Ok so this is my interview with Nottingham’s Plaids. A class 80’s hardcore influenced punk band with pretty fantastic things lined up.
Hello Plaids. How’re you doing?
Joe C: All good, just got back from (our second home at the moment) Leeds playing with Hindsights.
Phil-mo: Pretty tired, was mixing until 4 this morning haha.
First off let’s get the name out of the way. Who came up with the name and how do you say it? “Plaids” or “Plads”?
Joe C: It’s said Plads, I’m not really sure why we are called it! Sorry there is no clever anecdote here really
Matt: Plural names are in right now.
You guys are bringing out a new self-titled 7” soon. How’re you feeling about the new release? Excited, nervous or a huge mix of emotions?
Joe C: We’re really excited as we’re a band who prides ourselves on being really productive while we can and this is the first of many vinyl releases we have lined up to keep dropping.
Matt: I’m looking forward to it, it’s always nice when you get to see, hear and feel something you’ve been working towards for months.
It’s being released by WOLF TOWN DIY and Art For Blind. Why did you choose those labels to put out the record?
Joe C: They chose us really, the WOLF TOWN guys put us on in Wolvo a couple of times and we just ended up being pals. Dany from Art for Blind is the nicest, and most hard working guy in UK DIY, and it’s always a pleasure to do stuff with him.
Phil-mo: The Fok Up guys are ace, so nice they got involved and yeah, AFB have been one of my fave labels for a fair while, so nice to be welcomed into the fold.
Matt: Yeah, Art For Blind have always been a totally sick label, they put out some of my old band Saturday’s Kids records and Dany has always been super reliable and generally awesome in handling that end of things. The Fok Up is also a sick venue that you should check out if you live near Wolverhampton/Birmingham area, I think the more regional DIY venues we get running in the UK the better, so if you have one near you, do whatever you can to support it.
How do you feel it compares to your previous releases? The City Dweller split and your Four Songs demo.
Joe C: Well it’s taken us a while to really find our sound I guess, I feel more and more as we write material it’s less easy to categorise or reference, and that’s what we’re into really: the music having it’s own personality instead of being easy to backwards engineer.
Matt: Every band, to me, that has ever failed has begun with the words “let’s start a band that sounds like this” which is counter-productive because it completely removes the personality of the music. It’s like choosing to be a cover-band but instead of stealing songs, stealing musical devices and regurgitating them in a, more often than not, less effective way. What’s worse is this also sets a band pre-determined rules that shouldn’t exist when making music, and I think that’s one of the biggest problems in Punk today, at least musically, is that too many bands buy into pre-existing aesthetics and musical conventions when the scene would be alot more interesting if when people sat down to write music they said “Let’s just try to play how we feel” and express their own personalities and musical tastes without sounding overly cheesy. I’m all for playing the music that you like but why not try to add your own flavour to the sound instead of creating something completely devoid of original thought? I guess it’s easier to play into the current wave of musical styles in the UK than to do your own thing, but to me Punk was always about playing whatever the fuck you want, instead of conforming to what the UK scene’s flavour of the month is.
I bet you get sick of hearing this, but your song names are just numbers. Why is this? Plus, how are they numbered, in order of them being written or released?
Joe C: It’s simple, the songs don’t have names, but we had to put something on bandcamp!
Phil-mo: much better than putting the working titles, which they remain called until they’re pegged for a release, getting a number is like being promoted.
I heard you guys on Jen Long’s radio show the other month. How did that come about?
Joe C: She is just a mate of ours really outside of music biz shenegigans, she’s very supportive of UK DIY bands so it’s a pleasure for us to have been picked out by her.
You guys have a split release and tour with Football Etc. right? Would you like to explain it in more depth? Are you super excited for it? I know I would be!
Joe C: This will be coming out on Count Your Lucky Stars and strictly no capital letters. The band showed an interest in our stuff around the same time we were on a big “find bands to do splits with we like!” trip, the rest is history…
So JT Soar is a venue/recording studio in Nottingham where you put on various different Punk, Emo, Hardcore, etc. shows. What’s the story behind the building?
Phil-mo: I ran the place as a studio for about a year or so before the rest of the guys got involved, when I got the new live room, which now doubles up as a venue it’s potential was immediately realised. Me and Joe put a few shows on, but we went full pelt when I renegotiated my contract in July and we were actually allowed to put the shows on, with the Plaids and WAPS crew booking more and more shows and eventually letting outside promoters in when the word got out of our DIY haven.
Who and what would you say are your biggest influences?
Joe C: We all have vast and independent musical influences, but we have some stuff in common between all four of us, I think that’s how most bands work, unless they are just blatant copiests, but I don’t find that any fun to do. As the vocalist and lyricist I am really influenced by the 80s DC hardcore scene, very blunt lyrics without much romanticism, vocals ranging from yelling to spoken word. Guys like Ian and Alec Mackaye (Minor Threat and The Faith), Shawn Brown (Dag Nasty/Swiz), Guy Picciotto (Rites of Spring) etc..
Matt: There’s definitely an 80’s hardcore influence as well as a heavy influence from 90’s emo but I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from Indie Rock in the chords that I play too. There are definitely certain musical devices that we use more often than others but when I sit down to write one of the songs it’s more to do with what seems enjoyable to play than sitting down and having a preset bunch of rules telling me what kind of song I’m supposed to write to make it “work”.
How’s the scene in Nottingham outside of JT Soar? Is it all students and night clubs or is there much more to it?
Phil-mo: Stuck on a name is another studio just round the corner thqt does the same kinda thing we do, boulty is a legend. The chameleon still has loads of great stuff kicking off, but nick and his scary vagina paintings put me off a little.
Matt: Speaking as someone living outside of Nottingham I’d like to think the punk scene fairs pretty well in comparison to other places. We have a DIY venue here for a start, and there’s plenty of other stuff going on like Phil mentioned as well as other kinds of music too which might not be related to punk, but there’s definitely other stuff going on here regardless as to what you’re into musically.
Do you have any other plans for 2013? Tours/Releases ect. Where would you like to see Plaids at the end of this year?
Matt: I just wanna keep writing music and making the sound better as we go along, for me it’s an outlet rather than an achievement. To do this full-time getting by on band money would obviously would be incredible, but highly unlikely.
What’s your most memorable show to date?
Phil-mo: Playing with Give at JT Soar was a biggie, playing in a totally transformed flowerhead JT Soar (fake flowers and balloons everywhere) alongside one of my favourite bands, such a lovely bunch.
Matt: We played at About Time fest to a pretty hefty crowd, and it felt like everyone kind of made sense of us I think which was good. It was nice to be a massive building filled with people on the same page.
Would you like to recommend any bands/labels/zines/artists to the people reading this?
Phil-mo: Crossings, but their singer is a bit questionable…
Matt: Check out the Joanna Gruesome album when it comes out, the members are some of my best friends and if you’re into noise-pop, twee vocals with a loads of mucky distortion then you might just love it. You should also check out my friends feminist blog called The Misery Chicks which has just started out, they cover a whole bunch of different stuff not just to do with music.
Ok, last question. If you could tour with any 4 bands to any 4 places. Where, Who and Why?
Joe C: Mars to Stay, on Mars.
Phil-mo: Julliard in ma Julie’s yard.
Matt: The Enemy, On The NME Stage.
Thanks guys. I wish you all the best in your future endevours. xx
Plaids: Bandcamp, Youtube & Facebook