Give You The Ghost by Gayngs’ by-product Poliça was one of the best debuts of 2012. Its remoulding of pop aesthetics and autotuned r’n’b into a synthesised aural landscape that nevertheless beats with real emotions was unparalleled. Vocalist Channy Leaneagh’s heartbroken digitised crooning fits perfectly with Ryan’s electronic adventurism – creating experimental music with pop acumen. Performing this month at St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival ’13 in Singapore, JUICE speaks to drummer Drew Christopherson and Channy on being impure of heart and the current post-genre climate of the music scene.
The name ‘Poliça’ – policy in Polish – is in reference to the band’s work ethics. Are you guys all work no and play? When the band’s name is on how hard you guys work, we imagine there’s very little fun…
Drew Well, there is plenty of fun happening in our lives, no doubt about that. We find fun in the work we do as a band. It’s a pretty enjoyable job to have, thankfully, and having fun while doing it is a crucial element to maintain, otherwise it would no longer be fulfilling. Where “policy” comes in to play has more to do with a desired technique for how our songs get written, and what direction to take our music towards rather than just a group of friends getting together and jamming out song ideas.
Similarly gloomy, on Channy’s website she wrote that she learnt no one is really pure of heart… that’s a really pessimistic worldview. Have you really not met a genuinely good person? And is that why Poliça’s music can be dark?
Channy I do love people! I love to learn about people and what is important to them. That being said, I think there is a reason humans are on the top of the food chain and I believe our natural inclination is to hurt each other and ourselves. I think life is terrifying and fear brings out some of the most evil and destructive qualities in humans and pure intentions can be easily warped and twisted. I have learned though that is completely possible to completely love someone while also not completely trusting them. I suppose these ideas find themselves into Poliça’s music.
Do you feel like with the likes of you guys, Purity Rings, Zola Jesus, Grimes, et all that there’s something new brewing in the music scene? You guys belong in the new world of pop we think, where there’s a synthesis between rock band aesthetics with dance’s.
D It seems like in recent years the gap between pop music and more subversive genres is getting blurred. For some reason people seem more comfortable these days with bands and artists that share elements with what used to be considered trashy mainstream pop. I can’t really explain this shift, but I even sense it in myself. For example, my favourite song from this year was by Usher. I never would have thought I’d be such a fan of an artist so mainstream. I think artists are really finding interesting ways to take elements of pop music and utilize them in their own ways, which really celebrates the art form of it all.
On a similar note, you guys have been heralded by everyone from Justin Vernon to Jay-Z, and you guys love Outkast. Seems like today’s music climate is post-genre. What is it about the current generation of music fans and musicians that transcend genres and labels?
D We’ve all been fans of rap music most of our lives. And each member of Poliça has a pretty different musical background from each other. I think our generation has been the first to have an incredible history of artists to be inspired by, and a wide selection of genres to work within. Finding new ways to combine different styles is a way to remain innovative as an artist. We like to think of ourselves as fans of good music, regardless of what genre it is coming from.
Like Justin Vernon, Channy seems to be using auto-tune as a legitimate instrument on its own right, transcending its negative connotation to more. What’s the secret to doing it right?
D I think the great lesson with auto-tune is that auto-tune can’t make a boring vocal part better. It some ways, it actually makes a bad vocal idea even worse! But if your ideas are good, and you display a genuine talent for good vocal presence, than effects like auto-tune can start to enhance your ideas rather than overshadow them.
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2013 will be your first show in Asia. What can we expect from Polica?
Poliça is part of St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2013’s lineup, which is slated to happen on Saturday 26 January 2013 at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. Get updated at www.facebook.com/LanewayFestSG.
More on Poliça at www.thisispolica.com.