May 10, 2010

The Ideals and Innovation of Politic

(Reposted from Colorado Music Buzz, May Issue)

To many bands, making music is a way to have fun and maybe earn a little money on the side. To Politic, music is a way to make a statement, for the members to share a part of themselves with others. In doing this, they treat their music and performance with the utmost seriousness and hard work … and yet maintain a sense of humor and humility.

Politic’s beginning has become somewhat of a running joke. Beneath the stage of the Bluebird Theater and down the creepy staircase that resembles a set from a horror movie, I ask each member what other bands they have played in. Drummer Matt Thomason and bassist Jordan Bever jokingly reply, The Kyle Galanaugh Band. I ask Kyle Galanaugh, himself, if he played in that band as well. “No,” he laughs, “they wouldn’t let me in … that’s why I had to start Politic.”

The band started off with just Galanaugh playing the guitar and piano as a solo musician, singing to an increasing local fan base. But, over time, he realized the one-man act wasn’t for him. “It was like all the weight was on my shoulders,” he says. “To be honest, I just didn’t want to do that anymore.” Even after he created the full backup band, it was still essentially his gig.

However, in 2008, the trio decided to create a band together. “We wanted to be more involved,” says Thomason. “We have an equal stake in the band now.” Galanaugh continues, “It’s a group now … it’s not just me running the show, dealing with everything. We all put in an equal share and we’re writing music together. We all help out. We’re all pushing. As soon as we switched to the band, I think all of our minds kind of changed a bit.”

Along with their name, their sound has also changed with the increased contributions of Thomason and Bever. “It adds a whole new element because all of us are bringing a different style, different backgrounds musically,” Thomason says. “That alone changes the music ... It might be one little part, but it makes a huge difference in the sound.” In the past, Galanaugh’s music leaned towards the Pop-Rock sounds of U2 or Coldplay, mixed with classical piano melodies. However, with Bever’s background in Jazz and Punk music and Thomason’s background in Metal, Hip-Hop, and Hard Rock, Politic’s sound has become edgier and more complex. Their varying inspirations (from Franz Ferdinand to Maroon 5 to Muse) create a sound, which is occasionally at odds with itself while still sounding fully realized. “I think we all bring something different to the band,” Thomason explains. “It’s hard to describe a genre for it … there’s a little bit of something for everyone. Whatever you like, there’s a glimpse of that.”

One way Politic is putting forth the effort to stand out is with an elaborate laser and light show, coordinated by Jake Jones.” We [put] a huge importance on performing,” says Bever. “We’re taking you through an experience musically to capture our emotions, how we feel when we write these songs. We are trying to best give you that story by visually stimulating you. [With] the lights, you can see how passionate we are.” Jones, they unanimously agree, is the fourth member of the band. Galanaugh continues, “[The lights are] very much an instrument. It’s not easy. [Jones] has been awesome. He doesn’t just do lighting, he’s our road guy.” Later that night, with the lights pulsating, spinning, or slowly dimming in time to music, which sounds distinctly like a mixture of Radiohead and Denver-based The Rouge, an atmosphere is created to reflect each song, carrying the audience with it.

The songs themselves make a statement, with an underlying theme of finding personal happiness in an upturned world. As Galanaugh explains, “We live in a very confusing time, especially being younger. We’re drifting away from how things are supposed to be, how the average person operates, the entitlement [and] the attitude that everybody is born with now … we’re all guilty of it. Say you have a gift or talent that puts you above everybody else. You don’t necessarily have to declare to the world that you are who you are. A slogan that we hinge on is, ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.’ [How] are you … trying to gauge your success? Are you really happy? That’s what it boils down to: where do you really find your happiness? How can you live your life in a better way? Are you finding it in worldly stuff or are you finding it in eternal stuff that you can really hold onto? That’s the message: just living your life in a better way, what really brings you happiness.”

If You Like: Radiohead, Meese, Spoon

Style: Pop-Rock with subtle hints of Classical and Jam-Funk

Live: May 21/Soiled Dove

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