Interview: Plane Crasher

Lock up your Tube Amps… It’s PLANE CRASHER!!

Described by Terrorizer Magazine as “a Wild fusion of The Jesus Lizard, The Ramones and Shellac”… Hereford noise merchants Plane Crasher are keeping the spirit of playing REALLY FUCKING LOUD alive and well out in a damp corner of middle England. DIY to the core, with a triple single, a live release and a six-track studio EP under their belts, if you like your punk super-analogue, super-heavy and Steve Albini-filthy, then these boys deserve your attention.

Edward Ling asked the questions, answers supplied by a gestalt entity of the whole band (Edd Tipton – Guitar & Vocals, Matt Rees – Guitar, Ben Davies – Bass, Rich Allen – Drums) and channelled by Rich. Who happens to look an an awful lot like a young Iggy Pop.

So… It appears from that Facetube that you’ve been recording some new material… how’s it all going? A bold new direction into acoustic folk the offing?

Yeah, we recorded some demos in October at our drummer’s house with a view to go into the studio in April. Don’t ask us for a release date though – that’s way too hard a question. Musically it’s probably going to be a bit slower than what most people have come to expect from us, at least in parts. We’re trying to avoid repeating ourselves where possible, and bringing the tempo down a bit gives us way more space to explore new ideas. We’re still writing for it though so we’re bound to change our minds a few more times before we record. Whatever the case, it’s going to be noisy. Noisy acoustic folk.

The Welsh Marches are not widely celebrated as a harsh spawning ground for edgy, underground punk. Though maybe with the exception of T’Pau and that band that did that song about Breakfast at Tiffanys. How do you find it plying a trade of cataclysmic krunk and chugging – so very far from the bright lights of western civilisation?

We get asked to turn down quite a lot. In a decent sized city (or any decent venue) nobody bats an eyelid at a band all using tube amps through half-stacks, but by the reaction we get from some sound guys around here, you’d think they’d never seen a 4×12 before. We had the power turned off on us half-way through the set at a gig for ‘Malvern Rocks’ festival this year. Evidently whoever booked us hadn’t checked out the band at all, and put us on at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon, opening for some acoustic jazz folk bands. You get the idea…
The whole ‘networking’ game can be pretty difficult when you’re from around here – try offering a band from London or Birmingham a gig swap in Hereford! All that said, the lack of similar bands can often be really rewarding. When you’re playing shows with such varied lineups you get to see and make friends with great bands you’d never normally dream of checking out.

I was being facetious there, by the way. There does seem to be something of a “scene” sending out a few shoots recently in the Hereford and Worcester locale of late… Has this always been there, growling away amongst the apple farms, monumental ecclesiastical architecture, blue remembered hills and childhood home of Fred West – or is something new building?

There’s always been people making heavy, noisy music around these parts. The rise and fall of the ‘scene’ seems to be mostly reliant on the presence of (or lack-of) an audience. Any musician with a scrap of integrity will keep doing ‘their thing’, because it’s what they enjoy doing, regardless of whether anyone pats their backs or not. Shred Perry is the only promoter who seems to be putting on heavy/alternative shows worth playing or attending in Hereford. We’ve recently started playing Worcester quite a bit and there’s a really good crowd over there – big shout out to Tone Monster Promotions and Embrace the Chaos, who are both putting on tons or great gigs right now.

Genres can be a bit troublesome. A good way for the music industry and press to either sell or write off new bands, some say – but also a way of knowing where a band is coming from and a good guide for new fans… How would you define your sound – if at all?

No band likes to be pigeonholed. Well, at least, not any bands worth listening to. Never trust a band that openly and deliberately categorises themselves. More often than not they’re just repeating clichés from that genre, which generally means they’re going to suck. We’ve been described as all kinds of things, from “stoner rock” to “driving speed-metal”. “Heavy punk” seemed to fit the bill quite well. For the benefit of potential fans, when we have to, we usually describe ourselves as “alternative noise rock” or something similar. “Loud” always helps too.

Social Media, platforms like Bandcamp and Soundcloud and the cottage industry pressing vinyl in greater volume than ever does seem to be make it easier for serious DIY outfits to get their stuff out there, either digitally or physically. What’s your experience of doing it yourselves in this brave, new age? Any too good to be true offers from “labels” tempting you away from DIY?

While the whole social media thing is undeniably useful for building and maintaining a fan-base, as far as record sales go 99% of it so far has been at shows, plus a few through record shops & distros. The best way to get yourselves out there is to get yourselves out there (i.e. playing gigs).
We haven’t been approached by any labels – most labels don’t really offer us anything we can’t do ourselves anyway. Maybe a big stack of cash. That would be nice. If a label offered us money to do what we do already we’d consider it. But they haven’t yet. And they probably won’t.

While we’re on this kick… for a garage band you work up a well-produced sound – who’s the sound geek? And you seem to be using the microphone in the lav trick for the demos, from what I hear…

We’re all the sound geek! All of us have plenty of sound engineering experience, we know what sounds good and how to get it and we’re all massive control freaks, so DIY is for us the way to get the best results. It’s much harder to keep your vision pure on a major label. Look at Elvis, he died on his toilet trying to perfect his vocal sound.

Beautiful. You clearly know you hardcore history – there’s a lot of Ginn, Albini, WM Sims going on in your stuff. Who do you think your influences are… And what do you listen to in the “van”?

If we had a van, we’d probably be listening to someone complain about the music that’s playing. We have a lot of common ground, most of which is pretty evident in the music, but there’s also a shit-ton of things we don’t agree on (clue – don’t mention the Beatles to Matt). We always bring our full backline to shows, so several vehicles is the only option. Edd’s car is usually mostly huge compilations of 50’s and 60’s music with the occasional Shellac song thrown in. Ben’s car is mainly host to noise and stoner-doom. Rich listens to free-jazz. On his own.

And to put you on the spot: Big Black or Black Flag?

Big Black. Black Flag are great but since Greg Ginn fucked it all up Big Black seem a lot more relevant.

Speaking of scenes and bands – Any bands currently playing really excite you right now – or that you want to give a shout?

We’re really enjoying the current offerings from Red Fang, Lamps and Pissed Jeans right now. Also, the latest Future of the Left album is a welcome return to form. As far as bands that we know/have played with, the following have the Plane Crasher seal of approval: Fetus Christ, New Cowboy Builders, Gag Reflex, Workin’ Man Noise Unit, Mansize, Evolution of Man, Grant National, Torpor, and Mangle.

New material aside, what’s next? Any plans to venture further afield to brutalise the bourgeoisie of the big cities here or abroad?

We’ve got an Ireland and Northern England tour booked for March 2014 (promoters – give us a shout, we still have a few gaps). We’re also putting together a UK tour next year with the aforementioned Evolution of Man, plus we have some dates with US band The Bismarck on their UK tour. We’ve had various offers of gigs in Europe but they’re all way too far apart to really justify a tour at this point. As far as England goes, we’ll play anywhere for petrol money and free lasagne.

Thanks guys – anything else we need to know about you or the fine cathedral city of Hereford before we go?

We’re supposed to be getting a Nando’s at some point, however at the time of writing we still don’t have a Burger King.

So there you go. Times are indeed hard on the road to Abergavenny.

You can find Plane Crasher in the ether at:

https://www.facebook.com/planecrasher

www.planecrasher.com

Or even better, catch ’em live.

This piece was also published in analogue ink and paper in Issue #25 of Lights Go Out – copies available at http://www.lightsgoout.co.uk/

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