the first genuine co-write Pearse and Cahir worked on, we love the song and the process of recording it was a real labour of love. There were a lot of long experimental sessions in the studio working with fantastic musicians which really brought the song to life.
Have you any more releases or studio time lined up for later in the year?
We don’t want to reveal too much at this early a stage but we have some exciting projects in the pipeline – we’re mainly focusing on playing live, of course in Derry, but we’re definitely looking forward to coming back to Belfast soon for a gig with the full live band.
Tell us about your song writing process.
Pearse and Cahir write the songs, usually coming up with ideas on our own and then working on them as a pair before filling out the entire sound with the band – the collaboration element of the band is hugely important to us.
Who were your favourite artists/bands growing up? Have your influences changed over time?
We all have such different backgrounds in music which seems to add so much to our music – Cahir grew up listening to Rock and Blues, while Pearse has a much more musical theatre background.
Michael is rooted in Jazz and has his own Quintet and Shania has a strong background in Trad and regularly gigs on her own.
Our drummer Jason is hugely versatile and sits so well in our setup as well as some other Derry bands which have a more Rock sound like TOUTS and Tomcat.
Our bassist and recording engineer Jimmy loves his Rock, Blues and Singer/Songwriter stuff and is also very talented guitar player in his own right.
What’s been your favourite local (NI Based) release from the last twelve months?
The Arborist album An Endless Sequence of Dead Zeros has been a constant reference point in sound for us. Such a well crafted and recorded album. It deserves every success.
If you weren’t musicians, what line of work would we find you in?
I think for a lot of us in the band doing anything else would be genuinely out of the realm of possibility, we love the process of writing, recording and performing music to a level where if we couldn’t do it we’d find a line of work which supports those who could. We’d all be roadies basically.
If you could collaborate with one artist or band from NI, who would it be and why?
We love the sound Joshua Burnside makes and his music is a constant reference point for us, so it would be great to pick his brain sometime in the studio.
It is intensely difficult to be successful in the music industry. What does NI need to do to invest in/develop to boost your chances?
We are so new to this so it’s hard to answer, the music industry like all entertainment seems to be becoming tethered to short-form media and it’s frustrating. We are still finding our footing with apps and algorithms and hopefully we can make it work for us.
What does success look like for you?
We all feel successful anytime we’re playing well live, no matter the venue. If the audience in front of us are enjoying the music then we’re happy.
You’re going out on tour and can have anything you want on your rider, what would we find on yours?
We’re a band of five fellas and one girl so for her sake it’s probably best to have a crate of deodorant wherever we go.
Where and when can we next catch you live?
We’ve been really focused on recording and rehearsing recently so our roll out of gigs is only really kicking off now, playing our first headline gig in Sandino’s on the 14th of March with Tessio and Rachel Craig, both of whom we’re huge admirers of. Keep an eye on our Instagram for updates on Belfast gigs and Festival announcements.
If you enjoyed this feature and fancy discovering some more new artists, we suggest you jump on over to our archive of Introducing pieces.
If you are a band or musician based in Northern Ireland interested in taking part in our Introducing feature, we recommend submitting new music to us via our Contact page and if we enjoy it, you’ll no doubt hear from us.