We caught up with Brighton math-rock three-piece, Polymath, ahead of their StrangeForms performance...
*StrangeForms Festival takes place over the Easter Bank Holiday (19th & 20th April) at Wharf Chambers and features sixteen post-rock, post-metal and math rock acts.*
BAD OWL PRESENTS: Our first experience of Polymath was via your blistering set at ArcTanGent last year - how much do you think that performance helped establish you and bring you to the attention of a wider audience?
POLYMATH: Quite a lot I'd imagine. ArcTanGent was a fantastic vehicle for bands like us. Everyone at that festival was just so willing to check out new bands no matter who they were or whether they'd heard of them before. We were expecting to play to an empty tent being first on, on the first full day, and being incredibly unknown (we'd barely put out one track at the time), but the response was amazing, we played to a packed tent, and had handed out all our free download cards and sold a load of Tshirts before we even finished playing! That show was also really important for us because at the time Polymath was a side project as all 3 of us were in other bands, it was the first time we really realised we wanted to make this band a main focus.
BOP: You have three singles (Vertex, Tetragon & El Castillo) available as free downloads on your Bandcamp along with debut CD single 'La Union De Roku & Demipenteract' - what was your thinking in choosing 'La Union...' as a CD as opposed to the others and can we expect to see any of the tracks feature on the debut album?
P: Actually 'La Union' is kind of a mini EP. Whilst it's a single track, it consists of 2 independent pieces, 'Roku' and 'Demipenteract' we just kept the link in between them and released it as one continuous 11 minute piece. It was also the first piece of work we recorded with Mike Lord at Brighton Electric. We spent a lot more time on it than we did the others. In fact, Tetragon, El Castillo and Vertex were recorded all in one day, virtually live, for that reason I think we kept them as online releases only. I don't know if we would put them on an album, we like the idea of concept pieces, throwing those earlier tracks on a record now would be a bit disjointed.
BOP: Your song structures are incredibly complex and often sounds like there is more than just the three of you - tell us a little bit about your song writing process?
P: A lot of our song writing is rhythm based, Tim our guitarist is actually a drummer first, so him and Chris tend to think in that way. Often Tim will bring in a basic idea or series of ideas, we'll learn them, and then do our best to mess them up, add weird breaks odd time changes and so on. We use a lot of looping live, that tends to fill out the sound when 3 instruments isn't enough.
BOP: Polymath will be playing the Saturday at StrangeForms - are you planning on being around for the day or weekend and, if so, who are you looking forward to seeing?
P: Yeah it's going to be a brilliant weekend. Our guitarist Tim is actually the drummer for Monsters Build Mean Robots so we'll be looking forward to their set. Cleft are good friends of ours, we're playing quite a few of their dates on their mini tour for their new album, 'Bosh', so we'll be looking forward to them too. To be honest the line up is so good it would be wrong to list a few and miss others out, the whole thing is going to be excellent.
BOP: Polymath are asked to curate their own gig - what four bands, past or present, would you have on the bill?
P: King Crimson, Pink Floyd, The Mars Volta (early line-up), Mclusky.
BOP: And finally, other than StrangeForms, what are your plans for the rest of 2014?
P: We've got a few things ahead of us for 2014 that we're pretty excited about. We're heading to Prague to play a show on a boat for the Czech Art's council. We're recording a new EP with the ASIWYFA producer, Lee McMahon. We've recorded two new live videos with Illuminate TV that we'll put out over the next few weeks. We're heading to Europe towards the end of the year with our friends Shrine. Lots to look forward to, and hopefully loads more shows in between.
Polymath are due to play StrangeForms at 7pm on Saturday 19th April.
Weekend tickets cost £15 from Jumbo, Crash & Wharf Chambers.
Day tickets cost £9 from WeGotTickets.com/f/7245