Polo & Pan: Travelling Through Time and Space With Music
The French duo has released their sophomore album, “Cyclorama,” featuring sounds from across the globe – and through time.
Four years after their debut album, French electro-pop duo “Polo & Pan” have released a collection of new eclectic and adventurous songs in their latest album, “Cyclorama.”
Paul Armand-Delille, better known as Polocorp, and Alexandre Grynszpan, aka Peter Pan, joined forces in 2013. As modern explorers, their first album, “Caravelle,” set the tone for their transnational sound. Drawing inspiration from other cultures, eras and musical groups, including French electronic music duo, Air, – a foundational act for the two DJs – Armand-Delille and Grynszpan have created a signature sound and unique style that have launched them onto some of the world’s biggest stages.
V sat down with one half of the duo, Armand-Delille, to discuss their new album, their unique sounds, how they try to “amaze each other” with their ideas, and what’s next for them.
Read it here:
V Man: How does “Cyclorama” differ from your first album?
Armand-Delille: We had a very positive first album, very solar. And this one has a little more, I would say, moon and a little more dark energy on some songs. So it’s more balanced than the first record. And it was also produced very differently. On the first album, we were just sitting in the studio, and we worked for a year on it. And this one, we wrote all the songs on the road during the tour.
V: “Ani Kuni” was a tribute to your favorite childhood lullaby, which comes from a Native American hymn. You also actively support the National Indian Childcare Association (NICCA). Tell me a bit about how this came to be.
A-D: It’s a song we both knew, and Alex’s kid just learned in kindergarten. He was singing it during the process of the album, and we had the idea, just for fun, to try it on on this demo we were working on. And it kind of clicked. We wanted to try to go record with Native American children, but because of the pandemic, we were forced to produce differently. So it’s friends and family singing.
On other songs where we’ve collaborated or done samples, there’s a copyright owner, and in this case, there was no copyright. So we thought it was only fair to get in touch with NICCA and try to share the proceeds of the song. And also, we’re organizing a session during our tour in December, where we’re going to go collaborate and try to record with the kids there. It’s a song about transmission and we feel like it’s only right that be physically with them to make it exist not only in recording, but to be something that’s also real.
V: Many of your songs draw from different cultures and sounds. How do you immerse yourself and really make that authentic?
A-D: The first part is you have to physically you go find these rare instruments. In a song like “Oasis,” for example, there are recordings where I spent two months in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco recording with mountain musicians. So you can hear traditional instruments in the song. An ideal way of producing these kinds of songs is actually traveling and recording with the communities and learning a bit about their culture and really having this physical exchange.
V: How would you describe what you and Grynszpan each contribute and how that comes together to create your unique style?
A-D: There’s no precise role. We’re very interchangeable in the project in the way that we both produce songs, we both write, we both sing. It’s the key to a creative edge: there are no specific rules set down in the studio, anything is possible and it’s all about proposing the best idea and keeping healthy competition, also. We try to come up with the best ideas and, like, amaze each other.
V: What is it that you most want listeners to take from your music?
A-D: I think our role as musicians, as artists, is really putting question marks out there. I’m just capturing things that I connected with deeply. We’re trying to engage our audience and create very freely. We’re very transversal in what we do, we get inspired by cinema music, by classical music, by electronic producers, by countries and so maybe to inspire some sense of freedom.
V: When you started releasing music, did you expect that you would have sold-out shows in the US and all over the world, and you would be performing at like huge venues like Coachella?
A-D: No, that was a dream. I remember someone told me about the power of visualization, and I did do some visualization. And somehow it happened. I’d been producing for maybe 15 years and DJing for about that long. All the experiences came together. I also found my person with who I can really connect and work with. And together, we’re a team where we’ve been able to improve, get over all the challenges and expand. Yeah, we’re still amazed by it.
V: Why do you think your music is able to transcend, language, culture and borders?
A-D: Our angle on music is very open, it’s very transnational. And we’re very curious. We’re like modern explorers, and our first album, “Caravelle,” embodies that idea of a boat that can travel through the whole world. We borrowed from many languages, and it’s all about trying to do it with taste, and trying to understand the culture you’re borrowing from so it connects correctly. It’s an accumulation of all the work, of everything we’ve done before. Our way of producing and our subjects — our angle is very different from most bands.
V: How do you see yourselves continuing to grow musically and creatively in the coming years?
A-D: We would love to write music for an original soundtrack. Maybe for a Pixar movie. That would be the life goal. We would love to do a concert in space on a SpaceX shuttle. We have many different dreams. Of course, we’d love to do big shows, but we’re already touring, we’re already doing all this. There’s a lot of conventional touring and going all around the world, but then there’s doing a “Live at Pompeii,” like Pink Floyd. You have to try to think big and find really impactful ideas, so you create something special and unique that travels through time and people really connect to. We also really wanted to do a concert underwater in a submarine, at some point. And we’re trying to find some crazy ideas to do something really cool for our third album.
Until then, you can listen to their second album on Spotify here!: