Posted in Bands We've Chatted With

Plum

The album launch was on April 7th at the Electric Circus. How was it?

“Fabulous! Loved it. Fantastic support from Megan D (very talented singer songwriter, only 16 and this was her first ever live gig), and the wonderful Capitals, who are always great. I really enjoyed the gig. We had cupcakes with plum jam in the centre, butterfly fairy cakes & rum & plum cocktails.”

What are the plans from here?

“…Gig as much as possible, shoot more music videos, gain more exposure?”

I loved the ordering of the song titles from the bottom up on the cd case; a nice little touch. Whose idea was that?

“Thank you, my idea. It was embedded within the concept to start at the bottom & work up.”

I’ve glimpsed at some of the early press. How pleased are you with it?

“I’m really chuffed with the reviews, they have been absolutely incredible. The concept & the emotional story has been well received. I always intended this project to be meaningful, at least to me, so I’m glad the press have been picking up on that side of it, as well as the production.”

Was just re-watching the video for the ‘Seed’, can you share anything about how that came together. The results are very good.

“Well, the idea came about from discussions between myself & Jim Wolff of LEITH Records. I wanted a stop-frame music video…we discussed options, costs, possible ideas, we wanted to use leads as roots/plants. Then Jim got Greg Hoyna involved (who is a cardboard stop-frame master) and he said I had to be in the video. No question. We had a disagreement about the ending. The consensus was originally to throw the plant pot out of the window & have a happy ending (it was just a dream kind of thing), but that missed the entire point of the album. Then Jim came up with the idea of me being plugged in at the end & I loved it! It took 75m of cardboard, 3 weeks of preparation (turning my livingroom into cardboard), and 2 long days to shoot with LEITH Records & Greg directing.”

Incidentally, who came up with the design for the Plum logo?  It is such an excellent icon.

“I worked with The LEITH Agency on the brand identity, and the man behind the brand identity including the logo was the young & talented Mr Sam Grosset.”

A while ago you made a promotional trip to London handing out fairy dust and other things. Do you have a tale or 2 of some of the encounters this lead to?

“…I didn’t actually hand out any fairy dust in London, lol. I gave away 50 promo copies of the album. I met some lovely people. I also went to the Gotye concert at Shepherds Bush Empire & gave Wally de Backer one of my music boxes. He says he might use it to write a song 🙂 his dad gave him one that plays the Can Can which sounds amazing.”

I wanted to purchase a copy of the album for someone in North America, but the web shop informed that this was not possible. Will this change in the future?

“Yes. I’m really keen to get the music to the states & Canada & everywhere else. It was a problem with my settings in Big Cartel. Fixed now.”

I’ve been trying to follow up on people’s recommendations. I have to admit that I have not been doing a very good job of it. This morning I noticed you linked a Capitals song on your facebook page. Until today, it was a band name rolling around my head. After watching ‘Ode to End’ I became very intrigued.  That video led me to ‘Hello World’ and they’ve instantly become the next band I want to seek out. What more can you tell us about them?

“Keir MacCulloch from Capitals helped produce my album. He is a world class producer & was also signed to Benbecula Records under the name Araya. Angus Carbarns, the singer is a fantastically talented songwriter, who used to play with The  Cinematics.  Both from Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. They are brilliant & I wish them every success.”

I noticed that, at the moment, you and I and 292 other people’ like’ the Gothenburg Address. What is wrong with the world?

“Luke Joyce is a friend of mine who is always doing really interesting projects including surround sound gigs etc. he also writes music under the name I Build Collapsible Mountains. He’s another very talented songwriter.

…I’m not sure what’s wrong with the world. Perhaps not enough people like yourself willing to listen to & promote genuinely good music.”

T&P

It is rather nice to see one’s name on the inside flap of the finished product along with all the other sponsors. It has been an enjoyable experience seeing this project come to fruition. When the press kit files came I gave them a listen in the car a few times but my download must have had some corruption. At the time I was also asked to write a review. Since then I’ve pretty much decided that not only do I not want to write ‘traditional’ reviews but that I really can’t. The world would be a better place if I didn’t. Even worse, I was not really sure if I would have been able to recommend it.

When the physical album arrived I dutifully put it into the stereo proper. After one listen my reaction was of astonishment – I didn’t remember it being so good.  ‘Electronica’ for lack of a better label – and it really only speaks to instrumentation on this record not its heart – is not my neck of the woods.  I still have not listened enough to fully absorb the lyrics and still marvel at the little touches that I discover every time I listen to it.  I’ve walked around outside, up and down the hills, with it playing in my ears and it is becoming one of my favourite records. This is obviously an exceptional example, but I truly love how ‘my’ music is becoming more personal again.

Posted in Bands We've Chatted With

Plum

A month or so ago, glasGOwest had the good fortune of putting Plum over the top with our sponsume pledge. Just heard that the record is ‘finished’ and am looking forward to it. I very much like this sort of subscription based model.

