Plaice‘s slow approach to the music industry has, it seems, largely been about self-exploration and self-expression. Adam Browne was formerly part of Autumn Owls, and since branching out on his own, has largely been exploring DIY-style recordings, that deal with his own emotions.
Along the way, he’s set up a record label, Sad Songs, which he hopes to expand to other artists, and slowly shaped a slightly dingy niche. I asked him all about it…
Tell me a little bit about Plaice – you seem to be doing quite a bit of hopping around between genres?
I don’t think my sound strays too far from the sum of my influences. There might be electronic moments here and there sprinkled with more acoustic/ lo-fi based work, but if you step back and take it all in as a complete body of work, there’s some common blood flowing through it all, mainly, melancholy.
How different have you found solo work to your time in Autumn Owls?
Being part of Autumn Owls was some of the best years of my life. Every kid should be in a band at some point, it’s brilliant craic. You just don’t get that with solo work.
Working alone can be incredibly soul destroying. You generally don’t have anyone to reassure you that what you’re doing is good and worthwhile, so you live in this constant state of paranoia and fear that you’re a complete failure, which is true for the most part. However, the sense of accomplishment from having created something entirely on your own, and seeing it through to completion, is an amazing feeling.
The process behind Planar En Plain Air seems to have been an interesting one. How did you gather your fragments and samples to build it?
The majority of material on the EP was cobbled together from demos and ideas I had for my upcoming album, Losses. Most of this stuff didn’t quite fit with the album tracks, so I decided a few weeks ago to release them as an EP.
I had to flesh out some of the tracks but the majority were just sitting on my hard drive and needed a little bit of love and care. It’s a very last minute thing and I didn’t have the money or time to get it mixed or mastered professionally, so the overall quality might not be up to scratch, but I think it works ok as a small collection of tracks regardless of fidelity.
What can we expect from Losses in July?
Losses is a collection of songs that try to make sense of a traumatic event from multiple perspectives. It’s about one single thing that happened that changed the course of our lives. I guess the album is my attempt at accepting and coming to terms with it.
When I started demoing for it in 2017, it was my way of tuning out the real world and dialling into another place. It’s very personal and dark, so I expect it to be a tough listen for some people as it deals with the same themes throughout, but also, you have to listen to me try to sing for 30 minutes. The sound of the album is very much a combination of my first release, Folklet i, and the new EP: mixing electronic elements with guitars, bass and live drums.
What’s been your favourite moment as Plaice so far?
Releasing the first batch of songs, Folklet i, was a big moment for me. Just finishing something felt good, even if the album was only 10 minutes long. It felt like I’d broken through this wall of stagnation. And then we had a kid…
You’re releasing two different things quite close together, around now and in July. Is music coming to you more rapidly now?
Not necessarily, I went through a productive phase in 2018 where the seeds of a lot of what I’m doing now were sown. Losses was actually finished this time last year, and I’m only now getting around to releasing it. I had a productive phase at the start of this year and managed to write the demos for the follow-up to Losses, but ever since lockdown I’ve found it hard to create new stuff to be honest.
Can you tell me the thinking behind ‘Sad Songs’ and exploring the label route? Are you hoping that will help get your name and others out there?
I decided not to go through the process of trying to get signed to another label. It takes a lot of stress and worry out of the equation. Couple that with the fact that you’re more likely to get played and paid if your PR is coming from a label, it just made sense to me to create my own.
Having said that, I do want to explore working with other artists. Money and time are a major issue, but there are low-cost ways to do it now, and I have some goals for 2021 that I’m working towards which might help the label grow a bit.
Has the shutdown impacted you much so far?
Not really. I don’t play live and I wasn’t earning anything from my one release so far, so there’s been no change in that regard. I was just about to start tracking drums and loud stuff for the next album, so that’s not happening now with all the rehearsal rooms closed. The result is a lot of kitchen recordings with washing machines and fridges humming in the background.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope I can continue to make and release music as Plaice if the energy is there. I’d love to grow the label to include some other artists and see how that goes. Other than that, for life to return back to relative normality and for people to be safe and happy.