2013 Artist Survey: Poliça

Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu on First Heartbreaks, First R-rated Movies, Obamacare, Spotify, Bad Reviews, and More

Jan 31, 2014 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar's 11th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the important issues of the last year, as well as some quirkier subjects. Check out our next print issue and digital issue for surveys from My Morning Jacket, Foals, Amanda Palmer, Local Natives, Wild Nothing, These New Puritans, Lanterns on the Lake, Xiu Xiu, and Summer Camp.

Here are answers from Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu of Poliça. Poliça's second album, Shulamith, was released last October by Mom + Pop.

Top 9 Albums of 2013

Drew Christopherson:

1. The Cloak Ox: Shoot the Dog-This band is from Minneapolis, and it's the best rock record I've heard in a long time. Really well-written songs, executed wonderfully. Sometimes it reminds me of Queen, sometimes Tom Petty-ish, but always sounding like The Cloak Ox. Andrew Broder is a musical visionary.
2. Bill Callahan: Dream River-Probably my all-time favorite musician, so it's an easy pick for me. I don't rate Bill Callahan records against each other anymore. It's just one big catalog of excellent releases. "Small Plane" might be in my top three Callahan/Smog songs ever.
3. King Krule: 6 Feet Beneath the Moon-This record is super fun because there isn't much going on right now that sounds like this. Great songwriting, interesting voice, good lyrics. I'm excited to see what else this dude does.
4. Jon Hopkins: Immunity-We all learned about Jon Hopkins as we walked through a big field on our way into The XX's Night + Day Festival outside of London. He was DJing and we were hearing his tunes from across the field. Every one of us loved what we were hearing. Immediately bought his stuff and dove into a deep Jon Hopkins hole.
5. James Blake: Overgrown-We've been massive fans of James Blake since he first dropped that video for his Feist cover. Every record and EP of his has inspired us in some way, and this might be his best release yet.
6. Boards of Canada: Tomorrow's Harvest-Boards of Canada are probably one of the most important electronic groups of all time, in my opinion. A lot of people in Minneapolis were way into these guys in the early 2000s and their whole sound inspired a lot of people here. I was very happy to hear that they didn't change their sound much at all. Another great record.
7. Pony Bwoy: Pony Bwoy-This is a two-piece project from Minneapolis with some of the best R&B grooves I've heard in a long while. Really forward-thinking production and vocals. We have one of their songs in our set changeover playlist and it sounds so great blasted through a huge PA system.
8. DJ Koze: Amygdala-I really like a huge number of songs on this record, but I really like the song "Marilyn Whirlwind." It's all about the sounds DJ Koze uses. Really lush, solid patches going on all over this record.
9. The Knife: Shaking the Habitual-The Knife is probably my favorite band in the last 15 years, so they are on the list practically by default, although Shaking the Habitual does indeed earn its place in my Top 10 for the year. I love that they use music to express their revolutionary thinking and not just imagery or language. The Knife will actually put songs on their record knowing full on that it will be a challenging listen for people. They are real artists, not just musicians.

What was the highlight of 2013, either for you personally or for the band?

Drew: This November tour we are on has really been a wonderful cap to this year. Overall, we've had a number of great adventures, but to finish the year with a full U.S. tour with our best buds in Marijuana Deathsquads has felt like we are doing something right. Another very high point for us was going to the U.K. to play with The XX at their Night+Day Festival they put on. It was a very special night for us, and watching The XX together was very inspirational.

What was the low point of 2013 for you?

Drew: When Ben, Channy [Leaneagh], and I had to perform without Chris [Bierden] for two shows in Australia. He had to fly home for family reasons, and it was very difficult to not be there with him on the plane.

What are your hopes and plans for 2014?

Drew: We're planning on more tour adventures for Shulamith, but I think we're all hoping for some more downtime in the second half of the year to write and record. That's just kind of our routine. When winter comes, we want to be ready to book some studio time again.

What are your thoughts on the passing of Lou Reed? Did his music influence you at all and in what way?

Drew: I was thinking the other day about how strange it is these days when a celebrity or hero of the past dies, and about how that's just something that will start to occur more and more as time goes on. Like, there may be a time in the future when someone famous dies every day. How are we going to talk about that sort of thing? As for Lou Reed, I was massively influenced by The Velvet Underground at a young age. He deserves to be remembered for sure.

What are your thoughts on the U.S. government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate?

Drew: Surely there are more qualified people to comment on this sort of thing. The shutdown and the debt ceiling discussions give me the willies.

What are your thoughts on Obamacare, now that it's being implemented?

Drew: I get a humongous kick out of the fact that the GOP did cyber-attacks on the Obamacare website. That just blows my mind, and makes for some thrilling political theater. I am a supporter of Obamacare, and violently opposed to the racket of the medical industry.

What is your opinion on the extensive government spying on the world's Internet/phone usage? Is Edward Snowden a patriot or traitor?

Ben Ivascu: I think we're all a little spooked by spying, but are not shocked or surprised it's happening. Ed is a patriot.

What are your thoughts on music streaming services such as Spotify and Rdio? Are they good or bad for musicians?

Ben: Streaming services are all fine and dandy, I just never use them. I suppose a musician that would hope to make money from these services could think that they are bad, but did they write those songs just to make money? I guess it depends what kind of musician you are.

Who was the first person to break your heart? Whose heart did you first break?

Ben: Kissing and telling is rude.

What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?

Ben: Being alive.

Do bad reviews bother you and which negative review has affected you the most?

Drew: There was a YouTube comment one time that has lingered with us since we first put out a video, and Ben and I remind ourselves of this critique often. It read, "They need two drummers to do that?"

What was the first R-rated (17+) movie you remember seeing and how old were you?

Ben: I actually cannot tell you the first, but thanks to our VCR and my older brother, I was able to see many R-rated films before I was 17. My dad took me and my brother to see Rambo: First Blood Part II after my fourth grade softball team won the championship. I was the pitcher. I'm terrible at math, so I don't know how old I was.

Where's the most daring place you've ever had sex?

Drew: Smack dab in the middle of Van Cleve Park off of Como Avenue near Dinkytown.

What's the oddest gift that you've ever received from a fan?

Ben: Custom made Poliça cigarette lighters. My favorites were the one of Chris and one with a picture of one of our hoodies on it.

What's the biggest scam in the music industry today?

Drew: The cost of MoongelsTM, 360 deals, collector's edition releases being available on streaming services.

When coming off tour, what's the hardest thing to readjust to in regular life?

Ben: Not playing drums every day.

How and with whom did you lose your virginity?

Ben: Kissing and telling is rude.

www.thisispolica.com



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PmB
January 31st 2014
2:52pm

Was the interviewer a 14-year-old boy? What’s with all the stupid sex questions? Surely better questions could have been asked/

lpg
March 4th 2014
4:06am

I’m still staring it right in the face every night,

gazete
March 4th 2014
4:06am

what’s happening.