Pola & Bryson: They’ve had two UKF uploads and delivered an on-point podcast in the last four months. They’ve dropped tracks on Hospital and Liquicity and an EP on Spearhead and their debut album – the full spectrum rolling soul assault This Time Last Year – on their own co-run label Soulvent, home to breakthrough releases by the likes of GLXY and BMotion.
Together they’ve been chiselling their sound for six years. Now, with support from Friction on Radio 1 and regular plays from the premiership D&B DJs, things are beginning to get interesting.
But Pola (Jack – the one in the cap) and Bryson (Harry – the beardy guy) are also well aware that to the passing eye they may seem like they’ve come out of nowhere. So whether you’ve been following them since their debut in early 2015 or you’re just hearing about them this minute, now’s your chance to catch up before they level up once again…
This time last year: that self-critical sense of hindsight that every human shares or are we looking too deep into things?
Pola: If I’m honest, we picked it because we like the sound of it. But yeah, we do all compare ourselves to where we were a year before. For us it has that extra layer; to a lot of people it looks like we’ve appeared from nowhere. Like ‘well what were they doing a year ago because I’ve only just heard of them!’
In reality we’ve been working together for about six years and a few years solo before that. Almost a decade. That’s how long it takes to get even to our level. We’ve been working on this for so long; to put an album out, release it on our own label and experience the wide range of support we’ve been lucky to have has been humbling. Maybe the title should have been This Time 10 Years Ago?
Bryson: Ironically we came up with the title a year ago. We thought we’d see what we could achieve in that year. Ended up being a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy in a way.
Respect the fact you’ve released your debut on your own label. A lot of acts wait for a label deal first these days.
Pola: Yeah it was important for us, too. Soulvent started three years ago with myself and two friends Joe and Liam. We felt producers like GLXY and BMotion were struggling to get a platform. It was heavily inspired by the Dutch scene – guys like Liquicity. It was proof you can just go ahead and set up your own thing. That said, Soulvent was always meant to be a stepping stone – it’s an avenue for other labels to see what’s happening at the forefront of emerging talent and pick guys up for future releases. So BMotion is on Viper now, GLXY have released on Spearhead and we’ve released on Hospital.
Didn’t your work with Hospital start with a bootleg?
Bryson: Yeah we bootlegged Etherwood’s You’ll Always Be A Part Of Me and sent it to him. He sent it on to Tony London Elektricity.
Pola: Yeah I got this call the next morning on my way to work. Tony said he wanted to release it. I kept my cool and was like ‘yeah okay’ then rang Bryson shouting ‘OH MY GOD!’
Bryson: Next thing we knew we got the stems and were making our first legit remix for Hospital.
I want to chat about Devil. One of my favourites from the album. Such a rave banger. A homage to the foundations being built around the time you were born!
Bryson: That type of music was hugely influential for me; my dad was always playing it and my older brother was always playing it. It’s always been there. It was my starting point.
Pola: That’s so much cooler than my route into D&B. I got into it through Pendulum – Hold Your Colour… Like almost everyone else in their 20s! Meanwhile Harry was already on this aged 11. He’s so gangster.
Were you a classic festival kid back in the day Bryson?
Bryson: Yeah… Glastonbury when I was eight.
Pola: His parents are awesome. Mine are a little more traditional.
You’re wasting your life on this music rubbish. It won’t amount to anything…
Pola: It was like that for a while… Then we got our Spearhead EP through on vinyl and my mum bought four copies and framed them. They’ve always encouraged me but worry if it falls through. It’s a gamble isn’t it? Putting all that energy and time and effort into something that you never know is going to pay off.
Even if it doesn’t, you’ll have fun finding out.
So the albums out, what’s next? Are you putting your focus on Soulvent again?
Pola: Maybe! We’ve got some big projects planned but Joe and Liam are the main heroes of the label. We’re fully focused on Pola & Bryson. Luckily the guys constantly smash it. I love how it’s become a really solid platform for new artists to break their careers and is becoming a legitimate new window for their music to be heard.