INTERVIEW: An interview with Polaris, Summer 2014 by Natalia Toussaint

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I really wanted to interview Polaris, born Vlad Tiron, after seeing him play the closing slot for Zero Fox’s Static event featuring Dr. Ozi. A Toronto local, born in Romania, his drum and bass set reminded me of why I will always love drum and bass. As a classically trained pianist from age 5 and first producing trance, Polaris has left his mark in Toronto. Releasing music through Dub Hub Toronto, and his first EP “Bright Eyes”, out now, you can expect to hear a lot more productions coming from the 24 year old producer.

With a huge fan base of ravers under 19 and getting his start DJing at Free Raves, thanks to Christian Poulsen (hugsnotdrugs), Polaris has blown away pioneers out the water after winning the DJ competition to play at FREAKOUT! 2013. Receiving feedback from established artists such as Rick Toxic, James Brown, Christian Poulsen and DJ Dynamic, Polaris has honed his craft and after four short years of playing shows and producing his own music. A collaborative project, called Perpetual Motion, with Kyle Lewis, is where Polairs is able to see his vision go further while working with a close friend in the business.

After playing his first shows at Free Raves and Nocturne, Polaris has been in the game for a few short years but has the wisdom of an artist who has been around the block a few times. With aspirations to one day score films, Polaris is happy “doing what I love to do…having enough money to eat and live comfortably. Can’t go wrong with a bed to sleep in, roof over my head, food on the table, the Internet and a computer.”

1. How did you come to be a producer/DJ? What drew you to it?
I’m a classically trained pianist, started at 5 then stopped at 18. I started producing trance shortly after I stopped playing piano…it’s always been my first love. You can hear elements of trance in some of my productions.

DJing came to be when I played my first Free Rave. It was the first time I was ever behind the decks. I got a quick lesson, but mostly figured things out for myself. I didn’t train wreck and I had a lot of fun so I continued. I wanted to DJ for myself so I did. I sent my demo to DJ Dynamic from Nocturnal Commissions and the rest is history.


2. Why drum and bass over other genres? Are there any other genres that resonate with you like dnb?
It’s fast, energetic and there is nothing else like it. There are many sub-levels and sub-genres within it. Neuo-Funk, liquid, minimal, techy…it’s diverse. Not matter what kind of emotion you feel, you can convey it in any song. I’ve never gotten bored of the genre and I don’t think I ever will.

3. Who/what influences you?
The days where I don’t listen to music is where I find the most inspiration. I get a jingle, record it and build upon it. The same thing happens when I make a groove on Abelton. Sometimes I start out making a sound and it turns out completely different that originally planned.

I don’t think I have ever made happy music. If I’ve been going through something tough, I have a spurt of writing. I’m lucky because I go through spurts.

4. Which artists would you like to work with?
Artists like Smooth from Viper Recordings, Intraspekt,  I would be an honour to sit in on a Noisia session. The way they make their tracks, they mix natural sound elements with electronic. It’s such an organic feel. I’m very intrigued by deadmau5 and Skrillex.

5. Your dream job is to score films. Are there any film scores or composers that stand out to you? Anything you would change about ones you haven’t mentioned?
Hans Zimmer, John Williams and The Dark Knight soundtrack. It has a lot of electronic elements in it, makes me hopeful that composers and audio engineers, two masters of their craft, can come together and producing something that leaves so much emotion in a person. I would love to be able to bridge the gap between classical music theory, chord progression and sound design. Nero and Sub Focus come to mind.

Plus music from Vikings (TV show), Assassin’s Creed, World of Worldcraft and Skyrim. I am also a fan of ethnic sounding instruments/styles; Egyptian and Arabic music really resonates with me.

6. If film scoring, producing or DJing was not possible, what do you think you would be doing?
Probably flipping burgers. Scares me to think about that, especially in today’s economy. I’d say just follow your dreams, your passion. If you’re not doing something you love doing you’ll have a pretty bitter life ahead of you.

