Polyphia, a Plano band that is hard to nail down to just one genre, is ramping up to release its third full-length studio album. Bassist Clay Gober told the Phoenix New Times that the album, set to release next month, turned out a lot darker than any of the members had anticipated.
You could say that the band has been in the works since Polyphia's two guitarists, Tim Henson and Scott LePage, were in kindergarten. They passed each other often in the hallway.
It wasn't until later, however, that Brandon Burkhalter, one of the band's previous drummers, formally introduced the two. LePage realized he and Henson used to live down the street from each other.
“We started jamming together, and we just kind of clicked,” LePage says.
Bands such as Within the Ruins and Job for a Cowboy inspired the group's first EP, Inspire, he says.
“We really wrote the hell out of that album, and we mixed it all ourselves,” LePage says. “We kind of just wanted to shred and do groovy stuff with the whole djenty thing.”
As they approached their first studio album, Muse, the band members' interest in metal and djent music began to fade away. The genres seemed oversaturated and overdone, LePage says. For Muse, they wanted to focus more on song structure and melody.
They enlisted the help of Nick Sampson, a producer at Metro 37 Studios in Rochester Hills, Michigan. This was the first time the band had worked with another person during the writing process.
“That album was more focused on poppy-sounding, catchy riffs and things like that rather than just ‘Oh, let’s just prog metal it up and write a bunch of riffs and put them together,’” LePage says.
Around this time, they met the San Diego rock band Chon. LePage and Henson went to one of the group's shows in Fort Worth. Later, they were invited to tour with the band on the Super Chon Bros. tour.
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“We were talking to Mario [Camarena of Chon] a lot,” LePage says. “We were like, ‘Yeah, we’re writing a new album if you want to like fuck with it with us. That’d be sick.’ That was how the relationship with Chon started.”
With Renaissance, Polyphia’s second studio album, the band inched closer to the sound it was going for and the lineup it has today. Henson and LePage started getting into rap and hip-hop music.
They liked the 808 beats, kick and electronic drums. The album was recorded with Burkhalter on drums, but the band broke apart from him and needed someone new for music videos and its approaching tour.
They hired Clay Aeschliman, whom they met through Gober. Aeschliman joined the band for the first time in the video for the song "Euphoria."
“He nailed it. He was also really cool, and he laughed at all my terrible jokes,” LePage says. “Then he did a couple tours with us, and after a year, we were like, ‘Well, this guy’s about it, so let’s make him a member.’”
After wrapping up a tour, Henson and LePage began working on new material that became their second EP, The Most Hated. The two had the idea for a song now known as "Loud," but they did not know what to do with it. They decided to send it to Los Angeles producer Ari Starace, otherwise known as Y2K.
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“He just wrote this crazy beat,” LePage says. “It was so different, to the point that I kind of thought to myself, ‘Do we really want to do this?’”
LePage says the songs on the band's upcoming album will be more mature versions of what they did on The Most Hated. They will not be super heavy like their latest single, "G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time)." Their main focus with the new songs is to keep all the instruments busy.
In The Most Hated, the bass or drums dropped out at times. For the third album, the band wanted to make sure everyone had parts on every song, LePage says.
“I think we did a good job with it,” LePage says. “I guess we’ll have to see what other people think, but I’m pretty proud of it.”