Exclusive Premiere + Interview: The Pollies, ‘Lost’
On Sept. 25, experimental alt-country rockers the Pollies will celebrate the release of their new record, Not Here. Packed with brutally honest lyrics and music that transcends any one genre, the disc beautifully explores the realities of love, loss, regret, and ultimately, triumph.
Ahead of Not Here's release, Diffuser is thrilled to give fans a taste of what to expect with the brand-new track -- and one of our favorite songs this year -- "Lost."
In addition to the tune, we're proud to host an exclusive conversation with lead singer Jay Burgess. Check out our chat below:
If I was going to explain this record to someone, I’d probably just play them “Lost.” Tell me about how “Lost” was conceived and how it relates to the rest of Not Here.
I'm the type of writer who starts out with a progression and a melody. After a melody has been established, I usually start recording the song using lyrics off the top of my head. Usually, I can start making sense with the multiple takes of made-up lyrics. "Lost" is one of those songs. It was sitting around with no lyrics that I liked or at least none that fit the feeling of the song. I did multiple recordings, at different times, to try and establish a subject. I was listening back, and in one of the takes I said, "I wish I was lost." For days, maybe even weeks, this one line -- if you would call it that -- stayed on my notepad, with other lyrical ideas, but in bold was, "I WISH I WAS LOST."
Soon thereafter, a friend of mine started going through some marital issues. He was, and still is, one of my closest friends. His wife and my wife were just as close, cousins to be exact. He would call about every other day to talk about things that had transpired from the days before. I soon found myself going through the same exact problems. We had learned that our wives had been having affairs -- something himself nor me had ever been through, nor thought about. We spent many nights discussing everything; not just our marital problems, but other issues as well. We had found ourselves in the same uncomfortable positions: couch surfing, legal messes.
When going through crazy times like this, it seems that your mind goes in a different direction. You're not your normal self at all. You hear things a different way. You view things a different way. You put anything and everything involved with you under a microscope, hoping to find the answer to your existing problem or problems. After one of our conversations, I went back to some of the demos for "Lost." In the three or four demos were words that I had not heard before. It probably took me 15 minutes to finish the song that night. I changed the bold phrase in my notebook to make sense with the subject matter and recorded the last demo for "Lost."
Its placement on the record is really where the details of the story for the whole album start. It's me moving through the rubble trying to find something to make sense of where I was in that time. It sets the mood for the first part of the record and sets up the conclusion for the second part of the record.
I’m sure, based on the subject matter, this is a particularly special song for you. Talk about the emotions you feel when you sing this song live -- is it tough to listen to? Obviously, things have changed a lot since it was written. How does it feel now?
I think it's a song, for me, that I can look at it in different moments and feel different things. I can relate to it in different ways either if I'm listening to it or singing it. When an album is done I tend to not listen to it unless I need to. There are always the things that you would do differently and they all stand out when you know it's done. At the time of writing it, I felt a little wary to show it to certain folks. I was afraid they would know exactly what it was about and it may hurt them or even offend them at that moment. It didn't hit home until a few months later. That's when I started going through some of the same things as my friend did. When I did, it felt good to sing it. It was a place I could go to decompress from the things that surrounded me at the time. Now, like I said before, it holds different meanings every time I sing it. I think the lyric "I'm not giving in" is why others and myself can relate to it in different ways.
When you brought this to the band, did you feel it all fell together quickly? It seems like a pretty natural song to play.
Nothing really ever falls together quickly. When you bring in a song, it's under analysis until the song is recorded and done. It was definitely one of the easier ones to work through on this record, nonetheless.
Talk about the recording process. What are some notable parts of the song to you?
The recording process for this one was really smooth. It was one of the songs that everyone knew where they were going and what to do when they got there. This song is probably the best to showcase the band as a whole. Reed [Watson, drums] does a really cool groove and in the verses he does this cool hi-hat thing. The bass has a nice walking melodic line. The piano and organ play in the right places with the piano playing a great melody line. It seems like every instrument is in the right place and it happened that way live. Not a lot of overdubs, if any, were done for this song.
Was it an easy session? Did anything change about how you envisioned the song when you got in the studio?
It was one the more pleasant sessions we've done. I think we might have done five takes, with all five being usable. There was no direction needed. We played what the song needed. A lot of the times you will see a musician struggle on simple songs like these. It's like we always feel that we can be doing something more interesting than what we are doing. This song wasn't like that. It was almost instinctual the way everyone played their part.