The release of Policy’s debut full-length album has given the multi-instrumentalist a chance to show what he’s made of. Also a talented DJ, producer, composer, and engineer, Policy has what it takes to construct a striking album that will take you by surprise.
Policy features multiple international female vocalists in his new LP, and their diverse vocal techniques are what make the album 'Echo Chambers' so unique.
“Reality” featuring Tina Shest is one of the songs off of the new album “Echo Chambers”, and this one takes you on an electronic journey of questioning and hope.
Tina Shest’s angelic vocals slide over the lyrics as she ponders looking for something more in life. It is easy to get lost in her words with the smooth tone and delicate nature she gives to her verses. An intriguing contrast of soft, classic violin instrumentation and a piercing beat adds a touch of mysteriousness to the song, a new spin on a typical EDM sound.
“Reality” won Best Dance/Electronic Song for the Akademia Music Awards in 2020, among nominations for others. This peek into the “Echo Chambers” album showcases Policy’s talent for all things music, and he will no doubt continue to stay fresh and motivated moving into 2021.
Listen to “Reality” by Policy here.
It's evident you are very involved in the making and production of your songs. What was the production process like for “Reality,” and how did you know Tina Shest was the right person to collaborate with?
All the tracks on Echo Chambers pretty much followed the same writing/production process, but "Reality" certainly did take a very unique and special journey. I initially started all the bed tracks in my home studio. Here I will get most of the musical compositions tracked. "Reality" was actually the first track I started working on and ultimately the last one that got finished right before we sent them off to Nashville, TN, for mastering. Next, I will send tracks over to our main studio, Advanced Audio Design Studios, and add any additional instrumentation, record vocals and execute the final mixes with my Uncle and Co-Producer Michael Zaremba. Tina was in the studio doing a session on another track and I was their co-engineering.
I was searching for someone to collaborate with and I just asked her if she would be interested, sent her the beds and within a couple of weeks, we called her into the studio for vocal tracking. "Reality" is special because I wanted to do a 4 on the floor dance-able track that was also in an odd time signature. The beat is a steady 4, but the keys, bass, and percussion are in a 7/8 odd time signature. That is part of what makes "Reality" so special. Like most of the artist collaborations on the record, I did not know what she had written until she was in the vocal booth and we were ready to press the record button. Then, she just blew us away. Tina also performed the violin part. Only after the recording session was done, did I know she was the right person to collaborate with on this track!
How would you describe “Reality” in comparison with the rest of your album 'Echo Chambers?'
I think "Reality" melts very well with the rest of Echo Chambers. This album is a concatenation of many of my influences and musical interests but is also considered crossing-genres. I wanted to have many different artist collaborations where these artists could spotlight their own creativity. I wanted to feature instrumentals as well. I believe you can invoke emotion with the music alone as I learned listening to "A Warm Place" by Trent Reznor. I also have a remix of a track I previously did the drumming on. I knew that "Reality" was special before it was released as a single. It was relevant during crowd-reviews, back end business conversations, media responses, and radio going for adds. It ended up being the album closer and it certainly is the perfect encore.
What tone were you eliciting with the lyrics for “Reality?" What is your take-home message for listeners?
So, to be clear, Tina executed the top-line. She wrote the lyrics, vocal melody and performed the recording. I wrote all the music. I thought it would be best to reach out to her and this is what she replied with: "The tone is strictly straightforward, don’t let someone take away your identity in the name of love. If they truly love you, they will lift you up, not drag you under with them." -- Tina Shest
I remember the session being very emotional and passionate. Tina is a very strong and detailed artist as we can hear in the recording.
How long have you been creating music? What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in the music business?
I've been creating music since I was very young. I came from a musical family. My Grandfather played 2nd trombone for Frankie Carl, my GrandMother was on Broadway. My Mother and Uncles were in a rock n roll showtime band that toured all over the US and Canada for 25 years called "The Cleveland Band." I hung with the road crew. The stage was my playground. I would set up the drums, clean the piano keys, duct tape the mic cords. I'm a drummer first, then moved on to guitar, bass, piano, and vocals. During the late 90's I became the house percussionist here in the Cleveland, OH club scene with all the EDM DJ's. I also still get behind the drum kit in a few projects as well as I'm the house session drummer for the studio. My advice to anyone starting out in the music business is to focus on the word "business".
This is the era of the independent artist, but you have to be more than an artist. Be your own independent label. Understand not only your music but how to produce/engineer and mix. Learn the business and how to protect yourself. Learn how to market and promote. What good is releasing an album if no one hears it? I love doing all aspects of running an independent label. A keyword to understand is "Submissions". The internet is such a great tool to use. Lastly is to believe. Understand you are not going to please everyone, but if you work hard and believe in what you are creating, you can evolve as an artist, no matter where you are in life. Music is the underlying denominator for me and has allowed me to be successful in other professions. Remember if you love what you do, you are truly free!
This year has been incredibly hard for artists around the world. What has been your biggest source of inspiration while creating new music?
I know and do realize it's been hard for other artists. I'm a huge believer in self-empowerment. My biggest source of inspiration comes from within. There is so much distortion going on these days. Where else can an artist find true inspiration but from within? I know I can find inspiration within myself, but what I try to focus on is to inspire others. I believe in servant leadership. I can see where I've already inspired others. The collaborations with other artists, the live performances are not about me, they are about the other. I like to speak for those who can't speak. Give others a platform to shine, create music, and feel joy, happiness, and sorrow. That is what Policy is about.