Photo courtesy of Poliça
Channy Leaneagh is soft-spoken in conversation, but after five years of hearing her heart and soul poured out and onto records, we know her singing voice is anything but. The frontwoman of Poliça, the indietronica-synthpop band that calls Minneapolis home, is gearing up for an anniversary show this Saturday, Feb. 11, at First Avenue’s Mainroom. They played a release show for their first album in the same space five years ago, nearly to the day. She and four bandmates (Chris Bierden, Drew Christopherson, Ben Ivascu, and husband Ryan Olson) have been recollecting all they’ve seen and done since their quick ascent to international acclaim in 2012. Leaneagh spoke thoughtfully about the milestone during a quick Q&A Monday morning.
How does it feel to be celebrating five years making music with this group?
CL: Oh, it feels crazy—kind of reflective, you know? We’ve been looking through old pictures, and it’s still kind of overwhelming to me how many places we’ve been and how many shows we’ve played.
What do you think has been the biggest accomplishment for the band in that time, since your first album was released?
CL: I don’t even think about it in the sense of accomplishments, really. I guess I think about it more in the amount of shows we’ve played, the people we’ve met, and really just how we’ve gotten to know each other—the experiences we’ve had, more so.
How would you say you guys have changed the most since then, whether personally or as musicians?
CL: Well we’ve all aged a bit, all that travel takes its toll. And we’ve, I think, all become more comfortable in ourselves. I think our goal has fine-tuned back to just putting on a good show and making good music, and kind of stepping away from chasing after some kind of abstract level of success—playing that game. I think that with all our time together on the road, it’s come back more to where we started, with the goal of making music we like and playing good, fun shows.
Polica became quite well known quite quickly after Give You the Ghost came out in 2012. What was that like?
CL: It was strange, but it was good; I don’t think we had much time to think about it, really.
I’ve heard in other interviews that you like to bring local acts on tour to open shows. Why is that?
CL: You know, some of our favorite bands are from Minneapolis. It’s a good environment to tour with the people you love and care about, and whose music you want to share with the world. We’re a very communal group, and I think [touring together] helps us keep that going. And you know there's that golden rule of wanting to take care of your own, your city, and lift up all those around you.
This anniversary show is at First Avenue. What’s it like to play in your hometown at such an iconic venue?
CL: It’s always, usually, the most nerve-wracking. Honestly, it’s easily the most critical crowd, and you can let them down the most. But you know, playing for your friends, (which is why we got into making music in the first place), and making stuff for them, you want to do things that they’re inspired by. So it’s easily the most nerve wracking—but at the same time, in this current political situation, with how upset and angry and in despair everyone is, it feels important to come together anyway we can to create some joy and music and just dance together and connect.
The opening act for Saturday is the artist Spank Rock. Do you know what fans can expect from his performance?
CL: I think Spank Rock, who’s a rapper from Baltimore, is considered to be one of the best performers today. I mean, in his field he does a great performance, great shows, and he’s a great songwriter too. We wrote one with him, and, I don’t know, he’s part of those best things—of all the people we’ve met, he’s one of them, and he’s been great.
What’s next for Poliça, now heading towards that 10-year mark?
CL: I guess just continuing to make music; going rogue—we’re putting out two singles and a new video in the spring. Just kinda putting stuff out when we want, and not having music be a full-time thing. We’re not signing to a label, so we won't have that pressure. Just the freedom to do whatever, and doing it our own way.
Poliça is playing Saturday, Feb. 11, in First Avenue’s Mainroom. Tickets are $25.