Giving it up to ‘be Polar Bear Club forever’

Jimmy Stadt of Polar Bear Club

Jimmy Stadt of Polar Bear Club talks to LSY! teen reporter Katie Muise. (Photo by Tim O’Shei)

Polar Bear Club: A group of friends that have been touring for the past five years just trying to find their voice in the music business.

Formed in 2005, the hardcore band comes from the small town of Rochester, New York. Two members, Jimmy Stadt and Chris Browne, knew each other from high school. They all started off in different bands, and played music as a hobby. It was something they loved to do, but didn’t think it would ever get very far.

They went to college like normal kids, but continued working on Polar Bear Club.

“We went off and did our own thing, and it was still getting popular,” Jimmy said. “And we were like, ‘You know what? Let’s just give up this other stuff and be in Polar Bear Club forever.’”

As time progressed, their new band was getting more and more press, unlike the previous bands they had been in.

The well-known magazine Alternative Press contacted them and wanted to do a full page spread on the band — even though Polar Bear Club had never left Rochester.

“We had been in bands for years and no one had ever cared outside of Upstate New York,” Jimmy said. “And then finally Alternative Press wanted to do a full page spread on us. And we’re like, ‘You know, we’ve never toured. We’ve never even played outside of our home town’ And they were like, ‘Yeah but we really like you. We want to do a feature on you.’

“And it just kind of started there.”

Since then, they have traveled across the United States with bands such as Balance and Composure, Such Gold, and now Taking Back Sunday and The Maine.

“We’re used to playing in dark, dirty clubs and sort of low lights, you know?” Jimmy said. “But it’s cool. We’ve been touring now for five years.”

However, touring isn’t what the band loves doing the most. Jimmy prefers the studio.

“It’s amazing, being in the studio,” he said. “That is why I’m in a band. I love doing that so much.”

When we caught up with Jimmy on the Zumiez Couch Tour, the band was in the midst of recording an album in Philadelphia. They were working with the producer Will Yip, who recently has produced albums with Circa Survive, Man Overboard and Title Fight, among others.

Jimmy mentioned that he loves the production process of making new music: pre-production, working on sound, and so on. Those are his favorite things. However, don’t let him fool you. He said he does love performing for his fans, but songwriting is the highlight of his job and it’s different every time he does it.

“You really just have to get it (the music) up on its feet, and throw some crap around until the crap starts to make sense, or until the crap starts to excites you,” he said.

Jimmy takes inspiration from a lot of different sources when writing, especially his contemporaries. Balance and Composure, Title Fight, and Fireworks are bands that Polar Bear Club tour with, and at the same time they like to pull inspiration from them as well.

“That’s one of our biggest inspirations,” he said, “to feel like, not competitive, but inspired by your friend doing something great and being like, ‘Damn, I didn’t know they had that in them.’”

He doesn’t like using the word competition, calling it “lame,” because he said that’s not what it is. The groups he takes inspiration from, he considers friends. That’s probably how he feels with the fan base they have established. In many ways, Polar Bear Club’s fans are the band’s friends.

Jimmy has a message for people who dream of starting a band: Don’t be afraid to go for your dreams. You can’t have regrets and you can’t be lazy. Although Polar Bear Club haven’t reached their big break yet, according to Jimmy, the group certainly have reached a level of fame to be proud of.

“All we did is just started doing it,” he said. “That’s all you can do. You can’t be afraid to lose a lot of money. You can’t be afraid to work hard. You just have to go and do it and you’ll know from there. It’s a very mysterious business. You just have to go and do it.”

Katie Muise, LSY! teen reporter, Mount St. Mary Academy

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