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

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This month Hartlepudlian indie band PLAZA are set to release their long-awaited debut LP, A Different State of Mind, an atmospheric bookend of their long-loved alt. indie sound produced from the latter half of the last decade to the present day.

When I listen back to the songs now, the lyrics feel as though they’ve fallen into place.” Says the four-piece’s guitarist, Will. This sentiment serves as a reminder that tracks such as Blood Orange and Totem were initially released in 2016, and that this album serves as a kind of “closing of the chapter” of the initial part of the band’s career as a passion project of sorts before they’re able to move forward.

A duo of EPs and a small collection of singles released before 2019 detail their musical direction, filled with post-indie catharsis and detailed instrumentation which carry directly into their latest release, something Will described as essential to the PLAZA sound. “There’s little intricate parts that feature quite heavily in the more mathy, jazzy stuff that we listen to. I like to think, without sounding pretentious, that we’re a bit of a musician’s band.”

Prior to the release of this new record, a hiatus had almost stunted the growth of their debut as the members took some time apart to prioritise growing up. “Between 2016 and 2019 we were super active, gigging lots, recording lots, touring lots, having a generally really good time. And then slightly usual industry stuff, travelling down to London to meet A&R people and label reps, and getting paid £50 to go and play a show with the promise that someone with a bit of crack was going to come down and see you. We got let down so many times that it became like ‘why are we torturing ourselves here?’

When I listen back to the songs now, the lyrics feel as though they’ve fallen into place

It was at the detriment of our friendships at one point.” Will says candidly. “We’re all getting to that stage in our lives where there’s bills to pay and dogs to feed; music wasn’t subsidising that any more so we had to find industries that suited us. Instead of the career prospect that we thought it was when it first started, it became more of a hobby, but a fun one that has loads of history behind it.”

The tone of friendship has long been a feature of the band’s chemistry, and all being natives of a small Hartlepool music scene, they have grown together and reformed to celebrate music in a more freeing sense. The album details how the band began musically, and how experience has shaped them, with strong instrumentation supporting emotionally-charged lyricism which holds genuine meaning for the band members.

With the album released on 9th February, and a live show at The Grove in Newcastle to mark the occasion, the industry missteps and musical advents have all come to a head, and there’s plenty to look forward to from the band. “What we’re gonna do is go away and write album number two. We’ve started making demos. Hopefully it doesn’t take five years to come out.”

PLAZA launch A Different State of Mind at The Grove, Newcastle on Friday 9th February.


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