Relentless Beats

RB Exclusive Interview: Futuristic Polar Bears on Their AZ Experience, How You Have To Produce to Be Successful, and Their Latest Collaborations

As I opened up the Skype app on my cell phone to talk with the Futuristic Polar Bears early in the morning last week, I was greeted by the friendly face of Fran, one of the three Polar Bears (also consisting of Rhys and Luke), who was at home in Ireland speaking to me after a busy day and after that late afternoon rush hour traffic. Although the other two Polar Bears were not present for the interview, Fran and I had a nice conversation which gave me plenty of insight into the inner workings of the trio, their opinions on certain industry related issues, and just in general, their personalities.

One thing that was quite fitting about having our conversation from Phoenix to Ireland over Skype was that much of the conversation focused on how technology and the internet have shaped the way that the industry has developed. Take for example, how collaborative efforts between artist exist, for a majority, through the emailing of files back and forth. And again, how you can work with another producer via video chat, etc. With an industry that is quickly growing, these radical changes in the last decade really play a contributing role in how our scene has developed and how it will continue to develop.

In addition to the chat about technology, you can read about what The Polar Bears thought of good ol’ Phoenix, their latest collaboration with Kill the Buzz and who they dream of doing a collaboration with next, and where they got their interesting name!

I’ll start with the question I feel like most people are wondering, where does the name ‘Futuristic Polar Bears’ come from?

You know, it’s one of these stories, every time we explain this; at the time we were looking for a new name, a new kind of brand. We went through a lot of different names. My girlfriend at the time thought I was bipolar cause I was moody all the time, I was in the studios every day and I was like ‘arggghh’, calling home, she kept calling me bipolar. And we were watching a program about Polar Bears one night and how Polar Bears could possibly be extinct in the next like 60 to 100 years. Then I was like Polar, she said bipolar, then I was like Futuristic Polar, and I was like Futuristic Polar Bears! I rang up the guys and I was like ‘Futuristic Polar Bears!’ and they were like ‘what, that’s the weirdest name I’ve ever heard!’ and I was like ‘it’s going to work though, I promise!’

Yeah, it’s catchy, it stands out, and people grab on to that kind of stuff.

Yeah man, so we put it on some flyers and stuff to see what it looked like and it looked pretty cool, so we rolled with it. But yeah man, it is a pretty strange name isn’t it? *laughs*

So you guys have your new single with Kill the Buzz, “Shake it Off”, which is an Amsterdam Dance Event promotional song, correct?

Yeah ADE is coming up in two weeks and obviously Revealed have their ADE releases that they do, their promotions. I think it’s like 12 or 15 tracks, but yeah, working with Revealed is incredible, man. And we met Kill the Buzz a few times, but the first time we met him was at a festival called Creamfields in the UK two years ago and we got along really well. We’ve done a few things together since and we’ve done a few tracks that we’ve played ourselves, but this was like the first one where we were like this is really, really good. We’ve been playing it for a few months. And the reaction has been incredible, you know. So it was really good, just to get another release on Revealed and to do some more work with Hardwell, its brilliant. Kill the Buzz, mate, he’s a really, really good guy. He’s one of those good guys in the industry and it’s great to be able to do something with him, so we are really happy with the results of it as well.

Does the collaborative process that you guys have change with each artist? Can you tell us what goes into a Futuristic Polar Bears collaborative effort?

The thing is that it’s really, really different all the time, mate. Usually what we’ll do is we’ll get an idea together and we’ll send it to someone, and they’ll do some stuff on it, and they’ll send it back over to us and we’ll do a bit more on it. Occasionally, you know, we’ve got tracks that are almost finished, and someone says ‘I’ve got an idea for that’ and we’ll have a little go at it and it might be something that’s really cool, and everyone will be like ‘okay!’ And occasionally it’s just like that. You sit down in the studio and get some beats together and just see how everything happens. But with like Skype now and the way you can produce online and edit projects online and stuff, the capabilities are incredible. Compared to when I started writing and producing music, I mean I’m a bit older than the other lads, I was using my expression 1, that’s really giving away my age, right? *laughs* You couldn’t do any of that type of stuff, I mean collabing was a difficult venture to do, but with today’s technology you can manage with the way you do stuff online. For instance, our studios, my studio and Rhys’ studio are completely synced up. So Rhys is in Wales, like five hours away from my studio, he’s able to log into my computer and pick up where I left off the night before, or vice versa, so it’s incredible the way you can do that.

