Polica don't make music that's in your face. It's not music that sticks to your ears, but instead to your bones, to your mind. It's the music that washes over you and then sets in after a few listens, and stays with you for a long while after that. The musical project was spawned when front woman and folk singer songwriter Channy Leaneagh ended a relationship and a band and began creating left-of-centre folktronica music with her producer buddy Ryan Olson. The cathartic, deeply personal Give You the Ghost was created, and four years on Leaneagh and Olson continue to make music together under the Polica moniker. Ahead of their performance for Vivid Live, we had a quick chat to Channy – in between trying to entertain her six-month-old – to find out more about their latest release, being a mum and matcha tea.
If you learned one thing from creating United Crushers, what would it be?
The main thing I learned is don't over explain the record you just made. All the explaining a record release needs to do is found in the lyrics and music and in the cover art. Let people discover the meanings for themselves.
Lyrically, the album seems a little less intensely personal than Shulamith or Give You the Ghost – was this on purpose?
It's still very personal but many of the songs I intentionally started from the perspective of someone outside myself and tried to spend more time, in general, thinking of the world through a different lense than my own: it comes around to my personal voice in all the songs.
When your daughter is a bit older, how would you explain the experience of making United Crushers to her? And what would you tell her it's about?
I'd tell her, like all Polica records, most of it the songs are conversations with Ryan or conversations with myself. I'd tell her I use songwriting to understand myself, the ones I love, and the world around me. And because of that, songwriting has been my closet and most reliable confidant and place to find peace. I hope she can find a creative release In her life that she can lean on when she feels alone and lost.
You most recently release 'Starchild' with Boys Noize – how did that collaboration come about?
We met through mutual friends and had a few nights in the studio and I had a blast. We made one of my favourite songs with him, Ryan Olson and Orlando from Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (that is still unreleased!).
Performing and touring so much – what's something you always do now to make sure it's enjoyable for you personally? Making time to walk around cities and also I always try to find a good cup of matcha in every city. I've gone completely straight edge and that's my new drug of choice!
Is it weird knowing that songs you create go on to affect people's lives? Do you think about that when you're writing or do you just do it for yourself?
I wrote that song during a really difficult break up as well and it helped me a lot too, so I understand and am grateful it didn't only stay with me. I don't think about other people when writing; it's deeply personal and a great escape when I write but after I release the record it's not just mine anymore or anyone in the band's.