Interview: PLINI

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PLINI is an independent solo artist from Sydney, Australia. He composes, plays guitar, records, produces and manages his unique brand of instrumental progressive rock all from a bedroom studio. STEVE VAI described his critically-acclaimed debut album “HANDMADE CITIES” as “one of the finest, forward thinking, melodic, rhythmically and harmonically deep, evolution of rock/metal instrumental guitar records I have ever heard.” PLINI was named #8 in Ultimate-Guitar’s top 12 guitarists of 2015 and listed amongst MusicRadar’s “10 best prog guitarists in the world right now” in 2016.

In addition to his own catalogue (an album, a trilogy of EPs and numerous singles), PLINI has recorded guest solos for artists from all over the world, including SKYHARBOR (India), INTERVALS (Canada), NOVELISTS (France), DAVID MAXIM MICIC (Serbia), MODERN DAY BABYLON (Czech Republic) and more. He has also released two singles for charity, “KO KI” (2014) and “EVERY PIECE MATTERS” (2016), raising over $10,000 for providing shelter and sustainable housing for communities in poverty in Cambodia.

In a short time since 2015, PLINI has already shared stages all over the world with artists like CYNIC, TESSERACT, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME and more. He also has a signature guitar with Strandberg Guitars, and endorsement deals with Yamaha Music, Dunlop, D’Addario and Fractal Audio.

PLINI will be releasing his 4th EP “Sunhead” on July 27 and will be touring nationally in September – his first Australian shows in 2 years. He spends a lot of his time touring the US and Europe and has already spent over 3 months over there this year. He took some time out to chat with us about the EP and upcoming tour.

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H2Z: Hi PLINI, thanks for your time. It’s been two years since your last shows in Australia. What are you looking forward to the most about doing shows at home again?
PLINI: The easiness I guess. Everyone speaks the language, not that they don’t in other countries. My credit cards work without fees, it is just a really chilled thing touring home in Australia.

H2Z: Your EP is about to come out, so it’s safe to say we will see songs from that in your set, but how long was the writing and recording process, for the new EP:
PLINI: I guess, it’s been kind of on and off for the last year or more. In between tours I would just sit down and work on something. If I liked it I would keep with it, if not I would move on. Really, it’s been pretty much non-stop since the last album came out, and I decided on a time that I wanted to release it, so really since the beginning of the year I have been focused on finishing the songs off.

H2Z: With writing, everyone is different. Some wait for inspiration, some work with a very structured and disciplined approach. What category would you say that you fall into?
PLINI: I think I am a bit of both. I think to start a song you need to be inspired, or get inspiration from somewhere or something, and it’s just playing and not thinking, and before you know it you have something cool to pursue. Then it becomes more disciplined with the idea, and the melody and the chords. Then I start thinking on how I can expand it and write contrasting sections, that are still related to the original idea. Then I get a lot more theoretical from there. But to answer your question, I really am somewhat in the middle.

H2Z: Can you tell our readers about the people you have joining you on the EP
PLINI: On the second track my friend Davesh Dayal, who plays guitar in a band called Skyharbor, did some vocals. I had written some synth parts, that were kind of like the production you will hear on pop radio. That stuff is not my forte, where he has spent a lot of time producing pop and R & B stuff. So, one night I just asked if he would be able to do it and he did. On the third track, both Anomalie who plays Keyboards and John who plays Saxophone, are just friends who I met through mutual friends over the last couple of years. As I was building the track, I could hear that there was the space to have those different textures. So, with being friends It was just as simple as asking them to play on the track which they did, and I just let them do their thing. And on the last track, I was recording, I had finished recording all the guitar part except for one guitar solo, and I was sitting there and after about 2 hours of just playing stuff that didn’t feel that great, I realised all I was trying to do was rip off Tim Miller, who has been a recent big inspiration. I met him at the beginning of the year and we kept in touch. I emailed him and explained about the track, but that all I wanted to do was to be him, so I asked him to just be himself on the track instead (laughs), and that’s how that happened.

