Hailing from London, Ontario is emerging punk-rock band, Polluted. Over the past few years, they have played in venues across Southwestern Ontario and released several tracks, including “All The Rage” & “White Privilege”. This fall, they released their latest single, “Apathy”.
Recently, I spoke with Polluted about their band’s origins, their latest single and their goals leading up to 2023.
Kyla Pearson: For those who are unfamiliar with you and your music, can you tell us a bit about how Polluted came to be? Why punk-rock?
Polluted: We’re all from London, Ontario. Hunter and Travis met while working at a thrift store together. Hunter was briefly in another band, but that band broke up a week before a show they had booked. Sharing similar music interests and knowing Travis had also been in a band before; they decided to get together with a friend of Hunter’s, who was a previous drummer in a band.
We wrote some angsty punk songs throughout the week and played said show that weekend since there was still an open slot on the bill. After the show, we decided on the name Polluted. The three of us then went full force with writing songs and practising nonstop shortly after that.
Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, which brought lockdowns and closures along with it. The anger from not being able to do the things we loved so much just fueled the noisy guitars, anger and dark energy we came into once things opened back up. We spent lots of time practising and playing every show we could.
We recorded and released some songs in 2021 which helped us establish ourselves as a local band. In December of 2021, Hunter and Travis decided to switch directions and look for a new drummer. Matt, was told by Calvin from the other local London band, “The Hedge Hoppers”, that they were looking for a new drummer. Matt reached out to them, auditioned and we have been off and running ever since. With Matt in the band, we finally were able to achieve the goal of connecting with the angry forgotten youth, playing shows and releasing music.
Why punk? Well, we have a very punk approach to whatever we do and we all grew up going to hardcore shows. We also wanted to revive the London music scene. Punk rock is such a broad term nowadays, but to us, punk is a genre that means freedom and doing whatever you wanna do.
Punk was the style that was originally formulated as a style that represented the characteristics of all of the guys in the band. However, we have always loved writing catchy songs. Since Matt joined, the style has continued to grow, with some rock/metal/punk/pop influences meshing all together to form the Polluted sound.
Kyla Pearson: Who would you say are some of your artistic influences? How have they impacted your unique sound/artistry?
Polluted: Each band member tends to have their own unique style and influences that have helped them create the techniques and styles that we play today. Hunter tends to get his style from punk rock, hip hop and nostalgic 90’s alternative (The stooges, The clash, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Schoolboy Q, Mac Miller, etc). Travis tends to get his influences from sort of a little bit of everything, from funk to punk, pop and metal, he takes influences from wherever he can. Some of the specific bands that he was inspired by as a kid were RHCP, Cage the Elephant, In Flames, Death From Above 1979, and Alice in Chains. Matt tends to get his influences from heavier sounds of Hardcore/Metalcore/Classic rock, with his influences being Varials, Boundaries, Silverstein and Led Zeppelin.
These influences of styles have all led to the collaboration of the Polluted sounds, with some heavier tones being brought into the mix, while also still adhering to the Punkish Rockish sound that has been described as the band’s dynamic sound.
Kyla Pearson: You’re also a part of the London, Ontario music scene (the first UNESCO-certified city of music). How has being a part of this music community helped you connect with fans and grow as a band?
Polluted: Being a part of the London Ontario music scene has been great for the growth of Polluted and always keeps us motivated. We have been continuing to play more venues within the city, as we spread the word about Polluted throughout the city of London.
When Matt joined the band, we started off playing local shows at the Marconi Club and at smaller house parties. This way, kids of all ages could enjoy listening to Polluted and experience our music live. We gradually moved onto other venues in London and expanded into other cities in Ontario. We also have been able to play Rum Runners, which is connected to the London Music Hall. This has allowed for the Polluted name to expand exponentially.
Our growth has also been attributed to the number of close friends and fans who continue to come out to all of our shows and who continue to show their love and support for Polluted, as it would not be possible without them. They show us nothing but love and appreciation. We play these venues to show love and support to them.
Kyla Pearson: Earlier this year, you released both “White Privilege” & “Losing Funds”. Can you tell us a bit more about the song, as well as the songwriting and recording process behind it?
