Damnably caught up with Veronika and Julia from Plaided.
Your debut album sounds great and is getting radio play in the UK on Tom(Ravenscroft BBC 6 Music) and Ruth’s(Barnes Amazing Radio) shows right now,
How did you meet and form Plaided?
J: In 2005 we were involved in organizing the second Ladyfest in Vienna – a queer-feminist festival, which had quite an impact on our lives as we formed our first band called Ilsebill together with our friend Alena. About 4 years later Plaided was reduced to only the two of us, but raising the sound to another level, somehow.
V: It was a really an inspiring time for us. There were so many awesome people involved and we saw a lot of cool performers and bands, and couldn`t help but starting a band of our own, although we weren`t able to play any instruments back then. Thinking of it now the ladyfests in Vienna were more punk then any other local scene I knew. And with punk I mean not a style, but an approach to make music and to organize concerts, debates and a lot of other stuff.
What’s the name about? Is it Mike Watt derived?
V: It definitely is. Our first band was called “ilsebill” and we were wearing plaid shirts all the time. Just like mike watt. So there is also a nostalgic reference to our first band and to mike watt.
J: And the name is also short for ‘People lying around in dirt every day(7′ EP)’.
Where did you record the album and what’s the secret to the vocal sound and huge guitar sound you have live?
V: We recorded our album in Graz (the second biggest city in Austria) with our friend Wolfgang Möstl. He is this really nice multitask person who has that feeling for music that we like. His Band which is called Mile me Deaf recently released an awesome record, and he is also playing in Sex Jams and Killed by 9 volt Batteries. As we were friends because of sharing the stage at some concerts and our label fettkakao, we asked him if he would record the songs with us. And he agreed with a smile.
It definitely was a good decision, we really liked the recording days, even when it was a bit stressful sometimes, cause we had only 4days for the whole record.
And the live sound is a mixture of using both bass and guitar amp for the guitar and this vocal effect pedal which doubles my voice.
I think it all came out of the desire to be loud, although we were only two people on stage for some while.
What’s the scene like in Vienna? From what Andi Fettkako says it sounds like a vegan riot grrrl sort of collective happening?
J: There is definitely a nice little scene developing, circling around feminist activists, musicians, new independent labels and generally a lot of people somehow involved in making music, putting up shows, making videos, baking cakes, demanding new spaces and having a political claim also.
V: I agree. There are so many good bands and labels right now in Vienna and I also have the feeling that it is not only about music, but there are connections between different scenes and everything feels pretty supportive.
What do you do as day jobs and who is your bassist extra member that you have live sometimes?
V: Julia works in a wood workshop, builds tables and repairs wooden things for a living. I just got unemployed. Before I was working in an historic library, but at the moment my half-day job is organizing the girls rock camp close to Vienna.
J: Our part-time bassist is a good friend of ours, sushila mesquita, who is a queer theoretician and she played bass in various bands before, we do hope very much, that she’ll play with us more often, but time is a problem there.
V: Yes sushila is a bad ass bass player and also very clever, she recently released an academic book which is called “ban marriage” and deals with Ambivalences of normalization from a queer-feminist perspective.
How do you work as a band? you swap between guitar and drums and vocals, do you both write the songs?
J: The swapping of instruments is very important to us, even if it seems easier sometimes to stick with one instrument. I am more on the drums at the moment, veronika also spends time outside of the rehearsal room with her guitar and mostly writes the songs and lyrics.
V: But sometimes the songs also just come up when we are jamming in our cosy rehearsal room.
When we started making music together, we could not play anything at all, so everyone tried out everything. I sometimes get bored, when I spend too much time with only one instrument, but sticking with it sometimes means more development…. I like that we still switch from time to time…and I also really enjoyed writing bass-lines for the album.
Do you have any tours coming up?
J: We are going to New York, Philadelphia and the US- west Coast in september, a project we are working on for quite some time now, Andi Fettkakao and our close friend and filmmaker Cordula Thym will come along. We are still trying to fill the gaps between our shows with more concerts, but it’s looking good so far!
V: And in November we are planning to do a tour with our friends “just friends and lovers” through Austria and Germany.
Your video was really well made and quirky like a Gondry film-which film makers do you like and will you do more videos?
V: The video of “oh my dog” was made by Nick Prokesch and Liesa Kovacs with the help of a lot nice friends. The cool thing was that it was done without any cutting, so everyone had to rehearse a little performance, which we had to repeat, till it was perfect.
J: We are also planning another video with Nick and Liesa in Autumn, and we did one video with our friend Tomash Schoiswohl for the song “Matzleinsdorferplatz”, which is at the moment being cut and finished by Veronika. So there’s more quirkyness coming soon!
I know you are fans of Shannon Wright, Julie Doiron, Dog Day and Shonen Knife. Who else do you like?
J: We both are big fans of Scout Niblett and Screaming Females and Karl Blau for example, but also enjoyed the Black Sabbath concert a couple of weeks ago. In October we will play with Deep Time in the Arena in Vienna, which we are really looking forward cause we are listening to their music a lot at the moment.
V: There are so many bands and musicians we like and who inspire us, it doesn’t have to be a genre, but if a band or muscician has something to say or transport a feeling which catches me, I get very happy.
I also love going to live shows so I definitely look forward to the USA to see Grass Widow again, or thinking of our last visit to London where we became a fan of slowgun and remained fans of versus.
I read that Austria had 4% unemployment which looked to be the lowest in europe, is your country doing well in these
difficult times and what is the atmosphere there?
J: I wouldn’t rely on that number, because it does not include all those unemployed people being forced into some senseless and brainwashing “trainings” by the austrian unemployment department. At the moment it is also quite “funny” how the super corrupt system of the “black-blue-Era” from 2001, where the conservative party formed a government with the extrem-right party, comes to the surface bit by bit. A lot of money was stolen and now heads are finally starting to roll.
V: Yes this trainings are simply humiliating and just knock down your creativity and speaking from our own experience, it is also quiet hard for young academics to find jobs that somehow adequate their education. I have the feeling that there is not a great tradition including social scientist in Austrians society.
What sort of questions are you getting asked from local press about your album and do you sing in German as well?
V: Actually the press is feedback is really nice, there were charming reviews in big Austrian newspapers and we also did some radio interviews. The questions are different, depend on the interviewer 😉 – And no we only sing in English.
Anything you want to achieve as a band this year?
V: Continuing having fun while making music and getting in touch with interesting people on our little tours through the USA and Europe.
J: Well, the US-Tour is quite a big thing for us, and I guess it would be a great success if there’s a friendly crowd coming to those concerts to have a good time with us!!