Circumpolar is a Swedish duo driven by Jonas Mattson and Patrik Wallin. They last year self-released their debut-EP “Until The End Of Time” and next got signed on Alfa Matrix, which re-released this work. The second EP “We Will Remain” was released nearly at the same time and revealed a more sophisticated sound approach. The intelligent sound treatments remind me a bit of bands such as Clock DVA, Haujobb and related formations. Circumpolar might be the next new sensation for all of those who like intelligent electronics!
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Circumpolar is a rather unknown name at the wider fields of electro-underground music so can you briefly introduce the band, the way you get contaminated by the ‘electronic virus’ and what were the original purposes when setting up Circumpolar?
Circumpolar: Circumpolar is a new Swedish dark-electro/wave act that consists of Jonas Mattsson and Patrik Wallin. We are old friends since way back in time. We started to make music together when we were about 18 years old, and then played in different bands for some years in the Northern part of Sweden. However, we never released any of that material on record. For years now we have been talking about getting back together again, and about two years ago we decided trying to make electronic music together again.
The purpose behind Circumpolar is to create interesting electronic music within our own conceptual format and sound, which hopefully will be enjoyed by people all over the world.
Q: The name of your band refers to astrology, but can you tell us a bit more about this name and the possible links with lyrical content and music style?
Patrik: The stars that circle around the celestial pole and never set below the horizon are called ‘circumpolarstars’. In ancient Egypt, the circumpolar stars in the Northern sky were called ‘jhmw-sk’, ‘ the ones not knowing destruction’. The astronomical characteristics of these specific stars were used in numerous religious texts to express immortality and eternity, for example:
‘O uplifted one (i.e. the Pharaoh), being great among the circumpolar stars. You have not perished, you star of eternity’ (a citation from the so-called Pyramid Texts, 2300 BC)
I studied a lot of ancient history at university, and I have a PhD degree in Egyptology. Sometimes I use the imagery and concepts of life/death and space/time from ancient Egyptian religion in my lyrics.
Q: Referring to the music style and/or the ‘sound’ properly speaking, I experienced your work as a fusion between different genres and influences; EBM, IDM, ambient, dark-electro… How do you perceive your own sound? Can you tell us a bit more about potential sources of inspiration? References? And how did the song writing happened?
Circumpolar: Bands like Skinny Puppy, Front 242, The Klinik, Twice A Man, Kraftwerk, The Neon Judgement and Portion Control have always been sources of inspiration to us. Further, The Fields Of The Nephilim, The Sisters Of Mercy, Swans, The Cure, Joy Division, Rome and Dead Can Dance are bands that we both like a lot.
Both of us are still buying lots of records and we constantly discover new electronic and dark-electro artists. There is so much great new music within our genre yet to discover.
We like to think that we somehow have created mix between EBM, dark-electro and dark wave/goth. However, this was not the intention when we started the band, it just happened.
The process of creating new songs usually starts with an instrumental loop or just single sample, which we successively develop into a song.
Q: You last year self-released the debut EP “Until The End Of Times” -which got next re-released on Alfa Matrix, plus another EP “We Will Remain”. Can you briefly analyze both EP’s? Was there a particular focus in writing and production? And how did you get the deal with Alfa Matrix?
Circumpolar: The first song we recorded as Circumpolar was “The Rain Will Burn” from the first EP, and then we realized that we had created a musical concept and sound that we really liked. After that moment, it was very easy to continuing writing new songs.
On the “Until The End Of Time”-EP the foundation of our sound was built, whereas on the “We Will Remain”-EP the sound and concept evolved into something that will be even more present on our future releases.
We sent the songs from our first EP along with the songs to the “We Will Remain”-EP to about 15 different record labels. We got some offers, but when we got a positive response from Alfa Matrix we were overwhelmed.
Q: I think there’s an interesting evolution in writing and production between both EP’s; “We Will Remain” being definitely more elaborated and subtle, reminding me to bands such as Haujobb, Mentallo & The Fixer and Clock DVA. What does it say about your approach, studio equipment and your own evolution as musicians?
Circumpolar: On the second EP we have worked more with the vocals, and experimented a bit more with reverb, delay and other effects, trying to create a more dynamic and atmospheric experience. The structures of the songs are also a bit different compared to the first EP. Further, we spent much more time on mixing and mastering.
We have bought a lot of new gear since we recorded the first EP, for example a Korg Minilouge XD, the fantastic Strymon Big Sky Reverb, and some Roland drum machines.
Q: I think you’re back again in studio, so I can imagine there’s an album in the pipeline? What brings the future and what might we expect regarding topics such as image, social media activity and live performances?
Circumpolar: For the moment, we are recording new songs for a forthcoming album release. We are constantly producing loads of loops and outtakes, but now we have selected about nine songs out of that material to be finalized for an album.
It is quite possible that there will be some social media activities prior to our next releases, perhaps some live performances from the studio…
Yes, we will definitely play live in the future.