Interview: Polock is Spanish for indie-pop

From the growing indie world comes Polock, Nacional Records’ acquisition from Valencia, Spain. Their first album, Getting Down From the Trees, is a collection of evolution and playful love stories. They’ve played with the likes of Franz Ferdinand and The xx, have just begun their first U.S. tour, and they all seem to have a great head of hair. I sat down with Alberto Rodilla (keyboards) and Papu Sebastián (vocals and guitar) in Austin recently to talk about what’s next for them.

Tell me about your album, Getting Down From the Trees. First, where did the title come from?

Rodilla: Our artwork in the EP is about us in trees, there are many drawings of trees made by the designer. And we didn’t really know how we were going to make the album, so after a lot of thinking, we evolved into something new. Slightly, like the monkey evolving into the human, getting down from the trees. So it’s kind of an evolution for the band.

Your stuff is so child-like and playful. Was that what you were going for?

Rodilla: Yes, we were completely going for the playful thing. It’s about the evolution, animals, the man getting on the moon, a lot of things that fit into the evolution theme.

Papu, you write a lot of the lyrics for the band. What stories do you like to tell?

Sebastián: I usually talk about love stories, and there are many songs that have completely different lyrics. Some have more darkness, and some which have lyrics, like “Tangerines and Unicorns,” that are more fun.

“Tangerines and Unicorns” is such a clever song. How did that come together?

Sebastián: It was the first song I wrote.

Rodilla: The song was the first we recorded for the album, so it’s very happy, very powerful, like caravan going into caravan, saying we just believe in ourselves and our moms.

What sets you apart from other indie bands like Phoenix and The Shins?

Rodilla: Everything, I suppose. We come from a completely different area, and have a different way to work and other influences. Music today, it’s like waves, music waves. And the way of working now is many bands drinking from each other, and the way of treating things is by hearing influences and, I don’t know, we don’t have them in mind when we’re composing. So maybe we don’t have in mind a final arrangement that gives our songs a fresh sound, but we do it our way, so if it sounds like something else, it’s about more than one or two bands, it’s many bands. So it’s hard to just point out one band.

What are your influences? Do you listen to more English music, or Spanish music?

Rodilla: Well, we make music in English because we listen to English rock.

Sebastián: Usually we listen to Wilco, Velvet Underground, The Strokes. There’s such a big sample of influences.

What’s your favorite music era?

Sebastián: The ‘70s, maybe.

Rodilla: I prefer this one…the one we’re living in. I never live in another one, I like many bands from the ‘80s and other times, but I’m living in this moment, now. And I think it’s a great moment. With the internet, and so many bands, it’s not about the labels telling us which bands are good, but with the internet there are so many bands to choose from.

You’ve played with such impressive bands. What’s been your favorite concert so far?

Sebastián: Franz Ferdinand was so great, because there were so many people in Valencia, and it was the first time we played for so many people. It was quite a change.

Rodilla: And it’s not that easy to get into such a major show, and that really made a difference. And two days ago we played with We Are Scientists, and that was a really special show. It was a small place, so you were really near the people. There were really low lights and people were into the music, so it was a great thing.

What’s the most unexpected or surprising thing you’ve dealt with in the past few years?

Rodilla: I suppose touring the United States. We would have never imagined we would tour the States with such great bands like We Are Scientists, or even playing at South By Southwest, where all the great bands have passed through and have grown.  That’s unexpected, because you always think of getting big in your city, and then in your country, but getting into such a big market with so many great bands, we’ve gotta know we’re a privileged band.

Is there anything you want to tell our readers?

Rodilla: We invite them to a show, because we think they’ll like it.

What are your  goals for 2011?

Sebastián: To compose the best album for us. We make a great album, make a great tour.

Rodilla: Finish touring the United States and then two weeks of rest in our country, then Europe. Sweden, United Kingdom, France, Germany, maybe Italy. Our plan is to keep touring, and hopefully, Canada, México and Japan, as well, but you never know.

Watch the music video for “Fireworks” from Getting Down From The Trees below:

Eugenia Vela

Writer РEugenia Vela was born and raised in Monterrey, M̩xico, with the frustrated ambition of becoming a writer. Now in her 20s, she is finishing her degree in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and looking for new adventures around the Live Music Capital of the World. She is in love with words, fashion, Steven Tyler, early Dylan, late Beatles and anything Jack Nicholson-, Johnny Depp- and Cameron Crowe-related.

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