Interview: Poliça talk United Crushers: “I saw this record as my last chance”

Poliça talk ‘United Crushers’: “I saw this record as my last chance”

The band’s Channy Leaneagh opens up about the “transformative head spaces” that their new album was born in.

Proving that things can change massively in the space of just a few years, Poliça are returning later this year with their first new material since their ‘Raw Exit’ EP was released in 2014. Following up 2013’s ‘Shulamith’, their forthcoming new album ‘United Crushers’ also happened to be – in the words of Channy Leaneagh – born in “quite a few different transformative head spaces.”

“The very first song I wrote was ‘Berlin’,” offers up Leaneagh, from the band’s home of Minneapolis, Minnesota, “just home from tour, sleeping at my parents with my 5 year old daughter. By the time I was finished writing the record, I was living in my own place, settled down as fuck after touring non-stop for 2 years and also with a baby inside of me… So there were quite a few different transformative head spaces writing this record as so much can happen in a few years.

“I saw this record as my last chance,” she continues. “I’m not saying it actually is, but that’s where my head was at I wanted it to have a “final paper” feel. I wanted it to be our best work, because who knows what happens next. I wanted to lay myself bare vocally, process vocals in different ways and play around because why not, write lyrics about something besides myself and re-work everything over and over until it was exactly as I wanted.”

Writing lyrics externally from herself seems to have been an integral part of this album’s writing process for Leaneagh: “I made a point to first start outside myself when forming the stories for each song,” she explains, on the album’s lyrical content. “They always bring a handful of my own experiences and angles but I wanted to begin by looking at first this time. Most of the lyrics are observations of the lives going on around me.

“I wanted it to be our best work, because who knows what happens next.”

— Channy Leaneagh

“'Melting Block',” she uses as an example, “starts with the images I see sitting on my stoop when the first signs of warm weather start to show itself: “a melting block of Newports”... a block of ice with a frozen pack of Newport cigarettes melting into the sidewalk, mothers yelling after their kids, men walking the sidewalks showing their teeth and claws... every man a sheep in wolf (skins) trying.”

While the record itself marks just how much life can change in a short space of time, the actual recording process remained free of any “harrowing tales”. The band went into the making of the album – which they recorded just outside of El Paso, Texas for ten days - well-prepared and ready. “We had a plan going into this record from start to finish,” she explains. “We practiced the songs till they were in our skin, toured down to our favourite southern spots playing out the new songs and recorded them in a border town far removed from distractions. I was pregnant and had horrible morning sickness in the studio while I was laying down vocals but I knew that was the deal when I got pregnant. Ryan [Olsen, production] got horribly sick while mixing the record but still got the job done. Chris [Bierden, bass], Drew [Christopherson, drums] and Ben [Ivascu, drums] are three of the best humans I've ever known so they always help make things better in general. ”

'United Crushers' will be released on 4th March via Memphis Industries.

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