Do you guys have any dream collaborators? Who would you collaborate with if you could collaborate with anybody right now, today?

Well, we do have some really exciting stuff coming up, but dream collaborations, I mean we’d obviously love to do something with Hardwell, obviously he’s our label boss and that’d be just really, really cool. Also, we’d like to possibly doing something with Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, we’ve been speaking to them recently and they’ve been giving us a lot of advice, so you know, they’ve been really cool and we’d love to something with them in the future as well. I mean what they’ve done in the last four years is just incredible how big they’ve become. I mean, they’re almost rock stars now! I mean, like a dream, dream collab, Rhys and I would love to do something with Steve Angello, he was really an early influence for both of us for writing, but around that kind of thing.

I could see a Futuristic Polar Bears/Steve Angello track being something really special that would work nicely, definitely!

I hope so, man!

Will we be seeing any North American/USA tour dates here any time soon?

We were over there for like 5 weeks at the beginning of November over into December, we were in Phoenix as well.

What did you think of us here in Arizona?

It was on another level, mate. It was absolutely unbelievable. It was an incredible place. I’m a bit of a fitness freak as well, so every time we’re on tour I’m always running and I’m always training and I went to Gold’s Gym down in the plaza there, in the square down in Phoenix, and it was the most incredible gym. I would go and take a run into those hill views and it was ABSOLUTLEY incredible! Again, the women there were all unbelievable, you’ve got some crazy stunning girls out there, and all the guys we met were awesome. You’re all some crazy ravers out there, mate. Phoenix was a really, really cool experience man. So we’re really looking forward to coming back to Arizona and all over America. We really enjoyed the tour. It’s looking like maybe the first quarter of next year, possibly end of January or February for a tour, which seems to be on the current for the moment, but all the details are still being put together. We will definitely be coming back, dude, that’s for sure!

You know, when I saw that you guys were at Life in Color last year I was so excited, I couldn’t get enough of “Back to Earth”, but I was so glad you guys came, it was awesome.

Oh you were there at the show, yeah?! Dang, it was a deadly, deadly show, like I have to say, we had just gotten off a plane, we’d just flown in from Chicago. We literally went straight to the hotel and changed and had to go right back out, it took two flights for some reason to get there, and we arrived like 20 minutes before our set time. We were proper freakin’ out we were going to miss it. But when we arrived over I was just like, ‘WOW, I love this place, man.’ It’s really, really good fun.

So, just as a more kind of fun question, you guys are obviously a trio, which of these three trios would you consider yourself to be most like, I feel like the answer is obvious: Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Harry Potter Kids, or the guys from The Hangover?

Definitely, definitely the guys from The Hangover, mate! Minus me *laughs* I don’t really drink anymore. More like the two lads have a hangover and it’s me trying to pick them up and get them sorted *laughs*

And then just for the last question, do you have any final words for aspiring producers out there?

You know, the thing is with producing these days, you’ve gotta have a clear vision of where you want to go, you have to realize as well that the only way to achieve that is to work really, really, really hard. One of the first pieces of advice I give to people is to stop partying, stop going out for a while, and every spare second you have, be in front of your computer or taking in some knowledge or practicing at some level at getting the elements you need and getting the components to make a track. And the thing is, at the moment, for young producers is that quality of what is acceptable now, it keeps on rising and rising. It’s not like 15 years ago or 10 years ago where you can make a track that’s good and you have the chance of breaking through. Tracks of the moment have to be INCREDIBLE! If you really, really, really want to do it, you have got to commit to it, completely immerse yourself in it, and eat, sleep, and breathe it every single day. I don’t think any one that half-asses it is going to achieve any level of success anymore, because unfortunately, being a good DJ just doesn’t count anymore, man. There are some amazing DJs around the world who will never be able to break out on the international scale because they are good DJs. If you don’t make the music you’re in trouble.

We can all hope that the Polar Bears will be in Phoenix again very soon, but in the meantime catch them at Amsterdam Dance event starting next weekend! You can download the ADE Sampler featuring Futuristic Polar Bears and Kill the Buzz’s track “Shake it Off” here:

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