Creating your own genre that doesn’t dip into others like pop punk, metal, dance or hip hop takes some difficulty yet Plants And Animals make it look incredibly easy. Influenced by both Montreal and Halifax (cities that bred the members), the trio and their “post-classic rock” have caught the attention of Pitchfork devotees and even landed themselves in consideration for several Juno Awards and the Polaris Music Prize. But is fame the name of the game for Plants And Animals? Well as drummer Matthew Woodley told us, they’re a bit tied up with making music that’s pure “barbecue rock”.
As its a new year, you guys have been extremely busy lately as you’ve been traveling. Has the road become a second home for each of you?
We’ve travelled some this year, but it’s been in spurts. Honestly, now feels like the calm before the storm, what with our new record coming out later this month and two months of straight touring after that to spread the word.
You recently played South By Southwest in Austin, Texas this past month. What do you think it is about Austin that makes it such a haven for the arts in a place like Texas?
Austin is a liberal enclave in a conservative state and I guess it draws creative types as a result. It’s a self-propagating phenomenon. I don’t know the rest of Texas that well. Once we stayed in the Comfort Inn in Waco. They have an autographed photo of Air Force One behind the front desk. Turns out that’s where the pilots would stay when former U.S. president George W. Bush was at his ranch nearby in Crawford. George Bush puts his pilots up at the Comfort Inn, a lesser known factoid from his legacy.
What was the experience like there for those few days?
It was fun, hectic and beer-fueled, like most people’s experiences. We played six times in three days, like two thousand bands in one city, holy smokes. I ate pizza for breakfast twice because forget getting something quickly at a restaurant. The experience was delicious and left you with wanting a salad at the end of it all.
On April 20th, you will be releasing your second full-length. What should people expect from La La Land?
Tell them they will cry tears of joy for six to eight weeks.
How did you guys come up with the title of the record?
We had several titles that we got excited about at night and hated in the morning. The process drove us into a vortex of confusion: a La La Land, if you will. And it just so happens that those three words are in the lyrics of “Swinging Bells” and kind of tie things together thematically. Party time.
Is there any significance for the band behind the release date of the new album?
Honestly, the 4/20 thing is a coincidence. We’re more rum people when it boils down to it.
Long drives through the desert and moonlight serenades on the beach.
You have described your music as post-classic rock. What exactly is this type of genre in your own words and can it still be used to describe your new material?
I would describe post-classic rock as hearty fruit with Hershey’s dark-almond-chocolate-Easter-rabbit overtone. We’re considering retiring the term in favor of “barbecue rock.” But I think PCR still works sometimes. It’s a genre we invented and only we know how to play so far.
What was it like recording this full length compared to working on Parc Avenue?
We recorded Parc Avenue over two years while working day jobs. We had no label and no audience expecting an album. This time there was a sense somewhere of expectations, but it was somewhere in the background. Less of an elephant in the room, more like a sleeping cat.
Has the recognition brought by being short-listed for the Polaris Prize and being nominated for a Juno translated into more positive experiences on tour?
For sure it’s helped bring more people to our shows, and that’s great.
Canada is so big this warrants two questions: what’s your favourite place to play in Eastern Canada? How about in the West?
Warren and I both grew up in Halifax and playing there is always special. Last time we played there, my Grammie came. She’s 87. She dug it. Out West I’d go with Vancouver. I love coasts and it’s a sushi Shangri-La. Nic would probably choose a prairie city. He really likes the prairies because he can see everything that’s around and it relaxes him.
As a three-piece, you’re very tight knit as far as music and life goes. What do you think makes a good friend?
A great personality.
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