Each time December rolls around, you have to be thankful for artists like Polographia. Their tunes are the kind that will send you from a ten to a zero on the stress scale – breezy instrumental bliss packed with enough summer goodness you’ll need to slip, slop slap before listening.
After teaming up with some of the hottest vocalists in the country, they brought out their latest EP Friends on November 11 and took it on tour. A couple of days before their Sydney gig, we sat down in Camperdown Park with Dan and Moktar for a chat.
A Sydney duo with a penchant for picking vocalists, Polographia are the symphonists of your summertime and the ensemble to your happy place.
HAPPY: Hey dudes, thanks for coming. How’re you going?
DAN: Great, thanks for having us.
HAPPY: Anytime. I’ll start with this – everyone describes your music as something very relaxing, something very calming. I always thought of it as the music that plays while you’re shooting slow motion through the middle of a wave.
DAN: Yes! 100%.
HAPPY: It’s something along those lines for you guys? Beachy vibe?
DAN: Yeah beachy, outdoorsy music. Everybody tells us that our music sounds like they’re somewhere, like somewhere tropical or on a beach.
HAPPY: Holiday music.
MOKTAR: Get a lot of people telling me that they put it on in the background while they’re doing anything.
DAN: Non-abrasive. Smooth.
HAPPY: And if you could listen to the EP anywhere on the planet where would it be?
DAN: Hmmm… space. Not even on the planet.
MOKTAR: Or back in the 90s.
DAN: When we weren’t doing much on weekend.
HAPPY: There’s definitely a summer vibe there. Did you plan the release for when people would be tuning in to summer music?
MOKTAR: It’s just something we’ve gradually done.
DAN: The Sunsets EP was on the 11th of September 2011… we keep releasing on the 11th for some reason.
MOKTAR: Yeah so the 11th just before any summer season we always drop a new EP and we’ve done it by accident every time.
HAPPY: You guys like touring in summer?
MOKTAR: It’s always just been fate.
DAN: So you just need to pick the right time and wait for it.
HAPPY: Well what you should do is go international and only live in the summer.
DAN: Now that would be cool.
HAPPY: Now the EP’s out, what have some of the first reactions been like from mates, fans and musos?
DAN: Really positive. Everything’s been really positive straight-up.
MOKTAR: It’s really strange for us, cause we’ve been working really hard for years and now that we’re getting all this positive feedback, getting played on triple j and getting onto Majestic Casual it’s been… to be honest now that it’s got to that point it only feels like we need to keep pushing it. When we used to think about we were like ‘man I wish it would get to that point’ and it felt so far away, but then overnight it all happened. Big thanks to Winston Surfshirt as well, he was a huge help.
HAPPY: Were you surprised at all?
DAN: Yeah pretty surprised. We didn’t have any expectations.
HAPPY: Onto Winston, and all the other collabs on the EP. Were they people you’d met over the years or did you want to bring them in because you were fans?
DAN: Moktar met Winston just because you went to a show of his?
MOKTAR: Yeah I saw him randomly at a backyard show and right after that he disappeared for a couple of months – he went to Europe. When I noticed he would be playing again in Newtown I went and checked him out and it just went from there. He was super keen on it and we started bouncing ideas from there. Dan and I had the track so we gave him the demo.
DAN: We were already looking for someone, we straightaway thought it should be him.
HAPPY: Were you looking for a rap verse specifically?
MOKTAR: We just loved everything he brings. He sung us one demo only and that was it, he didn’t even change the lyrics. That’s how it was the first time he sent it to us.
DAN: He’ll just come up with these crazy melodies straight-up, first demo.
MOKTAR: We didn’t want him to change it, it was perfect. We just needed to get it re-recorded and now we want to keep writing music together.
HAPPY: You’ll keep working with Winston?
DAN: For sure.
HAPPY: How about the other collabs?
MOKTAR: They were over the internet, we’d never met Goodbye Moon. They recorded vocals for us and went back and forth a bit. We didn’t actually meet them until we flew them down to Sydney to play onstage with us.
HAPPY: Must have been crazy for them.
DAN: There was Simon (Looks Fade) as well who sung on Feels Alright, definetely want to work with him again. We were searching for a vocalist for that track, putting our feelers out there and then this little demo crept in over email. Ok – who’s this Looks Fade guy? We got it on and we were both in tears (laughs).
MOKTAR: With this EP especially we got really lucky. In the past the reason we couldn’t get things completely done it was because the collabs never really worked out. With this EP everyone just came together so well.
DAN: Everyone we collabed with, we all like the same shit as well. It all fit perfectly.
HAPPY: The film clip for Sly, you guys worked with yeahsure on that one right?
HAPPY: Did you come to them with the concept?
MOKTAR: Yeah we came to them with the concept but then they just brought it to life. We’re not directors, all we know is music and they translated what we wanted really well.
DAN: Basically we wanted a chill film clip to have fun in. With some green screen stuff. Nailed it.
MOKTAR: Something simple but really effective. It took us a couple of hours, we had heaps of fun with it.
DAN: Like half a day. We went there, set some stuff up, had a bit of a muck around and then went home.
HAPPY: Are you bringing some of those visual vibes to the live show?
MOKTAR: Definitely going to try. We really want to in the future.
DAN: We’ve been working towards that since day one.
MOKTAR: It’s because we feel a bit naked if we perform without the vocalists. We would like to have a bit of animation or something to contribute. At the moment it’s straight up instrumental sets, we kind of remix it a bit.
DAN: I’m a graphic designer too, so I always try to make sure everything is matching across everywhere. It has to have the right colours, the right feel.
HAPPY: Must be pretty useful having a graphic designer in the band.
MOKTAR: Yep! Definitely.
HAPPY: And after you’re done with the tour, middle of summer, what are you guys going to do next?
DAN: Winter holiday in London?
HAPPY: So Polographia!
MOKTAR: I’m gonna be working but the plan was to play a couple of festivals… that might not happen now but in January we’ve got a tour coming up with Rüfüs. And whatever random shows pop up.
DAN: We’re ready to go with whatever comes up at us.
HAPPY: And the next release? Do you have an idea of who you want to work with?
DAN: We’ve sort of started working on our next project but it’s really early days. We’ve got our dream list together but mainly on instrumentals now.
HAPPY: Would you guys ever think about an album?
DAN: Yeah, that’s the dream.
MOKTAR: I reckon we’ll have a couple of releases next year. A busy year.
HAPPY: Well I reckon I’m looking forward to it much more than you guys. Thanks very much dudes!
MOKTAR: Thanks man.
Polographia have the final show of their Friends tour this Friday night at Rocket Bar in Adelaide. Grab your tickets here.