The Polyphonic Spree
As you glance around the crowd at a Polyphonic Spree gig there's masses of smiling elated faces with hands outstretched to the sky, a few cry tears of joy and a number faint at the sheer intensity of it all. There simply hasn't been this sort of reaction to a contemporary musical outfit in recent history and the atmosphere is closer to a gospel concert than traditional rock & roll. We caught up with Jesse, one of the choir boys, to find out more about the message and the 25 piece symphonic choral pop group that is the Polyphonic Spree.
Q: A rather obvious question, but one I still feel we need to ask. How is it going on the NME Tour with you being so different in sound and scale to the other bands?
A: I think were really happy with the other bands were playing with even though our music might be different...naturally a 25 piece symphonic choral pop group is going to be original and different than any band they're playing with - there's no getting around that.
It's going as smoothly as a tour with 24 people can go. It's not so much that we get our own way, but we are a walking hazard. Were a constant problem I'd venture to say because were always taking up somebody's space cos there is so many of us, were always having to share dressing rooms and share food with each other...and that's ok because it makes us more like a family when we share like that.
You look around when were playing and people are elated...and you simply don't get that unless your at a Polyphonic Spree gig. People are engulfed in smiles and embracing each other with hugs and laughter. Some people even cry. Last night at a show in Liverpool a girl even fainted. It's getting pretty intense out there and it's just because they are receiving the message as strongly as were delivering it.
Q: I'm trying to get an idea of how the group dynamic works here with 24 members in the Spree. Does the group split off into splinter groups?
A: I think anytime that many people get together, people are going to clique off and segregate a little bit. That's why were all in the same band because there's meeting and shows and photo shoots where were all together unified and that's when it really shines that were all one.
The way I look at the Polyphonic Spree is aside from Tim we are all a collective of people who see his vision and agree somewhat with his vision as abstract as the vision may be. We all want to support it and help it as best we can, so we kind of have to be selfless. I personally am taking it for granted that I'm here to help and nothing more, nothing less. Not to get any light. Not to achieve any fame. Just to spread this message because it's a message that the world's been starving for for way too long.
Q: Currently the number of members stands at 24. Is this likely to grow in the future at all?
A: We've fluctuated and de-fluctuated many times. Were always losing and gaining members and again at the risk of sounding repetitive with a band this large that's bound to happen. We love everybody, but it's kind of like when you get a dog and you don't know if you can keep it or not - you can't get too attached to it because it could go at any time.
Q: Obviously there are different sections of the Spree from the choir to the string section to more traditional rock & roll elements. Will there come a time when people break off and form their own side projects?
A: I don't think it would be something such as the choir as a collective, but their are definitely bands within this band who are going to raise from the surface eventually. I really believe that this will give way to a new generation of good music because when my mama was growing up she had classic bands of her generation that people still listen - timeless music like Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin and so on. And I think this band is the beginning of a new wave of timeless classic music because it's bound to happen and it needs to happen.
The day the Polyphonic Spree is no more I want to do everything in my power to make the same basic message continue on. Somebody has to do it. Somebody has to accept that responsibility.
"Light & Day" is out now
The band have just announced a tour in June
For more information
Post your Polyphonic Spree reviews / comments on the Message Board