Polyachi Discusses New Music and the Plans Up Next for Them!


Two piece act POLYACHI does what they call "sludge punk" and with that they have released two EP's with an LP on the way as well. The band continues to just release music, it being a way of life for them. With this, the band discusses their music content and the future ahead.


1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

POLYACHi is a 2-piece of cousins, Schuyler (drums/vox) and Des (bass/vox).  We are from La Crosse, Wisconsin and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, respectively.   In 2022, we started releasing music publicly and playing shows.  Our studio recordings and live performances feature guitar, piano, keyboards, and samples.  In the live context, that stuff runs through the house speakers and we perform the rhythm section and vocals in person.

Historically, Schuyler has played as a member of Singularity Warning, Of Conscience, and Relic.  Des has played as a member of Silver Lyning, TenTonHalo, and Mopium.

This project started in 2011 during a family event in Iowa City.  The two of us were discussing our bands, past and present, and the visions we held for ourselves and our art.  Our aunt overheard our conversation and told us to start a band.  We hadn’t considered it, due to distance, but decided to give it a go anyway because we did have a unified vision.  For about 10 years, we wrote music and recorded it on laptops, gradually developing our style and sound. During the Lockdown, we built a DIY recording studio and started learning the whole self-production process.  

2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?

At first, the band was called “Pagliacci.”  I (Des) chose this name for an industrial solo project during college and got a tattoo of it on my arm, basically, because I was afraid of getting complacent and quitting music.  The Pagliacci name came from Alan Moore’s comic, “The Watchmen,” though the origin of Moore’s reference is an Italian opera called Pagliacci.  Either way, the idea is the same:  a sad clown who feels alone while making others happy.  Alienation and masking are there at the origin of this band.

We’re now called POLYACHi, however, with the lowercase “i” in our band name (and song titles) to acknowledge the ego of that sad, masking clown.  The uppercase letters, every letter other than “i”, represent passion and power.  The phonetic spelling of our name was done partially to solve a Google problem of disappearing into search results about Pavarati, but there was purpose as well as practicality behind the change.  The prefix “poly” carries a lot of connotations about love and sexuality; two subjects about which we often write.

Ultimately though, the name of our band is weird and one-of-a-kind because that’s exactly what POLYACHi is.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

We operate primarily from Cedar Rapids and, to some extent, La Crosse, but it’s probably most accurate to say we’re based in the Iowa City scene at this point.  Iowa City is the primary hub of interesting music in this part of the state, and Iowa City has a long history with punk, metal, and both of us.  The scene here is primarily DIY- and community-driven, with new bands and shows coming together constantly.

There’s an enormous volume of talent in this scene.  Some bands from here worth checking out include:  Aseethe, Dryad, Good Habits, Death Kill Overdrive, Ill Omen, Rational Anthem, Frontal Assault, Thought Wrong, and Necrotic Theurgist.  That’s far from an exhaustive list!  The scene here is outstanding!

4. How would you describe your style?

Sludge Punk is what we call our sound, as it stands today.  A lot of our previous work is fairly described in terms of being nu metal, prog, industrial, and/or grunge.  All of those influences remain in our work, but lately our tastes have broadened and deepened, and our style has drifted further and further toward punk.  At the same time though, we’ve been driving for heaviness in our simplicity and we’ve been laying down pocketed grooves that often have a rap feel.

At our core, we are whores for pop culture.  Most of our influences are from pop culture, be it acts such as Slipknot or Miley Cyrus or 2 Pac.  When we were younger, our influences were based more heavily in metal, such as 80s thrash and 00s nu metal, but those acts were all well represented in mainstream culture, so it feels like pop to us.  Over time, we got more and more into punk and emo and rap and almost anything 90s.

Our music is made to be like nasty auditory pop art, something bright and glaring and obviously critical in some way toward certain things everyone knows about.  At the same time, though, our pop culture style is informed by all the wild underground stuff in our scene, ranging from crust punk to grindcore and doom metal.  Basically, no matter what music we encounter, our mindset is to strip it for parts and incorporate it into what we are.  

A good example would be our upcoming single, ROME WASN’T BURNT iN A DAY.  We blend some 90s industrial and alt metal vibes with hardcore punk and death metal elements, Mr. Rodgers musical and lyrical references, and little splashes of ragtime and show tunes.  The song itself exists to mock American conservatives, MAGA, and the insurrectionist crowd, while providing solidarity to those of us living through and fighting against their cruelty.  

