Almost a full year after our first Conversation With Sydney’s own Polish Club, we sat down with vocalist and guitarist David Novak to discuss the past year, their latest single and the upcoming Sydney tour. After a huge year of international shows, the duo of Novak and drummer John-Henry Palak have returned with the new single ‘Clarity’, with an album set for release in 2019. Expanding on their simple two-piece dynamic, Novak explained the difficulty of reproducing the new material on stage. With the upcoming Get Some Clarity Sydney tour only a few weeks away, Novak teased a possible solution.
“We’re actually doing something special in Sydney for those three shows. We’re gonna possibly try a third member.”
While the details regarding this third member and the extent of their role were vague, he explained how the last year had led to this point. Following the 2017 release of debut LP Alright Already, 2018 has been busy for the band. They just came off the back of a German tour, which followed other European and U.S tours. On top of the live shows, the duo have been furiously working away on their second album in studio rehearsals. But Novak’s happy about the grind.
“It’s been pretty chockers for a band who, to use a really stupid redundant term, are ‘off cycle’. It’s good, it’s nice to be busy. I don’t want to be left alone with my own thoughts too long,” he joked.
The intensity of the constant touring has pushed the band to improve and expand musically. This has lead them to their latest single, ‘Clarity’, which Novak believes has more depth and emotion than their earlier releases. With brighter melodies, more harmonic lines and new guitar effects, ‘Clarity’ marks a growth in the band.
“It still sounds like Polish Club but we’ve expanded on what we can get away with as a two-piece,” Novak stated.
Novak’s primary example of this is the expansion of his pedal board for guitar. Moving past his distortion, boost and reverb pedals, which made the guitar “kinda bluesy and simple”, Novak has been experimenting with a pedal to turn the guitar into a synth and multiple octave pedals. Compared to when he told us “I fuckin’ hate the guitar” in 2017, he has embraced the instrument more.
“It’s definitely in a better place now. It’s a little bit daunting for me, because I kinda consider myself a singer before a guitarist, trying to find how much I can push it while still being that same guy from a year ago. I like to do things instinctively and go with my gut reaction. The rule for me in my head is if it’s fun, it’ll be fun for other people and it’ll feel real.”
Polish Club pride themselves on sounding genuine to the audience, telling us in 2017 to always favour “authenticity over originality”. As they introduce new sounds, their main difficulty is maintaining this authenticity. As greater depth in the high and low ends comes into the sound, Polish Club have used synth work to add musical density and some sampled work. However, authenticity is still key, with Novak saying the one thing he can guarantee is that Polish Club with “never play to a backing track.”
“It’s something we have to approach now, because we’re about to go on tour. How are we gonna do that live? It’s a question of do we add someone else, do we add more channels to my guitar or does John start using a few more sample stuff.” Teasing the prospect of a third member, Novak went on to say “we used to embrace the limitations of it and now we’re trying to expand on those limitations and really push what you can do successfully.”
With the upcoming Sydney show, Novak is excited to return to the smaller hometown venues. The intimate crowds will give them a chance to play some of the old stuff, while experimenting with some new. While he is nervous about the response to growing beyond a two-piece, he feels Sydney is the safest place to prove that this expansion works and that there isn’t any reason to restrict themselves to two members.
“It was never something that we consciously thought of. We just happened to be the ingredients that we had. We never needed to add anyone else. We’re gonna try that and it’s super exciting.”
Polish Club return to Sydney on December 5-7 at the Lansdowne Hotel.