“We’re not out to conquer the dancefloor”

Get to know The Policy ahead of their show at Aus Berlin.

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After seven years of meticulously working on their sound, The Policy have perfected their “art house” genre and delivered their much-anticipated first track Rebirth. These boys aren’t necessarily out to conquer the dancefloor, but imagine their music in a more intimate setting; delving into personal stories to create songs that bring comfort to like-minded listeners. Glamcult got to know the Dutch duo and their sonic richness—to be experienced live at Aus Berlin next week.

We love the video for Rebirth, it’s very hypnotic. Could you tell us about the motivations and meaning behind it?

Well, thank you! For us a music video should be an extension of the music. So like our song, the music video is about a journey one can take from within. As you can imagine such a journey is rather abstract, but we did try to visualize some of the themes we cover in the song, like nostalgia, depression and euphoria. All of this happens in a moment where our protagonist seems to be losing grip on reality to the point where he questions what reality is in the first place—being left pretty dazed and confused.

Having worked on your sound together for seven years, how did you know you were now ready to release your first track?

We first set out to find our own unique voice and when we felt confident that we had found it, we started to make a lot of tracks. We take a very long time to finish music, to give an example: the first version of Rebirth originates from 2011. So you can imagine this requires us to have a lot of finished tracks on the shelf before we could release the first track. With enough tracks and [PIAS] on board, we were ready to start.

How is the workload split between the two of you? Who does what?

Thijmen comes from a production/dance music background and I (Pierre) come from a singer/songwriter background. The fusion of the two talents and songwriting styles shaped our collaboration early on when we started making music together in the studio, with both of us getting more comfortable with each other’s line of work. The clearest split nowadays would be that Thijmen does the vocals and Pierre plays the guitar.

You describe your music as “house music with an artistic twist”. Please explain!  

What we call art house is a reference to the art rock movement of the late 60s and early 70s. Art rock was the idea that rock music, heavily commercialized at that time, should be more than just entertainment; it should be a personal, creative and artistic expression. Instead of rock we took a popular genre in today’s music that we like—house—and its main focus is the dancefloor. But with all the low-end violence on club systems, there is little room for subtle details, which automatically affects how house music is crafted. What we like about artists like Brian Wilson is the sonic richness you experience as a listener. So we took the house drums and drive, and use that as a base to create a borderless environment in which we can create sonically rich music where artistic expression stands at the front.

What message are you trying to get across with your music?

Although our songs mostly cover quite depressing themes, we never want to depress our audience, but rather give them comfort and hope, because to us that’s the beauty of music. If a movie makes you cry it’s because the director and actors successfully made you care about and empathize with their fictional characters. But if a song makes you cry it’s because it feels like it’s telling a story about you, it can feel very personal. That’s why we sing about stories that are close to us; we hope people can relate to them and find comfort in them.

You previously mentioned that you’re inspired by Lou Reed and Pink Floyd—are there any current artists that you look to for inspiration or simply enjoy listening to?

Not so much, to be honest. But we’re very lucky to be surrounded by extremely talented friends, like Eversines and Polynation, that inspire us and we hope we can inspire them in return.

What do you enjoy most about playing live?

Thijmen: I have a quite radical stage fright, so I don’t always enjoy it as much as I maybe should. But the love you can receive from an audience is enough for me to swallow my fears and get out there.

Pierre: I like the idea of creating a unique moment we share together on stage and with the crowd; there is not one moment the same as before. Every phrase you play on your instrument has a slightly different feel and is dissimilar every time. For me that’s the special part about playing live; although you play the same songs over and over again, every time and every moment is unique. I think it’s important to see it this way; otherwise I’d eventually lose the joy of playing live. When you are giving everything you have in the moment and you get love from an audience, it’s absolutely magical.

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The Policy perform at Aus Berlin on 26 November.

Get your tickets here.

 

www.soundcloud.com/thepolicy

www.ausberlin.nl