It used to be that you could walk past 408 West Johnson St. without hesitation. That all changed this past October when members of Madison’s newest rock band, Polydream, moved into the residence. Now it’s not uncommon to see crowds converging around the house listening intently to the kind of music band member Lucas Etten says incites the response, “Yes, of course.”
Polydream traces their roots to Medford, Wis., where guitarist-vocalist Jon Knudson, bassist-vocalist Etten and drummer Zack Austin grew up together. Last year, Polydream was a project in the making. Zack was a University of Wisconsin sophomore living in Kronshage Hall waiting for his two counterparts to graduate. When graduation came, Jon moved to Montana for most of the summer until Zack and Luke made a road trip to Glacier National Park to bring back Jon, the last remaining link.
Since then Jon, Luke and Zack have been refining their sound and writing music. They aren’t a cover band, but they do choose covers that you won’t hear many others play. This past week at the Mifflin Street Block Party, a sizable crowd gathered each time they played Kylie Minogue’s “Love at First Sight” and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Good.”
“I feel that we’re filling a void for a good rock band in Madison,” Knudson said. “We want people around here to be excited about rock music with a melody, and this is the time to do it.”
And filling a void they are. Even before the first concert, future fans gathered around the trio’s house listening to one of their many jam sessions. At times there would be as many as 40 people who just wandered into the house to listen to the music.
“One time we had a couple people over listening to us jam and there ended up being 30 or 40 people jumping around, and there wasn’t even a keg or anything,” Knudson said. “And another time a homeless guy with two Old Styles came in and was rocking out to our music. We’re still waiting for that record deal you offered us, Mr. Serial Killa Killa.”
Their music can be likened to Oasis and Weezer, but Knudson doesn’t like comparing his band to others. “We are our own style,” he said.
In a recent interview with Polydream, Knudson laid out what the future holds for the band and a recap of this year’s Mifflin Street Block Party.
BH: Is there any story behind naming your band Polydream or did it just come out of the blue?
JK: We took forever to think of a band name. For a while we were Stupid Luke and many other things like Heypresto, Wafer, Fresh Daily, Jon, Uncle Dorothy and Single File, but those all suck. We were having a conversation about life and I stumbled upon a theory of people’s life dreams and that most people dream of being successful along with a dream of having family. The conversation was about balancing these dreams and choosing between them and I called it the Polydream theory. I thought it was a cool word, and we were looking for a band name, so it was soon settled.
BH: How would you describe your style of music?
JK: Well, have you ever listened to early ’90s hip-hop, mixed with fusion jazz and ’50s bebop? It’s nothing like that. It’s more like attractive yet powerful music with smooth melodies and intricate rock beats underneath.
BH: Where do you see yourself in one year?
JK: It’s really hard to say where we’ll be in a year. We’d like to stay based out of Madison. We’ll release a five- to six-song EP in or around October and plan for that to have us touring by spring.
Regardless of where Polydream will be in one year, it is likely you will hear its music. The band’s unique sound delivers killer melodies, clever lyrics and infections tunes, which will be hard for any establishment to resist.
If you want to hear a sample of Polydream’s music, go to www.clearchannelnewmusicnetwork.com/artist/polydream where you can download the three songs of the band’s demo. Look for an EP to be released around October. Before that, be sure to check out the next concert May 20 at Luther’s Blues. Doors open at 9 p.m.