DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Plaza | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to Doorstep Interview, where we find out more about the amazing bands and artists we have right here in the north east. This time, Bradley Lennard from Plaza tells us more about the Hartlepudlians’ latest plans and reigning in one of their members…

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?

Hey, we’re PLAZA and we’re from Hartlepool. We’re Bolo, Dawks, Will and two Matthews.

What inspired you to first start making music?

I guess there’s a lot of reasons behind inspiration and why it kind of makes you want to start making music. There’s loads of reasons behind it for us from being forced into playing piano from a young age to being bored and trying to keep ourselves occupied. I mean as a band we have only been making music together for around eight or nine months and the reason we got together was out of some kind of boredom. Bolo and Dawks were writing together for a while and then we got together with the other lads to then form PLAZA. Also, we’re all into the same stuff varying from bands like colour or tangled hair to bands like Blaenavon, for example.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

Influences range from all sorts of various day to day things. Musically we’re all probably around and about the same page: Colour, The Smiths, DIIV, King Krule, JAWS… that kinda thing. As for someone on the outside they may not hear this in our music, but I mean, we listen to these bands and style of music, so they’re bound to crop up somewhere within our music, right?

How would you describe your sound?

Oh this question… Alt-Rock. We have three guitars, with one of the guitars spreading ambience around the rest of us. Mathy influences, that show up here and there, then just drench everything in reverb to top it all off. Not shoegaze.

“I guess there’s a lot of reasons behind inspiration and why it kind of makes you want to start making music”

Where do you see yourselves fitting into the local music scene?

Our scene is different. It comes and goes. We’re from Hartlepool where there will be a massive hype about something and everyone’s loving it, then it’ll die down and then pick back up again. It’s a real weird one. We’ve started to hang around Newcastle a lot more, meeting people up here and talking to bands. We have been to a few of the Generator Seminars which are awesome to gather information and meet people. I’m unsure about being classed in the Newcastle scene; we’re somewhere in the middle, like a loved grandchild who gets treat by mom and grandma, we hope.

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by Plaza?

You often get asked the question about preferring recording or playing live. For me personally, you can do so much in the studio, it’s endless, but there’s nothing like playing live and expressing yourself to people watching with just what you have in front of you. We tend to go a bit wild on stage, which often ends with Bolo’s guitar smashing into Dawks’ head or something. We love the intimate gigs and getting in with the crowd. I think the bond between us and the crowd is very important and holds everything to the performance. I mean, there cannot be anything fun about seeing the crowd turn their backs to go and smoke a Marlboro Red outside, surely?

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?

We are playing with Para Alta and Parisian Youth Culture at Head of Steam on Friday, then over the summer I think we’re keeping on the down low a little so we can sort ourselves out, get some recording done and figure out what we’re going to do in the future. To be honest, we have a solid idea at the minute, just going to get things in order and make ensure we’re doing the right thing that we want. Just maybe playing some festivals over the summer and we’re also going to be going on tour in October, if that counts as the near future.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a band?

Taming Dawks. He was a right character when we first grappled him in. Releasing our EP, featuring on some real cool blogs and interviews. Also, coming together to understand each other and knowing what we all want, what we plan to do and how we’re going to accomplish these things. We might have a new big achievement after the summer… Who knows?

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?

Not really. We’re all really enjoying it and we’ve grasped the aspect of what we want and how we’re going to go by and carry out things. The biggest challenge that we’ve probably come across is trying to decide what songs we want to put out there as we had to pick from a few for the EP, and you know, you can’t please everyone!

What else have you got planned for the future?

Tour, festivals, writing, recording, more writing, more recording… we’re going to bring a single out at some point towards the back end of the year and really just getting ourselves out there so more people can recognise our music!

Plaza play alongside Para Alta and Parisian Youth Culture at the Head of Steam, Newcastle on Friday 29th May.

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