Monday, May 4, 2009

Interview: Planet Earth

We've been enjoying the debut single from Planet Earth - "Bergman Movies" - which we reviewed in March. The duo of Sam Lewis and Nick Olorenshaw play jangly lo-fi indie pop with quirky lyrics reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian and Daniel Johnston. The UK outfit has London shows scheduled throughout the summer, and we hope to catch them in the states sometime. In the meantime, Sam Lewis was kind enough to answer some of our questions...

How did the band originally come together?
Me and Nick met at University in Manchester. Now we play with Anna, who also sings in a band called The Middle Ones, and Kate, who used to play in a French band called Ladybird. I met them both through their other bands.

What are your influences - anything that might be surprising?
Well, I'm influenced by songwriters like Kyle Field, Dave Tattersall and Bob Dylan. I'm also influenced by the comics of Michel Rabagliati and Dupuy & Beberian, artists that have an honest, funny and beautiful outlook on the world. I also like music from Ethiopia, and Brazil, and the music made by people I know.

What has been your process of writing songs?
I generally try to find a good chord progression and then fit in words around that framework.

Your first single came out on a 7" - there does seem to be a trend of bands doing that again. What made you want to do a 7" and have you noticed attention from it?
I think just doing a 7" is a good way to start as a band; when you're trying to build a fanbase it's obviously important to try and have a relationship with the people that like your music. In a world where people can copy and send mp3s instantly, limited release vinyl and handmade cdrs are a good way of doing that I think. Whether or not it's resulted in any extra attention for us is hard to say.

There's an ironic humor to your songs - what does that stem from?
I guess my ironic sense of humour! I like songs that don't take themselves too seriously.

Are you real film fanatics - if so, what are some of your favorite films?
I do like films, yes! Obviously I like the films of Ingmar Bergman. I also like Werner Herzog, the Marx Brothers, Wong Kar Wai and David Lynch.

What excites you about music today - both other bands and anything else (the internet, vinyl, etc)?
I think that the internet has produced huge possibilities for musicians to make and advertise their music in a way that hasn't been possible before. But I think no one's quite worked out yet how, now that cds don't make money, bands can make a proper living. So I guess it's both exciting and a little scary.

Is a more lo-fi sound a conscious choice?

It is, yes. I like art where the actual process of production can be
seen/heard/felt. It makes it more accessible I think, easier to relate
to. Not that I don't like shiny things too. But they're not as much fun
to make.

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