Julio Duran, lead vocalist and guitarist for the band Polar Waves, moved to Athens for one reason — to make it as a full time musician.
Polar Waves, a rock band that formed only a few months ago, recently completed its first album and will perform its first ever live show at the 40 Watt Club in Athens on July 15.
Originally from Chile, Duran moved to Athens last March knowing the relocation presented him with the best opportunity to make an album.
Duran recruited Andrew Fialka, a Ph.D. student in history from Kansas City, Missouri, as the drummer, and Duran invited Ben Rodriguez, a member of his former band to play guitar for the album. Together these three became Polar Waves.
The newly formed band finished recording its debut album in just over a month.
The band recorded with legendary Athens record producer John Keane who is well-known for his work with famous local bands such as R.E.M., the Indigo Girls and Widespread Panic. The band recorded at Keane’s renowned studio, John Keane Studios, which has been open since 1981.
The band finished its album “No One Needs Help Anymore,” which is set to drop in fall 2016. After finishing the album, Rodriguez returned to Chile, and the band recruited Johann Greco to fill his place and play bass.
Duran said the album’s name is just an observation on how he sees the world. It can be taken as sarcastic or even ironic depending on how the listener interprets the music.
“Because we have so much technology, we can solve a problem in a minute. But at the end of the day, it’s like everyone is isolated, which is both worrisome and exciting,” Duran said.
The band would record at night, and the members were challenged to keep up their energy to promote the album during the day, Duran said.
“We had to be disciplined enough to have a normal lifestyle, go to meetings and interviews in the morning and promote,” Duran said. “We also had to be fresh and alert to record at night.”
Duran said those who have heard the band describe its sound as early 1990s, but Duran feels like it sounds fresher than that.
Duran thinks the group’s sound is more alternative rock.
“We sound like what used to be mainstream 20 years ago,” Duran said. “We’re in more of a niche kind of category.”
Duran said he grew up listening to a lot of alternative rock and American music. He also listened to classical music, jazz and rock, and his influences include Jim Morrison and Scott Weiland.
“I’m inspired by mind-unlocking sounds,” Duran said.
Duran said Polar Waves is excited for audiences to finally hear its sound at its first ever live performance. He said it’s an amazing feeling, and the band is elated to have the opportunity to perform its first live show at such a well-known location that so many people in Athens know and love.
“We are working so hard to make sure it is a fun show and people enjoy themselves and bring their friends and discover a new band,” Duran said.
Polar Waves reached out to other local bands in search of bands who would be interested in sharing the bill. Accompanying them will be local bands Carly Joy King and fat neptune, who’s different music styles will complement Polar Waves’ sound, Duran said.
Although he doesn’t want to reveal too much of its debut performance, Duran said the band’s set will include some songs from its upcoming record, some new material the members have been working on and possibly a secret cover. Duran said Polar Waves will definitely perform its single “Stoner,” which has gained popularity through radio airplay.
When it comes to writing lyrics, Duran said he is inspired by real life events. For example, there is a song on the new album called “Now” which is about Rodriguez leaving and the band recruiting Greco to take his place.
After its July 15 performance, the band plans on touring the state while heavily promoting its single. Being new to Georgia, Duran looks forward to visiting towns with well-known music scenes such as Macon, Savannah and Augusta as well as expanding the band’s fan base in the process.
“We hope people want to keep seeing us live, and we will pay them back by giving our best and putting on energetic shows,” Duran said.