You’ve decided to go the ‘pledge’ route to create some seed money for your next project. In a bit of calculated chicanery glasGOwest managed to be the pledge that put you over the top with a couple of days to spare. I love the idea, like 19th century book subscriptions, of fans buying the product on faith. Overall, how nerve wracking was the experience?

“I initially went down the grant funding route, I applied to the Women Make Music fund to encourage more women into producing musical masterpieces. I made it to the final round but the feedback was that at the end of the day, no matter how innovative the ideas were, it was still just an album. I think I should have gone a different route for the performance rather than the writing, but nevertheless I was knocked back. I then had nothing to lose by trying the crowd funding route. I was very impressed by the whole process, I love the idea myself – it’s more empowering for the little creatives in the world that people can individually back your project – and it’s encouraging to see so many people willing to sign up before you have produced the goods. Constant updates on Facebook & Twitter helped, and many backers were on board giving me a fully supportive team of people getting the word out through social media, blogs and links etc. On the whole I loved the experience. It was more exciting than nerve wracking, the first few weeks were the most frightening, once it hit 50% the momentum really picked up.”

We obviously wouldn’t have pledged had we not liked what we heard. I immediately took to your older song ‘As Trains Pass By’. The demo of new song ‘Seed’ sealed the deal. Could you explain your overall concept for the album?

“Well the concept is about the seed of an idea, how ideas can be planted in your mind and left to grow, left to be proven true through the experiences which follow (whether or not the original idea is true). All my lyrics are based on personal experience, so it’s about a specific (negative) seed which was planted in my mind when I was very young, and how that idea has grown in my mind, and poisoned many of my beliefs. The first track is The Seed, and the first half of the album is based underground, in the forming of the seed, which means they’re a bit more dark in nature. After that there is a lighter conceptual style signifying growth and development, it’s a bit softer from halfway through.”

I’m grateful to have had a little peek into the production process and getting the chance to listen to the snippets you’ve put on sound cloud. Has anything memorable happened in the recording process to date? I’m intrigued by how you go about the song writing process. Music-then-Lyrics or Lyrics-then-Music?

“I think my favourite production piece was in ‘The Seed’ when we pitch shifted the vocal line in the background, then put it through some amps to distort it, and it gives the effect of being a mad synth instead of a vocal. There’s also a group of Japanese school kids panned right with a synth panned left on ‘Smile’, which Kyle McKenzie worked with me on…his idea, and it’s brilliant.

The writing process is different from piece to piece, a lot of my lyrics are penned in the middle of the night when I’m drifting in and out of sleep and thinking about things, and suddenly I’ll realise I have a song, and I’ll reach for a pad of paper and scribble down what’s there. Sometimes I start writing on the guitar, and other times I start with something electronic, and then re-draft some of my night-time lyrics to fit. What’s been fun this time has been working with other producers, namely Keir MacCulloch, who works in an entirely different style to me, so it’s been a learning curve for both of us, but has resulted in some interesting production. “

When might we reasonably expect the project to be completed?

“I’m a little behind, but I’m still aiming to release the album in March 2012. Possibly late March/Early April.”

Having metaphorically grown up in the more indie rock, Mogwai-infused, Chemikal Underground drenched streets of Glasgow, you are working in a genre that I’m not overly familiar with. Branching out to Edinburgh (and beyond) eventually exposed me to a rather different set of artists and I am all the better for it. If you had to identify yourself with a particular genre, how would you see yourself fitting in to it?

“I always find the genre question a difficult one – I don’t write to any genre, and this album particularly flits from Rock/Pop to Electronica to Dub Step to Acoustic, so I really don’t know – the last album was described as Acoustic Electronica, but this one is definitely a little more electronic. Open to suggestions. Maybe we should take a poll when the album’s out?”

Do you have any artists/bands you’d like to recommend?

“North Atlantic Oscillation (Scottish)
Theapplesofenergy (Scottish)
Integra TV (Scottish)
Christ. (Scottish)
Gotye
Fever Ray”

Do you remember the first record you ever bought? Mine, strangely enough, was Elton John’s Greatest Hits Vol 2; which Wikipedia tells me I purchased in 1977 at the tender age of 13.

“remember the first record I had was Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd. I used to love Free Bird, listening to it on my Hi-Fi crackling away – I miss records. I can’t actually remember the first record I bought. It could have been Nirvana Nevermind…or possibly Metallica (the Black album).”

Your first 2 records were released on an American label, did you have the opportunity to play here?

“Unfortunately not, I’d love to sort out a mini US tour at some point over the next year!”

Finally, before we run out of answers, would you be so kind and ask glasGOwest a question?

Yes – you got any plans to host a Scotland Showcase festival out West? I’m in if you do!

We wish. Pedro tried furiously to get We Were Promised Jetpacks in to do a BLIP FM session (schedule to tight) and he is not without other connections. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to the same thing, and the general lack of it. We might as well be at the end of the world and, in terms of Scottish music, we really are.

T&P