Interfew with: Polartropica

We featured Polartropica’s wonderful “Light Up The Sky” recently as one of our tunes of the day – it’s a great pop song with a really eye-catching video. We caught up with lead singer and driving-force of the band ,   Ihui Cherise Wu, to find out about some more about her music and her influences.

Tell me a bit about you and the band. 

Hi there!  My name is Ihui (eeway) Cherise Wu, I play the keys and sing for Polartropica.  I am so lucky to have the most amazing band – Andrew Lessman plays drums and samples, Graham Chapman plays bass and sings most of the backing vocals, and Alexander Noice holds it down on guitar and also sings with us.

What was the first tune you loved, and why? 

As a kid I was obsessed with Madonna, I think the first tune I loved was “Crazy For You”.  I learned all the words and sang it over and over about my imaginary crush, haha.

What is your favorite song/piece of music that you’ve written and why?

“Light Up the Sky” was the first song I ever wrote for Polartropica. I was at my most vulnerable then, a low point and I was just reaching for any memories of when I was happy – which is dangerous because you end up in this black hole of nostalgia.  Even now when I hear it, I can still remember exactly where I was sitting and what everything felt like around me.  I think no matter which direction we end up taking Polartropica, this song will always have a special place in my heart.


Do you consider yourself to be a natural performer? 

I’ve always loved playing music in front of an audience, even as a young child.  I remember getting so excited for my little piano recitals as a kid!  As much as I love performing, I am not sure if that makes me a natural!

How do you know when a tune you’ve written is complete?

It’s sort of an instinctual thing  – everything will feel just right!

What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?

I love Susanne Sundfør’s “Slowly”  – it’s so perfect!!! She designs the song so beautifully, amazing synth lines, melodies and beat.

What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?

A lot of what I grew up playing and listening to in the 90’s – Brittney Spears, Aaliyah, No Doubt as well as classical music (my favorites are Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich) plays a huge influence.  Also, some of my favorite artists today –  Beyoncé, Tame Impala, Chairlift, Grimes. I just saw an amazing set recently by Christine and the Queens – so inspiring!

Name a song that makes you happy and why does it have that effect?

Junior Senior’s “Move Your Feet” makes me so happy!  When I hear it I just want to dance and hug everyone.

What is the best (other) new band that you’ve heard recently?

They have been around for a few years, but James Supercave is another one of my favourites!  They just released an amazing LP earlier this year “Better Strange”.

What’s your favourite radio station?

KXLU and KCRW here in Los Angeles are both wonderful – best DJ’s, music and programming.


What question would you like to be asked that you never are?

Here is a 2-part question:  What is your power animal, and your favourite food in the whole world??
Answer: All-white Siberian tiger named Lily, and my favourite food in the whole world is watermelon!

How do you feel about pandas?

I love them!! Peaceful, mysterious, soft and fuzzy creatures that eat bamboo.

Was it always going to be music for you?

Yes!! No matter what else I’ve tried to do, I always come back to music.

What song would you like to have played at your funeral?

Muse’s Exogenesis Symphony Parts 1, 2, and 3.

What’s next for Polartropica?

We are back in the studio working on a few new tunes!! Some fun local shows in Los Angeles this summer, and new music videos!  It’s going to be a fun year!