Interview: Plecdrum.Inc “That’s what we want everyone to know, we don’t hold back”
Mark Tyers interviews one of the North East’s most original, up-and-coming acts ahead of their May 29 headline gig at Independent, Sunderland– Plecdrum.Inc are an unsigned 5-piece band which stand-out thanks to an ambitious coupling of searingly-honest song-writing with a visceral blend of hip-hop, rock, dub-step and drum-n-bass.
It’s midday and muted sunshine is beaming into Gateshead’s Broadwater Studios which is clearly in heavy use – empty cups of coffee and cans of energy drink litter the floor while in the background, producer Paul Worthington is hunched over a computer and mixing desk, working on a piano-driven track punctuated by pulsing synths.
Sat around the couch in the foreground are Lloyd Joyce and Adam Penman, founder members of Plecdrum.Inc. The lads have clearly been working hard and are three hours into their latest day of work on their soon-to-be released debut-album Jangled Nerves. Lloyd’s got a sore throat;“I’m not sure I’m going to sing today… I don’t normally sound like Bonnie Tyler” but he and Adam are more than happy to have a break and field questions about all-things Plecdrum.Inc.
How did you guys meet?
Lloyd: “We met on January 1, 2012 at a New Years Eve party, we started jamming along and Adam started rapping over my guitar, I think it was Stan by Eminem, and it worked, so we started to meet up more and more often, started writing our own songs, and we thought this sounds great so we headed over here to record a few tracks and went from there.”
So what’s this track we can hear in the background?
Lloyd: “This track is called This is our Time.”
Adam: “It’s about leaving everything behind… the life of drugs and partying and leaving it behind to do the music, to leave all the negatives behind and to focus on the positives.”
Is this your “You need me, I don’t need you?” [Ed Sheeran track about his then unsigned-relationship with the recording industry]
Lloyd: “Basically yeah.”
Tell us a bit more about the album Jangled Nerves, it’s been a few years in the making?
Adam: “Jangled nerves is a side-effect of drinking too many energy drinks, this our side-effect; a full album.”
Lloyd: “It’s had a longer build-up than the Olympic Games in London.”
Adam: “We’ve got 2 more tracks to record. There’s 13 songs on the album, 12 original, one cover with a twist… it’s really costly recording an album but we’re really close to finishing it.”
Love Monster was the single which put you on the map, it’s had 14,000 views on Youtube, it’s pretty dark isn’t it?
Lloyd: “It’s about a female who wants to tear your heart out and stamp-all-over-it and then move on to the next one. It’s all about a personal experience I had – rather than cry about it and listen to James Blunt I thought I’d write a song about it.”
Adam: “I don’t just speak about a woman, I speak about me dad as well – how my mother told us not to be like him because he use to hit women. I mention a lot of stuff like that in the song. It’s pretty wild that song, I didn’t hold anything back. That’s what we want everyone to know, we don’t hold back. If people don’t like swearing in our songs they…”
Lloyd: “…can go listen to Will Smith!”
Adam: “We make music that we want to hear, that we want to do and our fans love it.”
Lloyd: “I’m not bothered about being on Sun FM [Sunderland commercial radio station], I’d rather feel right knowing I wrote the song my way.”
Adam: “People don’t feel it if you don’t put your anger and emotion and swear-words and the way you actually talk in real life…if you don’t get that message across then they won’t feel it.”
Lloyd: “It’ll not be real, life isn’t like clouds and marshmallows and fluffy kittens, life is pap sometimes.”
Let’s talk about another single you’ve released on iTunes; Oh My Days, a pretty extreme break-up situation…
Lloyd: “I wrote this song with Callum Gilley out of Shortside Avenue [Sunderland / Durham punk / heavy rock band], he wrote the lead guitar on it and I came up with this catchy chorus; “oh my days, where are they going?” That song funnily enough isn’t about any of my break-ups in particular, it’s about them in general. I called it Oh My Days because as soon as I heard Callum’s riff I said “Oh my days!”… It’s my favourite song to sing and Adam’s rap on it is so raw and angry.”
Adam: “It was already pre-written, I already had them lyrics from years ago, and when they were playing that song at the practice I just thought it would fit perfect over that lead guitar so I just spat them out and the lads were like “that its.. record it” So we nailed it in one recording session.”
Oh My Days goes into this drum-n-bass crescendo at the end, where did you get that idea to go from a hip-hop/rock sound into that?
Adam: “We listen to a lot of Chase and Status. We listen to a lot of different genres, we listen to everything. Old music, Queen, Plan B, Eminem, we’ve got that much music going through our heads, we’re like; “lets just mix it up.”
Lloyd: “Funnily enough Chase and status have just re-tweeted one of my videos on Twitter, a cover of Time by Chase and Status and Delilah and commented on it saying “great voice” and retweeted it.”
You started off as a duo, then summer last year you realised you wanted more…
Lloyd: “I felt we needed more, cos’ we were playing gigs and it was just the two of us, and don’t get me wrong, people still loved us, but I thought; “imagine how much better it would be if we had something extra behind the guitar, some beats, some bass.”
Adam: “We’ve got the bassist, we’ve got the beatboxer [Ben Walker], we’ve got the acoustic guitar…we’re trying to be different, trying to mix it up.”
And your latest addition to the line-up appears to be Lauren [Douglas]?
Lloyd: “She’s helping us out with vocals, she got a decent voice. I love having Lauren in the band, she’s a laugh.”
You’ve got these amazing videos on Youtube, everyone’s loving them. James Walker has done a video for you [Love Monster] is there anybody else helping out with them?
Lloyd: “We recently started working with these Chinese students; Ricky Chan, Yuan, honestly, really, really talented guys. They saw us busking in a subway in Sunderland and said they wanted to work with us… they’ve done our next music video for By the End of the Night, our next single we’re going to release.”
Adam: “It took them 4-hours [!] to edit the video and it’s really good”
Plecdrum.Inc are headlining Independent, Sunderland on Friday 29 May. Doors 8pm, Tickets £3.50 Advance on seetickets.com or £5 on the door.