To make the release itself a piece of performance art, we’re putting ROME WASN’T BURNT iN A DAY out on the Fourth of July, a holiday which cannot be said to represent freedom in a country without bodily autonomy rights.  In contrast to obnoxious idiots stuffing their faces with hotdogs and lite beer on their day of performative so-called patriotism, we’re popping up to spray a bit of lemon juice in their eyes.  In so doing, we will have our own sort of Independence Day celebration.  And also probably some hotdogs.

So, our style is convention meets avant garde; a contradiction.  Sludge Punk seems to sum that contradiction up neatly.

5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?

As of right now (June 2023), we have a pair of EPs released online; EVERY LiTTLE BiT HURTS and THE SiCKNESS GETS WORSE.  The two releases form a split-LP or double-EP, depending upon how you decide to look at them.  In a nutshell, HURTS is a grunge-styled release about being sad and horny in the digital age and SiCKNESS is an industrial/prog EP which exists primarily as a way to externalize  a lot of personal horror I couldn’t continue to coexist with.  

Starting on July 4th 2023, we’ll be rolling out our first proper LP, THE BLUEBiRD OF NOTHiNGNESS, one single at a time.  The first single is ROME WASN’T BURNT iN A DAY, and we’ll follow up with new releases every few weeks over the next year.  BLUEBiRD, on the whole, is about us finding ourselves and our power in this cycle of pain and degradation known as late stage capitalism.  In an American culture on the brink of facism, THE BLUEBiRD OF NOTHiNGNESS is a quest for joy within an ocean of hate.

A listener can expect POLYACHi songs to evolve in their style and production over time.  The music is the soundtrack of our lives, and it grows with us.  Our approach to songwriting is totally raw and gloves-off.  If we mean it we say it, if we say it we mean it.  No matter how caustic or personally uncomfortable, we make the music that burns in our hearts.

6. Do you have any new music in the works?

Always.  Aside from THE BLUEBiRD OF NOTHiNGNESS, we’re also going to be releasing collaborations with pop singers and rappers, as well as some remixes and covers.  In the meantime, we’re already (and always) working on new material, which at the moment we are considering for an EP, possibly to be released as a split.  Because we’re able to record and release our music DIY, we put music out constantly.  Anyone who follows POLYACHi on Spotify or YouTube Music will get a consistent flow of songs, anyone who follows us on Bandcamp will get complete releases before they appear on other platforms.

7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?

For the next couple of months we are rehearsing and getting shows booked.  There will be at least a handful of POLYACHi events happening in 2023 throughout Iowa.  In 2024, we will be working on playing more shows on the road and setting up our first tour.  Right now, I don’t want to announce anything specific because some details are still being ironed out, but anyone who wants to stay in the loop can follow us on Bandcamp, join our emailing list, or keep an eye on our Insta.

8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?

We are going to make the best music we can and play the sickest shows possible until we are dead.  Music is a way of life for POLYACHi.  Even as physical impairments of advanced ageing set in, we will always find a way to make music and put it out into the world.  If our music produces no commercial success, we’ll keep doing it anyway.  If we do find commercial success, it’ll be because we kept it DIY.  Regardless of outcome, POLYACHi won’t stop making our own stuff our own way until one of us is worm food.  Even then, there’ll probably be new songs coming out for months afterward.

9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Our music is distributed to every streaming platform we’re aware of, such as Spotify, YouTube Music, Deezer, Apple, etc.  Merch is available at POLYACHi.bandcamp.com, at our shows, and in some Midwest record stores.  We also put up playlists from time to time on Spotify to promote shows or just showcase some sick bands from the punk and metal communities.  Here’s a link to everything:  https://withkoji.com/@POLYACHi.

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

A lot of our music is incredibly dark, and I think people misunderstand that to mean we must be overflowing with constant rage and sorrow and turmoil.  The reality is that making dark music is what allows us to smile and laugh and live our lives with joy.  Genuine self-expression is an act of rebellion, and it is cathartic.  When you listen to our music, when you wade through that misery, know that it is our pathway to living with purpose and love.  

And if you find yourself connecting with the darkness of POLYACHi, then the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone.

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