Plants and Animals will be opening for Frightened Rabbit at Diesel Tuesday, Novemeber 2nd. They are a three piece by way of Montreal. They are touring behind their sophomore album La La Land which came out this past April. The three piece plays a bit of orchestral sound ala Polyphonic Spree with a 70's psych undertone. Below is an interview the band was kind enough to give us touching on their song writing process, time spent in Paris recording their La La Land and how their hockey team rules. Check out several tracks embedded in the interview from the new album.
Have you seen any differences in the past couple of years with the economy being so stagnant? Has there been a difference between attendance/sales in Canada versus the US? How has it affected you?
I like to think of us as a travelling stimulus package. But It's really hard to tell because there are so many factors that go into those things and I don't have the stats. On a gut level, I would say maybe it's affected things a little, but it doesn't seem to have lasted. That's with attendance, at least. As for sales, the hit has come from digital downloading, and that's a whole other issue, recession or not.
I read that part of your record was recorded in Paris. Why the change of venue?
We had done a good month in the studio in Montreal and were headed overseas to play a few shows in Europe when someone from our label brought up the idea of tracking for a few days outside of Paris. In a giant house, with amazing old equipment. Mais oui! So part of the album came from there and part from a studio in Montreal. There was no master plan--we just followed our instincts. We made some close friends at Studio La Frette and would love to spend some time there again.
Tom Cruz by Plants and Animals
Do you all share duties with regards to songwriting? Lyrics?
Usually Warren provides the spark - be it a riff to the skeleton of a whole song, and we shape it as a band. Sometimes the original shape sticks, sometimes someone pushes the song beyond recognition. Warren adds lyrics at the end. That's been the way so far anyway, but we've been talking about different approaches for our next recording.
How would you say La La Land differs from previous album Parc Avenue (first lp)?
Parc Avenue is a yard sale and La La Land is a shopping mall.
I read an interview where it sounded like you wanted a bit more recognition/album sales instead of the blog crowd. How have album sales been for your new album? Are you able to make a comfortable living right now from your music?
I'm not quite sure where that came from. I'm reluctant to draw a line between "the blog crowd" and sales. Of course we want to sell records and tickets, and for the past few years we've been lucky enough to live off of our music. We don't take it for granted. But whether you read about us on some obscure blog or you hear a song on "Chuck" doesn't matter to me. It boils down to connecting to people.
A lot of your publicity photos are very animated with different imagery of costumes, etc. Are you trying to make any kind of statement with these? Or are they just for fun?
There's a funny website out there of band shots with dudes standing in a triangle in front of a brick wall looking really serious. But it's just not us.
The Mama Papa by Plants and Animals
Did you all come up with the concept for your video The Mama Papa? Could you talk a little about it I really enjoy it.
The concept came from the director, Sinbad Richardson. It's based on Fellini's "8 1/2," and he apparently had been tossing the idea around in his mind for some time before we even approached him with the song. I thought the magician, Joe Cobden, killed it. He's a pretty prolific actor / doer of things, and Sinbad suggested we use him as the lead. We liked that idea - and it just so happens that Joey is one of our closest friends.
Is there an album or show that made you want to dedicate your life to music?
There have been lots of magical moments, but I really can't trace it all back to an epiphany. In fact I wouldn't even say I've dedicated my whole life to music. Just my liver.
American Idol by Plants and Animals
What are the goals for the band? What would you like to accomplish?
We want a cool red bus like Frightened Rabbit.
Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?