With a new album out on Bridge 9 and an Australian tour looming in January, we caught up with Polar Bear Club singer Jimmy Stadt.
Formalities first, name and role in the band?
I’m Jimmy, the singer.
You have just concluded a tour throughout the states with Strike Anywhere, Crime in Stereo and Ruiner. How were the shows and any memorable experiences from the tour you would like to share?
The shows were awesome. We discovered some new favorite places for us to play like Houston and Detroit. Bridge Nine has a lot of good energy and hype behind it right now and I’m glad we could be a part of that on this tour. We had a lot of great times with all the bands, Chicago is sticking out in my mind right now. It had something to do with certain members of Ruiner supremely fucking shit up at a paid parking lot. Running from the police is fun.
Polar Bear Club provide a fresh sound in a music industry almost devoid of originality. Personally, I would akin your sound to a sexy mix of half Against Me half Lifetime. Where do you draw your musical influences from?
Against me and Lifetime are definitely big influences to us. Honest bands are really important to me but also universal bands. The bands that everyone seems to love regardless of what "scene" you’re from. Lyrically, I get a lot of inspiration from the Replacements and the Hold Steady to name a few. I don’t think I particularly write lyrics like those guys but when I hear their stuff, it makes me want to write a lot.
Before Chasing Hamburg was released in September and marks your second full length release. Was it a difficult task writing for a second LP? And more importantly how critical were you of the songs knowing Bridge 9 would be putting it in stores?
We are very critical in our song-writing not so much because of Bridge 9 but more ourselves. We are the harshest critics and we have the highest standards out of anyone who likes our band. What’s hard is finding the middle ground between your instincts and your criticism of the song. But we write very collaboratively so we have each other’s backs.
Chasing Hamburg was released in the third quarter of this year. How has the crowd response been in has regards to the new songs and what tracks get the best reaction?
The response has been amazing. We just got done playing gainesville fest and those kids are the ones who have been with us from the beginning. To see them freaking out for the new songs was really rewarding. Living Saints and Local Eyes have been getting great reactions. There are still a lot of songs we haven’t played live yet though so we will see.
I skimmed across a few websites and saw the latest record was meant with favourable reviews. Were you nervous that websites like AbsolutePunk were going to rubbish the album or quietly confident it would go as well as it did?
You do worry about that stuff a little bit but I knew I liked the record and understand why I think it’s worth a damn and no bad review can take that away. But it has been met with some good reviews and we are happy about that.
Early next year you are embarking on your first tour of Australia. This must be slightly overwhelming considering the band formed only four years ago. How did the tour come together and have you had a chance to check out Break Even and The Gift Horse?
We’ve just had a lot of offers to get over there and it was about getting one that worked out scheduling wise. We’re all incredibly excited and have heard nothing but great things about touring there. I haven’t checked those bands out yet but definitely will. They have the endorsement from friends I trust so I’m not worried about it.
Any sights or monuments you would like to catch over hear on your travels?
Yeah I want to see all the spots they filmed Lord of the Rings….I’m joking, I know that makes you guys mad! Nothing in particular that I’m trying to see. Just excited to play a show so far from home.
What lies in store for Polar Bear Club after your stint of touring on our fine shores?
We are still working out our schedule for after Australia but it looks like UK and Europe pretty shortly after we are home and then back to the states.
At the start of the year you signed to Bridge Nine Records, home to more than a handful of sweet bands including New Found Glory and Crime in Stereo. How did this come about and how has it been so far?
We met with them after we started touring full-time and they were excited about us and straight-forward with us. We fell in love and unanimously decided to sign there. It’s been great so far. They have such a solid buzz going about them right now and it’s exciting to be a part of it.
On tour, who has the most annoying habits in the band?
Nate our guitar player. It’s nothing really specific actually at all, It’s just that he snores.
Favourite ways to kill time on the road?
Reading or jumping rope.
Best and worst venue you have played in?
Best: Asbury Lanes in Jersey was awesome. There are more but that one sticks out. Worst: Old Knitting Factory in New York. Not enough room at all.
Any bands we should keep an eye out for on your home turf?
Another Breath is about to release an awesome album. They are from Syracuse and are awesome.
Any parting words to get people keen for the upcoming tour?
I’m ready to know what Australia is all about, please come out and show me.
Polar Bear Club hit Australia in January. For all the dates and venues click here. Their new album ‘Chasing Hamburg‘ is out now via Bridge 9/Stomp.