7. FREAKOUT! 2013, what was that experience like? How have you evolved as a producer/DJ since then?
I did not expect to win. The competition was fierce, there were guys there who have been DJing way longer than I have and some were even using vinyl…something I need to practice more on. I had a lot of fun with my set and about half way through Rick grabs my ass and tells me “I’m a monster!” That Gave me a boost. I let loose and played like I would with my friends. It worked to my advantage, as I was told I pulled some stuff off that people were impressed by. James announced that I won. The whole way home, it hadn’t soaked it in. It still hadn’t by the time Rick messaged me the next day.

It was a honour to be on the lineup. I had been to a few FREAKOUT! events before, liked them and never would have imagined seeing my name on the bill.

8. Can you still remember the first set you ever played? What event? Do you still experience the same thing before stepping on stage today?
I like to eat a lot. I’ll have a meal but I am fond of taking 10 minutes away from the party and find a place to collect myself before I play. It’s gotten easier but it’s still a bit nerve racking, especially opening for an artist you look up to. Once you on stage, though, you forget everything, your set flies by and it’s over in a blink of an eye.

9. Have you ever had a crazed fan situation? If yes, what happened and how did you deal with it?
*Laughs* Yeah. There was this one guy who I would see everywhere. He would always come up as ask “hey, I saw you on the subway, do you remember me?” I told him, “you may have seen me but I didn’t see you.” At each event he would say the exact same thing to me and by the fifth time, I would say “the subway, I remember.”

I do have a fan base that keeps in touch with me to find out what I am doing next. The all-ages crowd has so much energy. I had one guy come up and say “the reason I came today is because of you.” It still blows me away, I’m no Justin Bieber.

10. You’ve been in the scene for 4 years, how have you seen it change? Music and fan wise?
I have changed. I went from wearing camp pants and UFOs, my junglist shirt, having dreds, to playing 19+ parties. People come from work, a few in suits, so I toned it down a bit. I do have my shoe box of tickets, kandi, glow sticks, etc. I was deep into raving, just not the drugs. I’ve seen people in it and I’ve never wanted to look or feel like it. I was never drawn to it.

The scene’s gotten younger. It’s 3 a.m. and these kids are falling asleep. They are out every weekend and sometimes during the week. It’s hard to see the young minds depleting themselves so early in their lives. I don’t know how much worse it will be in the future. There are more fights.

Two years ago, the scene was hanging by a thread. Every group was looking for venues. Every few years the scene needs to flush itself out, have a resurgence of people.

11. What will you be doing over the rest of the summer?
For the rest of the summer I’ll be focusing on writing music. I’m excited to see what other experiences come my way through Dub Hub.

12. Any last thoughts?
It’s important to support your scene, your friends, new comers and established artists. Try to get out as much as possible and explore electronic music, find what you like and don’t like and just don’t take someone else’s criticisms as your own. Put the energy you want into a project, or anything you desire because you’ll get out of it what you put in.

Polaris and I chatted for a good hour. It was an absolute joy to be able to discover such insight from someone who has had success in such a short amount of time. What he said is completely true “you are your own worst critic,” and that “the scene needs to thrive off of new blood.” If we can tell anything the youngsters who attend Free Raves consistently, we are in for a resurgence of those who know the music, understand the music and who attend events for the music. Sending all the positive vibes to Polaris and Perpetual Motion for success in the future.

You can catch Polaris at the following gigs:

Thursday July 17 at Nocturne Facebook event 

Saturday July 19 at Penny’s Bar Facebook event

Friday July 25 at Rockpile West

LINKS:

Polaris
Facebook
Twitter 
SoundCloud 
Mixcloud

Natalia ToussaintEDM TOR

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About Author

Adele Desloges

Adele is the Manager at EDM TOR. She also heads up the social media as well as the photo and video team, and has been promoting events across the GTA for years. She has been a fan of EDM since the mid-90s and has since found a focus of pure joy in the trance genre.

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