In The Studio: Polar Bear Club

April 20 2011, 9:00 AM EDT By Annie Zaleski


EXPECT IT: Late summer/Early fall via Bridge Nine

Later this week, Polar Bear Club will embark on the Take Action tour with Silverstein, Bayside, the Swellers and Texas in July. In the preceding weeks, however, the band were at Salad Days Studio in Baltimore with producer Brian McTernan, hard at work on album No. 3, Clash Battle Guilt Pride.

According to vocalist Jimmy Stadt, Polar Bear Club went into the studio with more songs – 14, to be exact -- than ever before. “We’re really going to have a hard time cutting songs,” he says. “If we do, we’re going to feel pretty strongly about [our B-sides] as well.” The band amassed this much music due to prolonged time off the road - post-AP Tour fall, they had three months free to write - and by tempering their self-editing.

“We have a tendency to be really analytical [toward] our songs, and be like, ‘Well, let’s not do this,’ and ‘Let’s do this, let’s scrap this,’” Stadt says. “This time around, we sort of knew that Brian [McTernan] was going to be that guy. We attacked [the music] with an attitude of, ‘Let’s not judge any of this. Let’s write it all. If something’s really, really not working, let’s not worry about it. Let’s just write, write, write, until we get to the studio.’ That’s just where we ended up.”

Stadt is thankful for McTernan’s input, and says the producer is going to use his “outside perspective” to “pump up the best parts of [each] song…We’re really, really playing up our choruses, moreso than we ever have before,” he says. “We have three-chorus songs. We’ve never really done that. It’s great. It just makes sense for us to be doing that now, and it feels good, and we all love it.”

McTernan and the members of Polar Bear Club also found common ground in their formative influences - namely, the punk, hardcore and what Stadt calls the “true emo” of the ‘90s. “[On Pride] we’re harkening to Rites Of Spring and early Jimmy Eat World and Embrace and bands like that,” he says. “The cool part about it though, too, is vocally, I ground it in a Polar Bear Club realm. Which is cool. We’re experimenting with what we can do and then hearing how the vocals can make it Polar Bear Club.

Stadt wanted to stay away from writing a record about touring, although the band’s relentless road schedule has influenced Pride’s lyrics. “[There are songs about] drive and ambition, and what it does to yourself and what it does to your relationships,” he says. “There was a point where I started noticing that my relationship to the band was mirroring the ups and downs of my personal relationships as well. There’s a little bit of that exploration in [the album] too.”

Stadt is confident that the band’s low profile will pay off in a big way very soon - and that’s not just because he says Polar Bear Club are aiming “to get an awesome tour” to coincide with Pride’s release. “If I’m being honest with you, I feel like people aren’t thinking of Polar Bear Club as much these days,” he says. “We’re at an end of an album cycle, we did a lot of support tours this past year. We’re coming out big with this album, and we’re really proud of it. In a way, I like that people have Polar Bear Club in the back of their minds, because they can rediscover us. I think it’s going to work really well with the album.” alt