Interview: Jeremy Glassman Is Telling Stories With Polar Productions

Throughout the history of raving, laser beams have never been far from the culture. Whether the reference is found in tracks like “Laserbeam” by Ray Volpe or “Lazer Beams” by Green Velvet and Harvard Bass, the sci-fi aesthetic of lasers feeds the story of dance music.

Well, lasers also play another prominent role in the story of dance music these days: as a cornerstone of visual production, and Jeremy Glassman of Polar Productions is using lasers to tell stories unlike any production company has before.

Coming up studying tech theater all the way through college, Glassman has an in-depth understanding of what it takes to build a spectacular visual show.

It was only after college that he attended his first major dance music festival, Ultra Music Festival 2013, where he witnessed Swedish House Mafia‘s final show before their first retirement.

But it wasn’t the music or the history of that performance that caught his attention:

The year I went, there weren’t a ton of visuals because it was the year that it was that silver, triangle stage so it was more about lights and lasers and less about LED walls. I think that’s why I leaned in on the laser side of it,” Glassman says speaking to EDM Maniac via Zoom.

Glassman wouldn’t start Polar Productions until much later, grabbing an opportunity as live music events were reopening in 2021 after pandemic-related closures. His first professional laser show was Under Construction by Fisher and Chris Lake at Rawhide Western Town & Event Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

That event was also Glassman’s first time working with Steve Lieberman, founder of SJ Lighting, who designs lighting rigs for Ultra Music Festival, Insomniac events, and the Yuma tent in Coachella, for which Polar Productions helmed lasers in 2023.

More than doing lasers alongside other lighting designers like Lieberman, Glassman and Polar Productions have provided full production for various environments.

Polar Productions was responsible for Coyote Cove at Goldrush 2022 where DJ Susan and Rebūke performed. Polar Productions has also produced entire events like Body Language Halloween Weekender which welcomed Gorgon City and Chris Lorenzo to downtown Phoenix.

For the fully immersive experience from Polar Productions, though, one has to check out a set from Electric Polar Bears, who beyond being house music producers, are characters in a world of music and production created entirely by Polar Productions.

But whether Electric Polar Bears are performing, Polar Productions are providing full production, or they’re focusing on lasers specifically, Glassman’s intention always begins with telling a story. EDM Maniac sat down with Glassman to hear that story firsthand:

EDM Maniac: What do you think makes a visual production top-notch overall?

Glassman: I think the biggest thing is balance. That’s one thing I learned from working with Steve Lieberman. All his designs have a lot of balance in the different elements.

Every four bars there is an evolution in the music in dance music, and being able to have an element either come in or go away, and having the lack of an element being just as effective as having an element is something that he incorporates into his shows, and that’s why working with him on [Coachella] was such a great learning experience.

He is really one of the pioneers of the house and techno world when it comes to building these really cool statement stages.

EDM Maniac: The Yuma tent is curated by the LA-based promoter, Framework. How long have you been working with them?

Last summer, Steve Lieberman introduced me to the entire Framework crew and ever since we’ve been working on most of the Framework shows in LA. Our first show with them was at the end of July [2022]. Hot Since 82 at Pershing Square.

Within Framework we’ve found a partner that really values quality. Framework really wanted us to do [Yuma tent] because they knew we were going to deliver. The colors, the sharpness of the laser beams, everything about it was going to really create a statement for them.

EDM Maniac: What do you think visuals in general contribute to dance music that is different than other genres?

Glassman: When it comes to the visual experience, when people really come to a show, it’s probably a third about the music and the other two-thirds are about the visual experience of it and the people coming together.

So, the community experience of experiencing the music and the visuals together is probably a third of the component of it and the reaction of everyone around you.

But then the other two-thirds are the music and the visuals. You could put on your headphones and listen to the same thing at home, but it’s not necessarily going to be the same experience as being with 5000 people experiencing an amazing level of production live. 

When it comes to dance music, that’s what you’re really paying for. When you’re going to these shows I think a lot of people don’t really value that it’s not necessarily just about the DJ. You’re going there for this full production team. That’s presenting you a show. 

Body Language Halloween Weekender Gorgon City @ Renaissance Square 221029 Photos by

EDM Maniac: Yeah definitely. In this new generation of dance music, with the culture being as big as it is, people definitely want something to look at. That could just be the DJ or it could be the lasers and visuals.

Glassman:  That’s one thing that’s actually kind of cool. One thing that we’re actually noticing through our own socials is that we have people that are literally coming to the shows that we’re working because they appreciate what we’re adding to the music and the fact that we’re giving them something to make the music more tactile and more experiential.

We actually have fans, which is a really cool experience.

EDM Maniac: Another aspect of Polar Productions is the music project, Electric Polar Bears (EPB). Can you tell me a bit about that?

Glassman: [EPB] are a directed artist project of Polar Productions. [Through EPB] we can actually build a fully immersive world using all the latest tech and building all the coolest sides of production into a DJ act. That’s the point of the EPB project. To have control of all those elements.

The Polar Bears are Zero and Snowball. There’s a full immersive world that’s being told of how these characters exist in the world. They have their penguins from Antarctica that are their fan club. It’s a totally immersive world and that world is being told in the language of production.

EDM Maniac: In order to continue telling that story will you be expanding out of lasers with Polar Productions?

Glassman: Each Polar head has over 5000 LEDs, and they are LED walls that are wireless. There are actually full visuals that map through the heads through the walls. Then now we’re adding in lasers and the sonic experience into the rest of it, and snow, confetti, all those things are elements. 

We have our own sound and we have lights. We are actually a full production house, but we’re not really selling ourselves as that because we only want to do it when it’s that niche where we can have control of the full environment to present the story that we want to present.

We’re not trying to go out there and produce someone else’s show. We’re building all the capabilities to produce our own show.

If we’re gonna be doing all that work we want to be able to have the creative outlet to build our own vision. Even if we’re a part of someone else’s show, we want to have the autonomy to present the story that we’re being tasked with in the way that we see fit so that we can have a creative outlet while accomplishing the contract for our clients.

EDM Maniac: What do you have coming up for the rest of 2023? What stories will you be telling?

We have the Solomun show at Exposition Park right outside the LA Coliseum. That’s going to be a massive laser show outside. Probably one of the largest shows that we’ve ever done outdoors. Using all the same resources that we used at the Yuma tent. 

Coming in July we’re drawing—we’re calling it volume one of the Electric Polar Bears project to a close by releasing the rollup album of all of our previous tracks. 

Then we’re starting at the end of July, with all the brand new music, which includes collabs with the likes of Paris Hilton and a couple others that we can’t really divulge yet. 

All photos provided by Polar Productions

Written by
Harry Levin

Hi my name is Harry Levin. I live in LA and I'm an absolute lover of music.

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