Interview: Five Minutes with Polo & Pan

Indie disco duo Polo & Pan have released their new EP  Feel Good . The EP title track also titled ‘Feel Good’ has received acclaim with over 750,000 streams in the first week of premiering, as well as securing airplay on Radio 1 in the same time frame.  The duo consists of music producers Paul Armand-Delille (Polo) and Alexandre Grynszpan (Pan), dabbling with anything from house, disco, and electro to sourcing inspiration from old Hollywood and French culture, Polo & Pan are ones to watch.

We find out more about the dynamic pair below.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts? 

Because we love sharing our musical fantasies,  entertaining, and spreading joy through our music.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea? 

It depends on the track, for instance, ‘Canopée’ started from a composition, whereas ‘Jacquadi’ came from an idea.

Does your material feature any collaborations? 

Yes, we have collaborated with many artists such as Armand from band Papooz on the verse vocals of ‘Canopée’ and ‘Attrape-Rêve’. Patrick Bebey on the Pygmee flute of ‘Bakara’, Jacques on the concept of ‘Jacquadi’. Axel Lecourt on the flutes and percussions of ‘Gengis’, Leonard Le Cloarec on the saxophone of ‘Coeur Croisé’ and Mathias Mimoun on the Rhodes piano of ‘Feel Good’

You two met at Le Baron, where both were resident DJs. How would you say this meeting has impacted your lives?

The baron is a foundational part of our musical identity. It was always a place where we could experiment on mixing various styles of music in improbable manners. Creating hybrid mixes from different styles and epoques transpired naturally into our production and writing thereafter.

What’s on your current playlist? 

Tommy Guerrero, Myd, Hiroshi Yoshimura, Dominique Guiot, Khruangbin and Asa Moto

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage. 

You speak of the Pre-Covid golden age! We’ve been missing spending time with our fans since. It’s really sad for music lovers and bands around the world to have to cancel all shows this summer. We had some truly beautiful moments during our 6 week US tour in fall 2019. Hopefully, we can resume in 2021 as we can’t wait to play our new songs live.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound? 

We collect a lot of instruments from around the world, sample them, and map them to our MIDI keyboards to create our own unique instruments. We like to mix old-school analogue with modern digital gear to find our own flavor of sounds.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

We start around noon (the morning is for our personal business and exercising). We make lots of coffee. We record through the day and take regular breaks to keep our ears fresh. We like to play ping pong or chess.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”? 

When I listened to AIR’s ‘Moon Safari’ in 1998 I had a bit of an epiphany (Polo)

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set? 

Our phone, to capture a video if something funky happens in the audience.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

We really like Lewis Ofman. He opened for us during the US tour. We love his new track ‘Attitude’ and of course his classic ‘Flash’ which we featured a remixed version of in our recent “Home Sweet Home” mixtape.

What gets your creative juices flowing? 

Doing some cardio to get our blood flowing and oxygenate before going to the studio is always a good idea. So a run or a swim in the morning before a studio session is a great idea. I (Polo) also get stimulated by big ideas. I enjoyed some of the Graham Norton podcasts with Joe Rogan recently, it made me want to go to Turkey to discover the archeological site of Göbeklitepe. I hope to organize some recording sessions of traditional instruments when I go there.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression. 

It’s very extensive. We are sound collectors… We have a lot of flutes, percussions, and string instruments. We have a Rameau Piano, Fender Rhodes suitcase piano, Mini Moog Model D, Juno 60, Korg MS-20, 4 Neve pre amps, a pair of UREI 1176 compressors formerly owned by the Bee Gees. A 1981 Trident 65 mixing console, Space Echo and Space Chorus.

Any side projects you’re working on? 

Not really. Polo & Pan is our full-time job!

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry? 

Very much so… We have improved our skills in writing, recording, mixing, singing… We have improved our skills with instruments as well. However, we love to collaborate with musicians that can bring the instrument to the next level. It’s never been about us playing every note in the record, but more about getting the best possible music together.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year? 

The “Feel Good” EP has just dropped and we are going to be working on our second LP for early 2021.

Tell us about the inspiration behind the Feel Good EP

It’s a combination of a lot of influences: Some bossa nova on the guitar, the intro lead refers to Mort Garson’s Plantasia, the verses are akin to Beck, the chorus have some Pharell-like vocal answers, the piano part is inspired roughly from Michel Berger’s piano riffs, the choirs are a wink to classic 70s bands such as The Beach Boys or The Beatles.

Despite troubling times in the creative industry, many people are turning to music as a source of comfort. What positive changes are you hoping to see in the music industry this year?

The live music industry will probably restructure around more intimate smaller-scale shows, and streaming is kind of booming at the moment as far as I can tell. So things aren’t that bad. Let’s just hope the virus doesn’t resurge in 2021. We really want to go on tour as planned 🙂 .

Famous last words?

They boarded the Caravelle and sailed away towards their studio in Neverland.

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