Flashback to an idyllic formative moment: Polar Waves singer-songwriter Julio Duran is home in Chile during a cold snap. The country is in the grip of a polar vortex, but he’s indoors staying warm with his buddies and some booze. His wanderlust to break out of a safe existence is hibernating and he’s in the moment. It’s a short-lived time of serenity before Julio heeds the call of his soul to bravely venture into an unknown future, in an unfamiliar country.
Julio’s brave journey took him through many lives across many state lines, spanning L.A., Philadelphia, and San Francisco, before he found solace in Athens, Georgia. Back in his Chile days, Julio studied music formally, but found music school curriculum stifling. He explored a somewhat lucrative career in marketing management after earning a degree from UCLA, but soon found himself unsatisfied in San Francisco with a rather underachieving domestic life in spite of a financially rewarding career. It was time to move on into the unknown. Risk it.
In 2017, Julio shared his journey with Polar Waves’ debut album, No One Needs Help Anymore, a visceral collection of unguarded emotionality and blood raw rock n’ roll produced by Athens rock legend John Keane (R.E.M./Widespread Panic), available on Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, iTunes and more. The record allowed Julio to perform at the famous 40-Watt Club and soon after that, it started spreading through college radios all over the country. For instance, it reached #15 on WUSC (University of South Carolina), #16 on WVFI (Notre Dame) and was on rotation on Volt Radio in Araxa, Brazil. This accomplishment helped make Brazil the #1 country on record downloads (after the US).
While the song “That Familiar Pain” was getting some serious radio airplay (“That song tells the story of me leaving California and heading to Athens, heartbroken and with absolutely no hope. 'Here we go, moving again...'. And it worked out just fine. That's why I have Athens in my heart”, says Julio), the Chilean-American rocker recruited up-and-coming drummer and friend Casey Long and charismatic bassist Brenden Robertson to get the record on the road. In 2018, the new Polar Waves lineup debuted in Athens at the 40 Watt Club, after being asked to play "Road To Roo". After that, they continued to play locally (Caledonia Lounge, Nowhere Bar, Live Wire, Terrapin Beer Co.), regionally in Savannah (opening for Lullwater in March and Passafire in July at the famous The Jinx), Tybee Island (supporting nationally touring band Tunnel Vision), Atlanta (supporting Ballyhoo! at The Masquerade) and Philadelphia, PA (The Grape Room). The band also played shows at the 2018 AthFest and the 2018 Rockmare Before Christmas at The Vinyl in Atlanta.
In 2019, Polar Waves performed at the AthFest Main Stage and continued to tour throughout the region (Alabama and Tennessee). After the run of shows, Julio decided it was time to experiment going solo again, and after writing new material, he teamed up with Kyle Spence (drummer in Kurt Vile's band) and recorded a new track in Athens at Chase Park Studios, partnering with Seattle-based producer Justin Davis. Production wrapped up in Seattle, where the new song was mastered at Resonant Studios. The new track features vocalist Noelle Shuck from Athens-based punk rock band Shehehe.
The new single, 'Chronic', is OUT NOW.