Polluted: Our singles, “White Privilege” and “Losing Funds” were two of the first songs Matt learned during his audition to be in our band. We had these songs planned already, as we wanted to release them on the first album since they had been band/crowd favourites. We tracked and recorded these songs and we decided that releasing them together would give our fans a little taste of what was about to come.
The song, “White Privilege” doesn’t really have a prominent topic. The lyrics just came to mind while we were jamming out to the song.
“Losing Funds” is about the dark realities you come to face while growing up.
We had a blast recording these two singles. The recording process for tracking these two was a lot of fun since these were the first two debut singles that Matt was able to track and record with Polluted.
Kyla Pearson: This fall, you released your latest single, “Apathy”. What made you decide to release this song as your next single? Can you tell us a bit more about the song and what fans can expect?
Polluted: The song, “Apathy” is our latest single that will eventually be on our first record. We released this song because it shines a light on the more “grungy” side of our music, as it has been compared to some Nirvana-type grooves. We’ve always been kind of a grunge band in a way.
We decided to release this song as a single because we talked about the up-and-coming album singles and which songs would best highlight what we are trying to replicate, and we felt this song is the perfect option. This song was also a personal favourite of one of our close friends as well. It’s a lot of fun to play live and the fans have been really enjoying it at all the shows we have performed so far.
Fans can expect to bop and bang their heads to this one for sure, as it goes into some heavy grooves and rifts that emulate the sound of Polluted. They can also check out the accompanying music video, so they can get the visual experience as to how this song feels and how it should be enjoyed.
Kyla Pearson: On a related note, how would you say the song differs stylistically from your previous releases? What do you hope this new single says about your music/you as a band?
Polluted: In a way, this song doesn’t really differ much from our other material since we’ve always been making the types of songs that express darker energy. It’s just a bit slower and heavier than anything we have out so far and we are really excited it’s out in the world.
Kyla Pearson: According to you, what is the ideal setting to listen to “Apathy” in order to fully experience it?
Polluted: The ideal listening setting for “Apathy” is when you are feeling angry or emotional and want to let up some built-up rage. Whether you had a bad day and you need to scream your face off in a car on the way home or something is going on at home and you need to just yell in your room, this is the song for you. It is an outlet for emotional release.
Additionally, the song has some positive vibes, so it can be enjoyed if you want to play it in a mix at a party as well. Ultimately, it is a song that everyone can listen to it in any setting and regardless of how they are feeling.
Kyla Pearson: Moving forward in the final months of 2022, what is one goal you hope to achieve with your music by the end of the year?
Polluted: There are a couple of goals that we are working on in the final months of 2022. First, we want to continue to play as many shows as possible before the end of the year, at the biggest venues possible. To be more specific, the main objective before the end of the year is to release our album. That way, our fans and friends can experience our first full-length record before the end of the year and enjoy some of our brand of rock n roll music.
We also want to play at the London Music Hall in the near future. Perhaps opening for some bigger bands so we can continue to promote the Polluted name, as well as advocate for other local London bands to continue to land the opportunities that they deserve. There is so much talent in the city and we hope the world realizes that soon. We also want to continue to play bigger shows outside of London. We have played previously in Windsor, Hamilton, Guelph, and Toronto, however we’d love to book more gigs across the province and beyond.
Kyla Pearson: Lastly, do you have any upcoming shows fans can catch?
Polluted: Anyone in Windsor or Hamilton, we are playing Windsor on December 9th and Hamilton on December 10th!
Listen to “Apathy” now:
Stay Up to Date With Polluted:
Polluted. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, sept 7, 2022.
Unknown. “Photo of the band altogether.” Photo courtesy of Polluted. Accessed Nov.30 2022.
Unknown. “Featured: A behind-the-scenes photo of Polluted practicing at band rehearsal. Photo courtesy of Polluted.” Photo courtesy of Polluted. Accessed Nov.30 2022.
Unknown. “Photo of the band altogether.” Photo courtesy of Polluted. Accessed Nov.30 2022.