Caleb Hiltunen and Drew Polovick join me on Zoom Thursday morning with beaming smiles and bright eyes as their first single in over a year was just days away from release. The two musicians make up the Chicago based rock band, Friday Pilots Club, who have proven to be true masterminds when traversing the city’s alt sphere.
The pair’s musical chemistry is nothing short of magical. The two began making music together in 2017 after Hiltunen invited Polovick to fill-in with his band and quickly became fans of each other’s work. Their unique sound caught the ears of listeners from across the country who have now become members of one of the most dedicated fanbases around.
A point arrived when both musicians collectively decided that the music they originally made and the music they were ideating now sounded significantly different. In 2020, Friday Pilots Club underwent a complete rebrand in order to manifest and master some of their best work to date.
“I’m super excited, that’s all I can say. I love this song. It’s this little collection of songs I will shamelessly say that I listened to at least once a week just to be like, okay, are they still good? Yeah, they’re still good. This song I’m so excited for people to hear because it’s such an audacious move in a direction I don’t think that people saw it coming,” Hiltunen explains.
The new single “Breaking My Bones” reintroduces the band to their fans in a profound way. The track underwent many stages to get to the version we are hearing today, one that details the constant pressure to act outside of yourself.
A truly wild ride from start to finish, the track starts softly and builds up to a powerful, heavy artillery sound as Hitunen’s vocals effortlessly flow over Polovick’s cleanly mixed production. The anthem is packed with bold transitions and a multitude of influences both current and past.
Drew gives credit to his former orchestra director who taught him the importance of contrasting volumes by making the soft parts softer to amplify the massive moments of a song.
“I think we’re continually pushing ourselves and especially with this, EP and especially with breaking my bones specifically, we’ve pushed ourselves really hard creatively. And also as individuals with our interpersonal relationships within the band,” Polovick reflects.
Both were able to expand their curiosity and dive into hip-hop and rap influences that have impacted them over the past year. Stepping out of their comfort zone of only listening to comforting indie-rock opened a new door for variation in their production. The band explains how they look to “innovators” — those who take a rock and roll attitude and apply it to many different places. The pair hope to match and exceed the innovative spirits of those they lean on for inspiration.
Hiltunen and Polovick also shamelessly admit they enjoy listening to their own music as it represents an emblem of pride and triumph.
“It hasn’t always been that way. Drew and I have recorded far more songs, arguably more songs that people have not heard then that people have heard…and a lot of the songs that don’t make it, you listen to one or two times on the way home, and then you never check it out again,” Hiltunen explains.
Friday Pilots Club acknowledges they have a long way to go, but they wouldn’t want to take any other road to get there.
“We’ve worked so hard for so long. So to get to this point, it feels like we’ve reached this peak and now we’re going to look at the peak beyond that. We need to then climb too,” Polovick adds.
The goal for the duo is to keep writing more songs and reach a point where they are ready to go back to the studio and create a full-length project. There is no doubt in my mind that Friday Pilots Club will continue to soar as they reflect on their accomplishments as a band and continue pushing towards their definition of success.