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[INTERVIEW] Plini

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By Rod Whitfield

Isn’t it fabulous when a hard working, highly talented young local artist makes good. Even better when that young artist makes music that is well divorced from the mainstream, does things his/her own way and gains notoriety purely for being ridiculously good at what he or she does. That’s we have right here in Sydney guitar wunderkind Plini.

This kid has released a number of ridiculously high quality EPs that have garnered overwhelming critical and fan appreciation, toured Australia and the world multiple times over and played with some of the true luminaries of progressive music, both from here and around the globe. To top it all off, one of the greatest exponents of the electric guitar in the history of the instrument itself, Mr Steve Vai, recently had this to say about the young man and his playing:

“When I saw Plini play I felt that the future of exceptional guitar playing was secure.”

You know you’re doing something right when you receive praise like that from such lofty heights.

Through all this however, we’re pleased to say that he very much maintaining a level head and not allowing it all to go to his head, as evidenced by his response to what Vai had to say about him.

“It’s just ridiculous,” he states modestly, “it makes no sense. It’s literally insane that the type of shit that I would dream about a few years ago is happening, and normal. It’s really weird and really awesome!”

So does this make you tempted to call up Vai and ask if he’d be interested in getting together and writing some tunes together? “On the one hand, totally. On the other hand, especially with a guy like that there’s probably a million legal boundaries in the way of doing something like that. Plus he’s probably busy for the next 30 years!

“But, one day, fingers crossed.”

One thing he has been very much enjoying is writing, recording and touring with some of the more up and coming greats of modern progressive and instrumental music such as Jakub Zytecki (Disperse), Chris Letchford (Scale the Summit), Marco Minnemann (Joe Satriani, Steven Wilson), Sithu Aye, Modern Day Babylon, Intervals and several others.

“Every step of the way, it’s just been incredibly rewarding to play with anyone,” he enthuses, “going back to what you were saying about calling up Steve, on the other of that, the thing that I think is kind of exciting is all the young players. People that are emerging with me. I’m excited by the idea of playing with them and touring with them.

“The people that are going to be the Steve Vai’s of the next ten or whatever years.”

After releasing three EPs, Plini decided it was time to wind out and write, record and release a full-blown long player, and that came very recently in the form of the stunning Handmade Cities, where those precocious playing and songwriting talents are on full display. He is justifiably very satisfied with what he has produced.

“It’s good!” He states simply and humbly, “I had to live with it and like it by myself, and now other people get to like it. It seems they do, so I’m happy!”

He reveals that some of the music on the album actually goes back a number of years. “Some of the stuff on there is about five years old,” he says, “like maybe 30 seconds worth of riffs. One song is a re-recording of a song from about five years ago as well. The rest is pretty new.

“The idea to actually make an album started pretty much straight after my last EP came out. I thought it was time to do something a little more substantial. So about from maybe May last year, to pretty much June this year I’ve just been hacking away at it and seeing what can happen.”

Plini and his band are set to kick off quite an extensive tour of the country in support of the album. He is taking his good friends in the aforementioned American progressive band Intervals out on the road with him across the nation, a band he has toured other parts of the world extensively with previously.

“Yeah it’s going to be great,” he says, “we did America together, we’ve done Europe together, and now I’m excited to show them what it’s like to tour Australia. It’s going to be fun.”

In fact, it was seeing Intervals play in Europe that was an inspiring factor behind Plini stepping out of his home studio and getting out on the touring circuit.

“Originally I met Aaron Marshall, who is the main composer and lead guitarist of Intervals,” he recalls, “I met him a couple of years ago, I was on holiday in Germany, where he was playing a show. So I hit him up, we were friends on Facebook, we liked each other’s music.

“I said ‘hey man, I’m in Berlin, let’s meet up’. So I went to the show, we hung out, we were already friends and we became better friends. At that point I had never played live, and just seeing him on tour I just thought ‘man, I really want to do this.’ And I said ‘one day we should tour together’.”

And from there, the whole thing came full circle. “His latest album came out at the end of last year,” he remembers, “and he was like ‘dude, I’m just putting together a tour. Come and be on it, come and play guitar with me.’ So I was like ‘Okay!’

“So we did it, and just last month actually, we played in that same club in Berlin, so that was really cool.”

Plini + Intervals: Australian Tour 2016
01 September – Brightside, Brisbane, QLD
02 September – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
03 September – Max Watts, Melbourne, VIC
09 September – Fat Controller, Adelaide, SA
10 September – Amplifier, Perth, WA

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