20 Jun
Our Q&A with Minneapolis band Poliça's angelic voice

Give You the Ghost is the debut album by Minneapolis-based band Poliça, which formed June 2011 and released their first two songs, “Wandering Star” and “Lay Your Cards Out”, shortly thereafter (see our “Wandering Star” Video post here). Having taken part in GAYNGS, the synth-disco-pop super group, producer Ryan Olsen and singer/songwriter Channy Leanagh teamed up to further develop and explore the opportunities in creating music together. The final product has resulted in an album that fuses synth-pop with R&B; wafting sounds of reverberated vocals, bass, and weary keyboards are given structure and form with two drum sets. As a whole via instruments, vocals and lyrics, Poliça takes human, or ghostly, form: the drums are the heart, the pulse that fuels and emphasizes the heavily layered vocals especially — describing tumultuous times, how the band directly speaks to you, its appendages filling out with instrumental effects. Celebrating a year since the band’s debut, and just four months after the albums release (Valentines Day), Poliça has received much praise, and continues to awe fans with their live performances and captivating videos. Read on to get a bit more information from lead singer Channy Leanagh on Poliça’s formation, preferences for auto-tune, and how their tour has been going thus far. Pick up Give You the Ghost for $10.

After Roma di Luna became defunct, and going into Gayngs knowing it would be a one-album project, did you start Poliça with any intentions of longevity?
Poliça was started from two people getting to know each other by experimenting and exploring what the combination of their musical back-grounds revealed. And in that sort of situation, without expectation we began to see along with our community around us that it could be a band, and it could exists beyond the two of us.

There has been much enthusiasm expressed towards your use of “autotune” and different vox effects — is there any equipment in particular you prefer?
I prefer to use delay, harmony and auto-tune pedals.

What was the last piece of art — visual, audio, film, etc — that made you pause?
A drawing by my daughter.

You’re rumored to write songs on no sleep, record at 4 and 5 in the morning, and perform on empty stomachs all to benefit stellar recordings and live performances. What maintains your drive to keep working this way?
I didn’t remember saying the empty stomach thing…it sounds quite dramatic doesn’t it?  It was just a very exciting time as a musician and it captivated all of me. When your soul is being fed so lavishly with fodder and creative outlet it is amazing how little carnal needs come into my head.

Read about how Poliça came to being, the album title’s meaning & more after the Jump…

“When your soul is being fed so lavishly with fodder and creative outlet, it is amazing how little carnal needs come into my head…”

How’s the Spring Tour gone so far? Have you had one distinct memory that especially captures it for you?
Things are going well for us and we are getting to see some new cities and revisit places like Philly, New York and Milwaukee and recognize people in the crowds and watch the crowds grow. Our world and reference points are changing so fast that I am grateful to have such a solid group to tour with. Our van was breaking down in Philly and I drove by myself to an auto body shop.  The owner of the auto body shop taught me a lot about cars and drove the car around Philly with me and talked about his life. The experience off the stage while on tour are important in keeping myself from tottering off into lala land.

Who or what is the ghost in Give You the Ghost? Your writing, production, and touring process seems exhaustive, have you ever considered yourself “the ghost”? Is this album in a way your ghost after going through difficult times in your life?
Sure, that is pretty much it but I always like to make to clarify that I am a songwriter and I do have some separation between the music I make and the reality of my life. But if we wanted to talk about the character of “Give You the Ghost” it would be true that the songs are spirits of the person and the memories of a troubling time.

Lastly if you were lost in a supermarket, in what aisle would we find you?
Probably beverages.

Poliça Summer Tour Dates 2012

06/23 – River’s Edge Festival – St. Paul, MN
08/03 – Osheaga – Montreal, QC
08/05 – Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL
08/16 – The Biltmore – Vancouver, BC
08/17 – Nuemos – Seattle, WA
08/18 – The Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR
08/20 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA
08/21 – Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA
08/23 – The Pool @ Cosmopolitan – Las Vegas, NV
08/25 – The Blue Bird Theater – Denver, CO
09/26 – Maintenance Shop – Ames, IA
09/27 – Mojo’s – Columbia, OH
09/28 – High Watt – Nashville, TN
09/29 – Counterpoint Music Festival – Atlanta, GA
10/01 – Cat’s Cradle – Raleigh, NC
10/02 – Black Cat – Washington, D.C
10/03 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA
10/04 – Iron Horse Music Hall – Northhampton, MA
10/05 – Paradise – Boston, MA
10/06 – Webster Hall – New York, N.Y
10/08 – The Basement – Columbus, OH
10/09 – 20th Century Theatre – Cincinatti, OH
10/11 – Stickyz – Little Rock, AK
10/14 – ACL – Austin, TX

2 Responses to “Poliça Interview: 7 Questions With Channy Leanagh”

  1. […] percussion (see: kettle bell). The duo will be on tour with Poliça (dates after the Jump), who we interviewed just a last week. We caught up with Supreme Cuts for a quick Q&A right before their album drops […]

  2. […] had previously collaborated in the synth-pop supergroup GAYNGS (check out our Q&A with Channy here). Their debut album Give You The Ghost carries an R&B and electro-pop fused sound and was […]

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