JON POLD SYNERGY
Two parts melody and one part musicianship from Danish bassist and vocalist.
THANKS, MARK KING. If it wasn’t for the prog-certified Level 42 bassist, there may never been a Jon Pold Synergy.
Jon Pold, the brains behind the Danish prog rockers, was encouraged to ditch an upbringing of classical piano and youth choirs and pick up a four-string instead after seeing slap-happy King perform live as a teenager.
“Watching him playing those songs, something just clicked,” Pold reflects. “I locked myself in my bedroom for two years and rehearsed for eight hours a day.”
Pold has become an accomplished bassist and vocalist himself since his epiphany as a 16-year-old, and after working as a hired gun he launched his Synergy project with a self-titled EP in 2017.
Citing forward-thinking influences from Peter Gabriel to Return To Forever, the mellifluent Jon Pold Synergy have one foot firmly planted in decades gone by – there’s a prominent 80s gloss – but nods to contemporary proggers like Steven Wilson tug the band back into the 21st century.
Their debut album On was released in April and is less slap-bass and more key-driven prog than the EP, although a groove still simmers under the surface.
“I don’t want to make music difficult just for the sake of being difficult, because if you can make a difficult pattern seem danceable and groovy at the same time, then I feel like I’ve got something interesting going,” Pold says.
He readily admits he is a perfectionist, from the songwriting through the production. He is hands-on, but you feel he would not want it any other way.
“The opening track of the new record, The Wheel, is the result of me sitting down at 10 o’clock in the evening and finishing it at six the next morning,” Pold says. “I can use 10 hours tweaking an EQ on a specific instrument or listening to specific reverbs. At some time you just need to say, ‘Okay, is there is anyone else other than me that actually will notice the difference?’”
Pold’s buzzing musical brain, meanwhile, is eyeing up a second studio album, with new tracks already earmarked for the record.
Some of the music, he says, will be “harder sounding, more a little bit metal inspired”.
“But I’m still not gonna sing like a metal voice,” Pold smiles. “My vocal inspiration could be anything from The Beatles to Adrian Belew to Peter Gabriel. I will never be a growler or metal singer.”
The music behind Jon Pold Synergy looks set to progress and expand, but the musician’s goal, however, remains resolute – to create accessible songs with an experimental edge.
“The details in the arrangements makes all the difference,” Pold explains, using the peppy title track on Steven Wilson’s Hand. Cannot. Erase. as an example.
“That’s when it’s not just a pop song, it’s got way more depth,” Pold explains. “That’s something to strive for, and I try to do the same. Hopefully I’ll continue to develop and get even closer to that recipe and that skill level. That’s my end game.” CC
JON POLD SYNERGY: LEVELLING UP. “I DON’T WANT TO MAKE MUSIC DIFFICULT JUST FOR THE SAKE OF BEING DIFFICULT.”