"We wanted to call it Sgt. Plaitum's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but there were some legal issues..." - Plaitum tell hmv.com all about their debut album Constraint
Dark-hearted electro-pop duo Plaitum unveil their debut album Constraint today (you can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page). The duo's sound is as bleak as electro-pop goes, they share an ability with Crystal Castles and Purity Ring to make an electronic wall of noise that feels like it's closing on you with a chorus that can lift you right back up a few seconds later.
We spoke to the pair to find out how they put their debut LP together...
How was the process of recording this album? Do some of the tracks date back to a few years ago? Or are they all fairly recent?
Abbi (Dersiley, vocals): "The construction of the album started a while back, we would be making tracks about specific incidents during this dark period we were going through so some tracks are more recent and some are older."
Matt (Canham, keyboards): "The tracks all began on the laptop at some point over the past three years. Most began as seven or eight-minute long laptop jams that we'd write as soundtracks to horror films we were watching and then write a song over the top of that afterwards. They only really got concise once we got into the studio and started to focus them down to the bare necessities, though not in the Jungle Book sense..."
What was the song on the album that took the longest to get right?
Matt: "'Yearning'. It went through about 30 permutations including a really dark and swampy instrumental version and one that was the polar opposite of that. We spent about two days recording ourselves trying to sound like a choir in my flat before listening back a week later and realising how odd it sounded."
Abbi: "It's quite an upfront, cards on the table track and we really wanted to do it justice, so it was put through a lot of torment to get it to sound funky enough."
And which came together most quickly?
Matt: "'Reeling', the first track on the album – we wrote it with a pretty basic beat behind it before trying to make it as tense as possible. It was a case of removing everything except the absolute bare bones to make the payoff at the end as full-on as possible."
Abbi: "'Still in the Water' also came together quite organically, the sound and story behind the track just naturally flowed together and it just made sense without having to labour over it too much."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a common theme?
Abbi: "Each track is sort of like a mini story, and each story represents sort of chapter in a series of messed up events. The overall theme was exploring an explosive relationship and how it creates a domino effect throughout your life."
Matt: "Some of them are self-contained stories based on books and films, but they tie into the main narrative."
When did you settle on the title of Constraint?
Matt: "Just after the album had finished. Abi had written the lyrics for a new song immediately afterwards – ironically about a much happier subject, the lyric being "without constraint" - and because we were looking for a title it was constantly on the back of our minds, so we did a very 90's-comedy-show double take when she sang it and looked at each other!"
Were there any other titles in contention?
Matt: "We wanted to call it Sgt. Plaitum's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but there were some legal issues."
Abbi: "Dark dark times, even darker times and this time is dark were all considered."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
Matt: "We're doing our first UK tour later this month which is gonna be loud and intense. These songs were always made to be played loud and live so unless your neighbour is very forgiving with noise levels this will be the best chance to hear them in their fullest. It'll be sweaty."
Abbi: "We plan on showcasing our distorted goods to anyone who wants to have a gander..."