Plini’s Electric Sunrise in India
The Australian guitarist talks about collaborations, touring the world and future plans
In 2016, the grind and extreme metal-loving crowd at Brutal Assault in Czech Republic showed their love for Aussie prog guitarist Plini in their own special way–they pranced around to make one of the happiest moshpits you’ll ever see, befitting for the smooth, starry and soulful instrumental music his band plays.
The Sydney-based guitarist, whose full name is Plini Roessler-Holgate, laughs over the phone as soon as Brutal Assault is mentioned. He says, “There are some cities where the crowds are naturally more energetic, but it’s never got to that sort of extreme level.” He’s quick to mention that he’s looking forward to his set at Vh1 Supersonic in Pune on February 11th, fully well-versed with its electronic music-leaning beginnings. He says, “It’ll be interesting even at Supersonic, I think, because until this year, it’s always been an electronic festival. So that’ll be interesting, maybe everyone will be raving.”
The 25-year-old Plini, who has a degree in architecture, has been releasing music since 2013, infusing the world of prog and metal with glimmering virtuoso fretwork, djent patterns as well as cinematic synth. One of his singles, “Atlas” (2014) surprisingly sounds like it was influenced by Carnatic scales. Plini says it’s “totally accidental,” but adds, “If that’s how you interpret it, that’s cool. I’d love to incorporate more music from the world, but I think the best way to do that is to let it happen accidentally. If you hear someone trying to make something that sounds Indian, it’s probably going to sound completely cheesy and fake.”
Earning praise from the likes of Steve Vai (who called the 2016 album Handmade Cities “one of the finest forward thinking guitar records” he’s heard) and working with ace drummer Marco Minnemann (on the 2015 EP The End of Everything), Plini’s India connection also includes adding a solo on Indian American prog band Skyharbor’s 2014 album Guiding Lights. He’s now getting ready to set foot in India, with a four-city tour by event and artist company BlueTree that includes Pune, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and New Delhi between February 9th and 14th. “I’m actually really excited because I think the promoter is going to get different local artists at each show,” Plini says.
He’ll also be joined by Serbian composer-guitarist David Maxim Micic, known as a rising star in the prog world for his brilliant albums. Plini and Micic have previously toured together last year. Joint tours are something that the former seems to have an affinity for. Two years ago, Plini and Intervals announced a tour together across the U.S.–one in which the guitarist shared the stage with the Canandian prog metallers to perform their repertoire, followed by the band performing Plini’s material. He explains why: “I love it, I guess because I started off writing all the music by myself. It was kind of just me alone in a room with a computer and a guitar. I did that for so long even before I played live. Even when I started playing live with other people. That was a really exciting and different situation.”
Of course, it’s a double win when fans can hear material from both, Plini and Micic in one night. For someone who says he was never in a band, the pairing is also a chance to tour as extensively as possible. Certainly not the easiest to sort out in terms of financials and logistics, Plini says he takes a simple evaluation of every tour offer that’s on the table. “The way I make all my decisions is basically, ‘Is this going to be fun? Is this going to enhance my life?’ If so, then I’ll do it regardless of whether or not I can make more money somewhere else,” he says.
After the India tour, there’s an additional show in Kathmandu, followed by a break before a Europe visit that includes a return to Brutal Assault festival. He says, “I’ve always found any excuse possible to go somewhere I haven’t been before. So playing live is kind of the perfect excuse, because I can pretend that it’s work. I would’ve wanted to go to India sooner or later anyway, but this is kind of the best opportunity.” Would he ever go back to being just a bedroom producer? Plini says, “Maybe later in life, I’ll be old and angry and I’ll just want to stay home.”
Watch the moshpit prance around while Plini performed at Brutal Assault in 2016 below: