Polaris’ Jamie Hails: The 10 songs that changed my life

Polaris are one of Australia’s most exciting metalcore bands. But what’s shaped the taste of vocalist Jamie Hails? Everything from Swedish pop to Californian punk rock…

Polaris’ Jamie Hails: The 10 songs that changed my life
Emily Carter
Jess Drews

Fresh from the release of their crushing new album Fatalism, and ahead of a mega-show with While She Sleeps and Bury Tomorrow in London this weekend, Polaris’ Jamie Hails looks back at how he got here via some of the most important tunes in his life.

The first song that I remember hearing…ABBA – Dancing Queen (1976)

“This is kinda hard, because there’s a lot of songs that I could choose from, but this is one that jumps to mind straight away. My mum loves all that discotheque era of music and always used to have ABBA blaring in the car for as long as I can remember. Am I still partial to ABBA these days? Oh yeah! ABBA’s top-notch (laughs).”

The song that reminds me of being a teenager…Lee Harding – Wasabi (2006)

“I don’t know if people remember that song, but it was pretty big here in Australia – I remember hearing it getting played so much on TV and the radio. It’s very much from my younger emo times, in the early days of high school. It’s definitely good nostalgic memories!”

The song that reminds me of the first gig I went to…Foo Fighters – The Pretender (2007)

“The first metal show that I ever went to was Bullet For My Valentine and Avenged Sevenfold, and a song that reminds me of that would be Scream Aim Fire. But for the first actual gig, it was Foo Fighters at a venue called the Hordern Pavilion, here in Sydney. To this day, that’s probably still my favourite song of theirs. We actually just played that venue the other day on our Australia tour, which was pretty surreal. We’d never played there before, even as support, and our first time was headlining it for our new album. I was pinching myself a lot that day.”

The song that inspired me to be a musician…Green Day – Holiday (2004)

“I remember visiting some relatives when I was around 12 years old, I think. My mum took me over to England to see some family, and one of my cousins was playing Green Day’s Bullet In A Bible DVD. Holiday came on and I was just watching it in awe, going, ‘Oh my god, this is amazing! Look at this; it looks like so much fun.’ And my cousin was like, ‘Yeah, I was at that show, I was standing right about there…’ I remember getting home from that holiday and going straight to the shops to get that DVD, and I watched it through and through, on repeat. I was like, ‘I wanna play guitar, I wanna do that!’”

The song that reminds me of home…Paramore – Hard Times (2017)

Paramore are my partner Tori’s favourite band. Out of any other song that’ll come on when we’re on the other side of the world, Hard Times gets played so much – whether it’s in shops or at soundchecks and venues. And any time it comes on it’s that reminder of, ‘Aw, I miss my lady and I miss home!’”

The song that I wanted to be remembered for…All Polaris songs

“I guess the more that we continue to do what we’re doing, we’re leaving behind a bit of a legacy and a bit of Australian music history. I don’t know what exact song to choose, though, because I’m very proud of every single song we’ve ever made! So I’m just going to say: ‘Any song by us’ (laughs).”

The song I always nail at karaoke…Linkin Park – Numb or In The End (2003 / 2000)

“I’ve actually never done karaoke before! But if and when it happens, I would say either Numb or In The End. Would I be better at the Mike or Chester parts? I think a bit of column A and a bit of column B! I’m sure it’ll happen soon…”

The song that was hardest to record…Polaris – With Regards (2023)

“It’s from our new album, and it was quite difficult because I had a lot of personal stuff that I was working through in the studio. It was a really, really rough time trying to record it, especially with the meaning of the song. But the whole record is like that, too. Recording the whole thing was very challenging – I mean, it always is for us, but this one seemed to be a lot more challenging in a lot of other ways than before. But then afterwards you listen back and it’s always like, ‘Ah, we did it!’”

The song that I wish I’d written…The Midnight – Vampires (2016)

“I am obsessed with this band and the music that they create. I got recommended them by a bunch of friends that we were on tour with a few years ago, and their music has just resonated with me – they’ve become my favourite band that’s not heavy music. And Vampires in particular just hits! I wish I’d written it, it’s so incredible.”

The song I want played at my funeral…Stick To Your Guns – Left You Behind (2015)

“I’ve never really thought about it before, but that’s the one I’ve landed on. It’s a very, very, very beautiful song, and I can’t really get through it without shedding a tear to it these days. But I also want the main theme song to [’70s sitcom] M*A*S*H, because my dad would like that played at his funeral. The song is called Suicide Is Painless and it means a lot to because I used to watch that show on repeat with my dad when I was a child. He wants it played at his funeral, and I’ve realised that I want it as well. So two different songs there!”

Polaris’ latest album Fatalism is out now via SharpTone. The band will support While She Sleeps at London’s Alexandra Palace on September 23 with Bury Tomorrow, and play headline shows in Dublin and Belfast this month

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