By Katie Hare
In the 2015.16 season, Liquid Music brought together and tracked the creative process of two innovative ensembles, local favorite Poliça and Berlin-based s t a r g a z e, as our first Artists in Virtual Residence. Over the course of 18 months, a long-distance musical collaboration was in full swing – numerous video calls, emails, mp3 shares, and a couple of meetups all led to the making of Music for the Long Emergency. It premiered with a very memorable performance at the Fitzgerald Theater on November 16, 2016, just one week after the U.S. presidential election.
This week, Poliça and s t a r g a z e will release the project as an album, followed by performances at Symphony Space in NYC and at First Avenue in Minneapolis on February 21, 2018 (more here). In celebration of the event, we asked Poliça’s Channy Leaneagh about her band's relationship with s t a r g a z e and the evolution of Music for the Long Emergency.
How has the relationship with s t a r g a z e transformed since your early days of collaboration in 2015?
We now have the creative intimacy to know what’s possible; knowing the musical personality of each of us. After writing music together we have a palette to draw from and inspiration for new colors to create together. We’ve also have shared experiences by now that have built a friendship beyond collaborating; like dancing in an empty ballroom at the Eaux Claires music festival, taking s t a r g a z e to our favorite spots in Minneapolis and cooking meals together. Creating music with people is about giving time and care to each other; listening beyond our egos, responding to each person’s voice and building a new utopia for the duration of the song. All of that can happen if the chemistry is there; and with s t a r g a z e it was and is.
How will the First Ave performance be similar to/different from the Liquid Music presentation at the Fitzgerald in 2016?
Bringing the show to the club instead of a theater will be a completely different energy; excited for that! Music for the Long Emergency has a lot of intensity that will explode in the First Avenue speakers. We’re also bringing the absolute best and most brilliant lighting designer, Arlo Guthrie, for some new production for the Minneapolis and Chicago shows.
Considering the political events over the past year, has the overall project evolved in reflection of our current moment?
A deepening of our determination to create in spite of the capitalistic fires that seek to burn all creative freedoms! Making music with a large group of people; having to listen to each other, let go of expectations and self-interest, being quiet or speaking out/having a solo when the group needs you to... these are qualities of creating art with lots of people and those are the qualities of rebelling against the current political time we are in. This is not a time to give up; not a time to stop creating. Love songs and love in action is anti-fascist.
You are releasing Music for the Long Emergency as an album Feb 16! How do you feel on the eve of its debut?
I’m so very ready to be performing again alongside s t a r g a z e and the Poliça family. This is our 4th album and I feel very grateful to be where we are and be able to perform these songs around the world! We are also bringing the band Divide and Dissolve to Minneapolis and Chicago to open the show. Check their music out – they use noise music to literally dissolve white supremacy from the clubs where they play. Their music is intensely moving and beautifully brave.
Liquid Music alum Daniel Wohl is working on an overture for Music for the Long Emergency. How are you developing this piece with him? How has his participation in the project contributed to its growth?
We won’t rehearse with the full group until February 12th at MASS MOCA (three days before its debut!) but Daniel and I have been in touch on building the vocal melody for his piece so I luckily had a head start! It’s going to be a beautiful addition to the Music for the Long Emergency; in fact I think it was the missing piece.
Catch POLIÇA and s t a r g a z e's performance at First Avenue on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 with special guests Divide and Dissolve, IN/VIA. Purchase tickets to the performance here.
Follow s t a r g a z e:
Follow Liquid Music for Updates and Announcements: