The Polly Johnson Set

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  • NZMM: Favourite Wellington Music Moment – The Polly Johnson Set
  • For NZ Music Month the last couple of years, we asked bands/artists for a favourite memory of making music in Wellington.

    It could involve a favourite gig, a funny story from the recording studio, a moment that led to the inspiration for a song, the fond recollection of a defunct venue, or the piece of music or lyric that they were most proud of creating.

    We really enjoyed the stories people told us, so we are doing it again this year.

    Next up is The Polly Johnson Set, who released their self-titled full length debut earlier this year.

    A couple of years ago we had a gig at a venue we’d been desperate to play for ages. We were super excited. Turned out to be a total wreck, our worst gig ever. Mic stands collapsed, instruments were dropped and damaged, one of us had a coughing fit mid song, another tripped over, songs were forgotten, major feedback issues, not to mention the punter standing by the sound desk who kept leaning on all the controls and sending them way out of whack! A classic case of if something could go wrong, it did. We finished that gig totally demoralised. But ultimately it made us stronger. It made us understand our weaknesses, accept what we could and couldn’t control, and commit to being the band that we knew we could be. That gig did us a favour and gave us a kick up the ass, and we’re a better band for it.

  • New Album: The Polly Johnson Set










    ‘New Album’ is where a band or artist answers some questions about their latest release. Up next is The Polly Johnson Set, who have just released their self-titled full length debut.


    When/where was the new album recorded?
    We recorded at The Surgery in Newtown back in November. We were on a pretty tight schedule, so we spent 3 and a half days recording the songs and another 2 days mixing them.

    Who produced/engineered the album? How did the tracks come together in the studio, or at home?
    We worked alongside Dr Lee Prebble to bring the album together. The album had essentially taken shape over the six years that we’ve been playing together, so it’s fair to say that it was pretty much ready to go when we hit the studio. That said, we did experiment a bit when we discovered the treasure trove of goodies available to us at The Surgery. All in all though the songs were at their peak before we started to record.

    How did the songwriting happen? Are there any overall themes within the songs/album?
    Ah the songwriting. What a beast. The PJs is made up of five songwriters who all have a very different writing style. Each of bring songs to the band which then get picked apart and put back together as a PJs song. Which means we’ve all make an equal contribution to the songs for the album, something we’re quietly proud of. What that means is that the album is pretty diverse – we’ve got murder ballads, sunshine songs, and love songs, and the rest. Overall though, there’s a general lightness about the album. While we’re serious about creating the best music we can, we’re a pretty lighthearted bunch.

    Were you going for a different sound/approach on this album?
    Our main goal with this album was to accurately capture our live sound. There’s a dynamic feel to our music and we didn’t want to loose this through the studio process. With this being our first album, and having only performed these songs live up until this point, this was something we were particularly passionate about. Finding an engineer/producer who understood this, and who could allow us to play as close to live as possible, was really important, and we found that in Lee. He was the right guy, and his studio was the right place for us to capture the PJs sound.

    Was there any specific gear you used to capture that?
    No, we kept things simple. We took advantage of Lee’s impressive range of microphones and outboard rigs, but apart from that it was all pretty true to how we usually play.

    Is there a particular single/track that you feel captures the essence of the album?
    Is the whole thing an acceptable answer? Haha. Our individual songwriting and performance styles are reflected throughout, but it really is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its part.

    Is there a physical copy available? If not which digital platforms is it available on?
    Yes! You can grab one of these through our Bandcamp page, where you can also snag a download. It’s also available on iTunes and all major streaming platforms, along with our earlier singles.

    Are you working on a video/videos for any of the songs? Are you doing any gigs or promotion for its release?
    There is a video in the pipeline which we’re really excited about. Lo-fi, black and white, real film – what’s not to love? We recently launched the album with a fantastic gig at Te Auaha, but we’ll also be sharing it with the world at Newton Festival and CubaDupa.

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