H2Z: You have received many accolades in the press and other players. How does that make you feel knowing your music is so wide reaching?
PLINI: think it’s great! It’s not the kind of thing I really would have expected or thought about when I started writing music. That has also been a big help in learning about what I should keep doing, because I started writing music for fun, and all these people like it, so I guess I should just keep writing music for fun.

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H2Z: Let’s talk about your signature guitar. What specifics were important to you when you set out to create it?
PLINI: One thing that I really like about it that a lot of guitar collectors probably wouldn’t is the wood on the top is actually a veneer. It’s a really thin layer of Australian Blackwood, which is obviously cool because I am Australian, and not many guitarists would use that. But also, it makes it a lot more sustainable because they are using one piece of wood for the top of the guitar and could probably get 50 tops out of that one piece of wood, instead of the usual case where you may get one top and have to scrap the rest of the piece of wood. The body of the guitar is a much more common Ash, and with the Australian Blackwood on top. That is purely an aesthetic thing as I am a fan of modern design. In terms of electronics it is based on the usual Strandberg model but with some stuff taken away. When I played live I noticed that I never used the tone knob, and if anything I would accidently roll it off a bit and play half a song with no tone, so I just got rid of it so I would never make that mistake, I also got rid of the 5 way switch and put in a 3 way switch, because there was really only one kind of Strat sound that I would use. It’s just like a personalised version of the regular Strandberg model.

H2Z: You have mentioned some of your favourite artists in the past. Do you have a dream touring bill?
PLINI: I have to support Dream Theatre. They are my childhood hero band, that I would love to play with. Of course, Steve Vai, other than that I have almost played with all the bands that are in a similar genre to me that I really like such as Animals As Leaders, Tesseract, so that has been really cool.

H2Z: What about places to play?
PLINI: It would have to be New Zealand. It’s so close so I don’t really get why I haven’t played their yet, and South America and maybe Antarctica. I will happily play anywhere that will have me.

H2Z: Finishing up, What’s next after the Australian Tour?
PLINI: I head back to Europe with Tesseract and Between The Buried And Me, then hopefully writing new music.
H2Z: Thanks so much for your time today, look forward to seeing you on your tour
PLINI: Awesome mate, thanks.

We would like to thank PLINI for his time. Don’t forget his new EP “Sunhead” will be out on July 27th. The EP announcement follows PLINI’s triumphant performance at Download Festival, where the band were the first instrumental guitar band to ever play the fest; Be Prog! My Friend (Barcelona), and a highly successful European tour with Arch Echo and Mestis. PLINI will next embark on a second European tour which includes dates at Arctangent (UK), Brutal Assault (CZ) and a headline show at London’s Islington Assembly that’s on track to sell-out before returning to Australia in September 2018 to embark his first full Australian headlining tour in more than two years.

The tour is supported by fellow progressive music luminaries MESTIS (USA), the solo project of world-renowned guitarist Javier Reyes from Animals As Leaders and DAVID MAXIM MICIC (Serbia) who has made a name from himself via a number of EPs under the project-name Bilo, as well as his band Destiny Potato.

Before each show, you can also attend a one-hour long Masterclass and Q&A session with Plini, Javier and David, tailored to the interests of the group and covering anything from composition & guitar techniques to touring & building a career as an independent musician.

NEW WORLD ARTISTS + EVOLUTION TOURING PRESENT

PLINI 

“SUNHEAD” AUSTRALIAN TOUR

WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
MESTIS (USA)
DAVID MAXIM MICIC (SERBIA)

FRIDAY 7 SEPTEMBER – THE ZOO, BRISBANE
SATURDAY 8 SEPTEMBER – MANNING BAR, SYDNEY
THURSDAY 13 SEPTEMBER – BADLANDS, PERTH
FRIDAY 14 SEPTEMBER – JIVE, ADELAIDE
SATURDAY 15 SEPTEMBER – CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE

TICKETS ON SALE NOW AT HTTP://WWW.PLINI.CO/AUS

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