Don’t Expect This Outfit to Follow Trends: Interview with Plainsunset

Some artists get disillusioned with what they’re doing or even what they’re called. Have you guys mixed things up a little over the past 17 years?
Yes we change the sound and approach to song writing. Our priorities are different now.
Jon: You can’t be in a certain specific genre and expect that you’ll be fresh all the time. Even jazz adds things different every single time they play. While we’ve tried to be faithful to what we did well, we’ve played around a little bit here and there.

What’s your secret to staying together for so long?
Just making time for the band and cool wives, and of course loving what we do.

How does it feel to be classified with the big names out there around the region?
It’s nice and we feel honoured to be classified with the big names—but then again we don’t really do much. We’re a simple sing-along rock band.
J: Nice but it’s not one of our priorities. Just tried to be the best we could and not a regional thing—that was a bonus. I think when we started out, things like this weren’t available to local bands, so we never had this sense of expectation that things like this would happen.  

What’s touring like these days? Have your energy levels changed at all?
Touring nowadays consist of staying in the hotel room, finding places to eat, sound checks, getting as much rest as we can so that we can release all the energy on stage.
J: We’re very chill by comparison. I think going out for beers and maybe a bottle of something at the hotel room–that’s about it. if there’s time, then we talk about everthing else. I guess the most unusual was when we went to Manila—a couple of us went to a public firing range and tried out a whole bunch of handguns. Apart from things like that, I’ll go look for a bar and watch the football match.

You guys featured plenty of local bands and artists in the latest EP, The Gift. How was coming out with that album like?
I think we never really met any of them as everyone’s busy. But there’s always been a good vibe whenever we see them on the street or at gigs, so I guess it carried on right through the project. We didn’t interfere with them; we just wanted to let them get their idea out and it usually ended up sounding better than ours.

How much faith do you have in the local scene? What are some of your reservations about it?
it would be great if all radio stations play Singaporean music.
J: I think we need to work harder, personally. There are some really hardworking bands out there, like Caracal, Inch Chua—I applaud them thoroughly. But as a whole, I feel as if I want to say to the younger guys to stop waiting for one of those big opportunities to come by and be prepared to build a following the old-fashioned way—playing live in front of people, not on YouTube. 

Wise words for bands starting out?
Practice, practice and practice.
J: Similar to the previous question, which is aiming for a slow build-up following at your live shows. Also, check your heart. If you come up with a sense of entitlement, like you’re waiting for someone else to ‘discover’ you and not bother to practice or look for hard gigs, that breakthrough may not happen.

What’s the weirdest request you’ve received from a fan?
Not so much weird I guess; someone once had a birthday surprise at a practice. We’d planned it with her friends so that they surprised her and took her to our practice, blindfolded. She took off the blindfold and we played her a song. I thought that was unusual, flattering and sweet. But no weird requests like used boxer shorts or something—I think we’re too boring for that.

Describe to us in detail your typical listener.
He or she would not be shy to sing his heart out at a Plainsunset show.
J: I agree. I think we appeal to folks who like live explosive shows, and understand that we don’t particularly follow trends.

If your band was a cocktail, what would it be called?
We’ll be called the ‘Green Monster’.

Plainsunset will be performing their 10th Anniversary Show at Tab on Feb 8. Tickets at $20.