Toronto’s Polar Island Parkway Talks With Us About ‘Life After Lizards’ and Strange Songwriting Processes

Toronto's own Polar Island Parkway, the musical alias of Dev Travis, has burst onto the indie rock scene once again with his sophomore album, 'Life After Lizards'. Filled with vibrant melodies and heartfelt lyrics, this album is a journey through failure, relationships, and finding yourself.

In this exclusive interview, we sat down with Dev to discuss his musical journey, to hear more about his new album, and to find out what he’s been up to since last year’s ‘Gopherwood!’

It’s great to be chatting with you again! Seems like quite a while since we were first hitting play on ‘Gopherwood!’. For the interview, let’s take things right back -When did you first start making music? Where did it all begin, and what inspired you?

“I think I officially started pursuing a career in music when I was about fifteen. Back then I was going to open mics in Owen Sound, Ontario and I met a few other weird indie musicians who I now owe the world to. A couple people kind of took me under their wing and really showed me I was capable of doing what I wanted to do instead of having to climb some illogical ladder while sacrificing my music in the process.”

“I started realising there would always be people out there resonating with stuff and other musicians in my hometown really helped me stop alienating myself from the listeners. The support was wild and I think it's immensely important to maintain that culture in indie music. The people who inspired me were always people around me and I'm still constantly confused why underground artists I grew up with aren't topping the charts. Whether you collaborate with others or not, having friends in the scene are everything, I think.”

You’re back with a new album, wonderfully titled ‘Life After Lizards’. Can you tell us a bit about more about the album?

“‘Life After Lizards’ is really just an album about failure. That's really the only concept that ties all these songs together- whether it's failure to order your life properly like the songs 'Mania' and 'The Snow', or failure in human relationships like the songs 'Knives' and 'Doomed Days'. I've always approached negative topics in a strange way and with a pretty light-hearted nature in my music.”

“After the first album 'Gopherwood' the next logical step probably would have been something more indie-folk based, but I just went back to my roots and gravitated more towards the type of music I used to make when I was in bands as a teenager. Musically, Life After Lizards is really true to the music I've always enjoyed creating.”

What was your songwriting process on the album? How did it all come together?

“I think most indie musicians have strange songwriting processes. Mine tends to be pretty chaotic and counter-intuitive a lot of the time- I definitely do dumb things. Lyrics usually come last for me and I track drums and guitar first. This makes for a lot of annoying production work but there are positives too.”

“I really have always written linear songs that don't tend to circle back to a chorus or hook and I'm a strong believer in not bothering with a chorus unless it serves the song well. As far as lyrics go, I usually just draw from whatever book I'm reading at the time. For this album, lots of inspiration came from my dumb brain trying to understand existentialist literature and applying huge concepts to whatever minor issue I'm having that week. It's real fun to write in that way.”

What’s the most important thing when you’re writing a song?

“I think the most important thing that I try to remember is to stick with the song. Every other musician I know who produces their own music has the same problem. When your head gets flooded with creativity you want to keep veering off and playing with new ideas instead of perfecting what you're doing in that moment. Having the discipline to stick with your stuff is a superpower. It's tough, dude, but sometimes you have to think about what the song needs and just do it. All those ideas flood into your head and you may feel the need to record them but when you let them go you realize it's okay.”

“I really don't think of music as entirely something that is coming from your own creativity and experiences, there's another side to it that I try to focus more on. It's sort of just this great thing that we can all take part in without it belonging to any of us and the ideas and inspiration will always be there if you're open to them. That has definitely been one of the most important things I've discovered about writing music in general over the years.”

Do you have any advice you would give to bands and artists who are just starting out and trying to find their sound?

“The best advice I can give new artists is just to figure out what you want to do and do it regardless of what you think you're supposed to do. If you have a specific vision just work honestly and convey that in the way the music deserves.”

Before we let you go, is there anything you would like to say to our audience?

“Definitely, you guys are awesome. I've stumbled upon so many really interesting and unique artists because of Broken 8 Records and I'm always so glad to see people supporting music in this way. To all the people who are constantly searching for new music and supporting indie artists - you guys mean everything to the scenes and your support is everything.”

Dev's musical journey began at the tender age of fifteen, performing at open mics in his hometown of Owen Sound, Ontario. Inspired by the camaraderie and support of fellow musicians, he honed his craft and developed his unique sound. Now, with 'Life After Lizards', he's ready to share his music with the world.

Delving into the depths of human experience, 'Life After Lizards' explores the theme of failure in all its forms. From the chaotic energy of 'Mania' to the melancholic beauty of 'The Snow', each song offers a unique perspective on the challenges and struggles we all face. But through it all, there's a sense of hope and resilience that shines through.

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