Penguins Kill Polar Bears - Interview
Interview with Penguins Kill Polar Bears April 2014
Scottish ambient rockers Penguins Kill Polar Bears return with their debut album 'Building Homes From Broken Bones'. It's been a while since their last EP - 'Sapling' - and in that time, they've had a line-up change and honed their sound which lies somewhere in-between Aereogramme and Explosions In The Sky - beautiful rocking post-rock. Fraser Sanaghan from the band took some time out to talk to Contactmusic...
It's been over three years since your last release (Sapling EP), how come it took so long for you guys to return?
We made a conscious decision after the last release that we wanted to make an album and that we'd do it our own way and take as long as we needed to get something that we were happy with. We decided we weren't going to release something just for the sake of keeping things ticking over and making sure people kept an interest in the band, the album had to be the priority and we were going to focus all our efforts on it. Having said that, it probably could have been released quicker. Money has been a big factor, we've paid for this album ourselves and we lost our bass player too so having Gregor come in to the band has felt a little like starting from scratch, in a good way of course.
How is your new album 'Building Homes From Broken Bones' different from your previous work?
In all seriousness, it's different in the sense that it is a proper long playing album. When we wrote it there was a definite focus on the album overall, making a bunch of songs that were going to fit together and sound a certain way over the course of 50 minutes (or however long it ended up being), we had to put ourselves in the mind set to do that. Previous releases have been more along the lines of "these are all the songs we have written to date, lets get them recorded and get them out there!"
What do you hope to achieve with this new album?
Ultimately we just wanted to create a body of work that we are proud of, something that challenged us and we feel we have done that. We wanted to step up from previous releases in terms of songwriting and we hope we've done that as well. Obviously we hope that it gets heard as far and wide as possible, people get into it and the fan base expands and we make a bit of money back so we can do another release.
Will you guys be touring - what can we expect from PKPB live?
We are definitely planning to tour, we're in the process of booking dates in the UK so they should be announced soon. Playing live is a very different thing for us and we're sure any other artist would agree. It's not a just case of turning up and reciting the songs that you've recorded, there has to be an energy there and we feel people watching should leave having felt something, that's what we aim for. And we like to be loud too.
Can you explain the name?
Of the album? I think we'd like to leave that up to the listener to make their own interpretation. The album name came last, all songs were written and titles decided and Building Homes from Broken Bones was something that we felt encompassed the ideas that are going on throughout the record.
What are your favourite bands at the moment and why?
Between the four of us we listen to a lot of stuff. Some of it has an influence on the way we write, others not so much. We're all into Manchester Orchestra in a big way and we're really excited for their new album. There's a great band called Campfires in Winter who are going to be playing at our album launch, we're looking forward to playing with them. That new St Vincent album is great too, she's so innovative, both as a guitarist and a songwriter.
What's the Scottish scene like right now and compared to the current Scottish scene, how do you guys stand out?
We've never really felt in tune with the Scottish music scene to be honest. There's bands we've had the pleasure to play with and become good friends with and that's really cool. Bands bonding and helping each other out is more important to us than being part of a scene, as long as we're playing and making music, we're happy with that. We've no intention of standing out, we're not interested in breaking new ground in music, we'd rather just make good music.
What are your plans after the album?
Playing as many shows as possible. We'd like to get out there on the road and make people aware that this record exists. Basements, festivals, we're open to anything, anywhere. We'll see how things go later in the year but it'd be good to start working on something new as well.
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