interview by MARIE-PAULINE CESARI

Numéro Netherlands presents Ruben and Matthijs Pol of the band Pol starring in “State of Pol,” a fashion story captured by Oriane Verstraeten for our 10th issue, Frenzy.

Dutch siblings Ruben and Matthijs Pol are reviving New Wave in 2024 with music that reflects their creative ideals and excitement for fashion. Since their 2022 debut with singles like "Comme Ça," mixed by Dave Bascombe, followed by "Boys Are" and "Modern Strange Love," they have showcased a commitment to analog-driven sounds. Their self-titled EP, released in August 2023, marks a significant milestone. Besides their music, they are prominent in high fashion, modeling for brands like Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Dior, and producing music for various fashion houses.

Hi Ruben and Matthijs. For the readers who don’t have the chance to know you yet, can you please introduce yourselves?

We are two brothers with a band called ‘Pol’. In addition to our music, we are active in the fashion industry, working as models and creating music for brands. Our artistic vision aligns closely with the New Wave and New Romantic movements.

What is Pol in three words?

New Wave, Ruben, Matthijs

(Matthijs)
full look LOEWE

(Ruben)
pullover RAF SIMONS via LAAN AMSTERDAM
pants KIKO KOSTADINOV
shoes SINE & COSINE
bracelet ACNE STUDIOS & DOLCE & GABANNA
rings YIZON JEWELLERY
(Ruben)
full look ANN DEMEULEMEESTER

(Matthijs)
top ANN DEMEULEMEESTER via LAAN AMSTERDAM
pants DIOR via LAAN AMSTERDAM
bracelet DOLCE & GABBANA
rings YIZON JEWELLERY & TALENT’S OWN

As siblings, how does your bond influence your creative process and dynamic as musicians?

Our brotherly connection makes our creative process easier. We can often understand each other with just a glance, making our collaboration highly efficient. However, spending so much time together means that arguments and complications are inevitable. Fortunately, we’ve become very good at resolving these quickly, probably because we’re brothers.

What is your first memory related to music, and who are your icons and models in the music industry that have influenced your artistic journey?

Our first memory related to music is probably listening to our mom play music loudly in the car. We still remember all the songs she used to play when we were young. Our icons and models in the music industry include Mick Karn; David Sylvian; Midge Ure; Siouxsie Sioux; Steve Strange ;David Bowie ; Ian Curtis; Robert Smith… To name a few.

(Ruben)
top ACNE STUDIOS
shorts JORDAN LUCA

(Matthijs)
top MAISON MARGIELA via LAAN AMSTERDAM
(Matthijs)
blouse & vest MAISON MARGIELA via LAAN AMSTERDAM

You are bringing back the New Wave in 2024. What is your version of it, and what do you think Pol adds to this genre today?

You could see Pol as the New Wave band that ‘never existed’ until now. We are not changing the original New Wave ethos or trying to modernize it for the 21st century. We’re not borrowing production elements to disguise modern pop tracks. We are simply making New Wave music, which we believe is timeless. Our work naturally differentiates from past New Wave music because we always create from within. Pol has a certain elegance, is melodic and meaningful, and the quality of our songs is crucial to us. Ultimately, it’s up to everyone else to determine what ‘Pol’ means to them.

Your singles “Comme Ça,” “Boys Are,” and “Modern Strange Love” showcase a shift towards analog-driven sounds. What drew you to this approach, and how does it contribute to your creative expression?

We care deeply about the finest details. In our recording process, this led us to use analog as much as possible, because it offers a texture and depth that digital alternatives can’t match. Analog sounds are alive and inspiring, capable of transmitting a feeling that digital sounds simply can’t.

(Ruben)
shirt JOONE JOONAM

(Matthijs)
top RICK OWENS

“Comme Ça” was mixed by Dave Bascombe, known for his work with iconic bands like Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears. How did this collaboration come about, and how did it influence the sound of the single?

We truly love Dave’s mix of “Head Over Heels” and that early Tears For Fears sound, which he was a huge part of. When we were looking for someone to mix our first tracks, we asked our management to reach out to him. We weren’t sure if we’d even get a reply, but he ended up liking our sound and wanting to work with us!

If you could collaborate with an artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Dead or Alive, it would totally spin us right round.

Apart from music, you both have a strong connection with the high-fashion industry, both as models and creators. How does your involvement in fashion influence your music, and vice versa?

The two are endlessly connected, as are all art forms in our opinion. There is a constant flow of energy and inspiration between the two for us. One doesn’t exist without the other. The rush we get from working in fashion often directly translates into our music.

(Ruben)
full look PRADA

How would you describe your personal style?

We guess that from an outside perspective it could look New Romantic, late 70s, and feminine.

The theme of our new issue is Frenzy. How do you think your band and personal style resonate with this theme?

Frenzy makes us think of a verse in Visage’s “Malpaso Man.” Great song. It also reminds us of our work in fashion. We are all for some chaos.

Looking ahead, what can fans expect from Pol in terms of future projects, collaborations, or further explorations?

More music, more shows, more Pol.

(Ruben)
full look ANN DEMEULEMEESTER
shoes SINE & COSINE

TEAM CREDITS:
talent MATTHIJS & RUBEN POL at REPUBLIC
photography & Concept ORIANE VERSTRAETEN
creative Direction & Production CARA BROCK at FLINT STUDIO
styling MAGDALENA ROE
make-up SUZANNE VERBERK at NCL REPRESENTATION
hair DAAN KNEPPERS at NCL REPRESENTATION
light & digi assist MAXIME TAILLEZ
styling assist ANASTASIA GVINIACHVILI & MORITZ HÄDELT
production assist EMILY KLEIN
interview MARIE-PAULINE CESARI