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Force Fields

Force Fields

Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
Wednesday 30th May, 2012 8:29AM

Force Fields have been working on a new EP and have established a musical collective in Wellington called Wolf Gang. UTR caught up with Matty Plumski to chat about what they've been up to, what direction their sound is taking at the moment and why they've formed Wolf Gang.

What has Force Fields been up to?

We’ve been gigging and practicing, arranging songs, making predictions about the new Anchorman film, drinking beer and whiskey. You know, the usual band stuff.

In terms of writing and recording, what have you been working on and what direction is your sound heading down?

Our new EP takes a more direct, stripped back approach, it's a more honest representation of our live sound. Our previous album had a lot of layers added in post-production, and although we’re still working on our latest recording it seems like it’s going to end up being much more immediate. In saying that our live sound is already pretty layered and effects-driven.

People usually talk about influences in a general sense, and I think it’s easy to forget that the biggest influences are often the people you make music with. Speaking for myself this is true. So following that line, one of the biggest factors shaping the direction of our latest recording is the arrival of our current drummer, Matt Jeyes. He’s brought a new dimension to our playing, another set of ears to scrutinise the tracks, and a different set of tastes to accommodate.

You guys have been mainstays of the Wellington music scene for a while now. The Wellington music scene has gone through quite a transformation over the last couple of years no? From your point of view, how has the Wellington music scene changed?

It’s a tough time for music venues at the moment, and it’s been sad to see the demise of The Watusi, Fred’s and Happy. Wellington continues to churn out exciting new bands, and it’s a shame that there just aren’t enough places around to showcase them all.

How do you find the New Zealand music scene more generally at the moment, considering it's NZ Music Month?

I think it’s a best of times, worst of times scenario: a lot of promising acts are emerging alongside a lot of generic dross. Personally it’s been exciting to see a band like Sherpa, who we played with last year, take it to the next level on the back of a great album, Lesser Flamingo.

NZ Music Month seems a much more low key affair these days, or maybe it’s just that my access to traditional media is limited. Other than a few stands selling hoodies and tees in stores I probably wouldn’t have noticed, to be honest, although the brand is so entrenched that I do automatically equate May with New Zealand music.

Do you think the New Zealand music industry is supportive of young and emerging talent? Tell us a little bit about your experience with the industry.

There seems to be very little in the way of an established music industry in Wellington. Bands that have been successful have tended to do it largely on their own - Fat Freddy’s Drop and Beastwars come to mind. There’s a support layer of booking agents and managers that’s pretty much unknown to many local bands, and this is a shame, but also probably inevitable when you have so many acts in a small country. In saying that, the 'Going Places' seminar - which was put on last year as part of the Real New Zealand festival and featured a number of industry insiders - was a great way to educate a number of bands about industry expectations in one go (plus the showcase afterwards was sweet because we got to see Matt drum for Beastwars).

You're playing with a bunch of musicians who collectively use the moniker Wolf Gang. Tell us a little bit about this collective: how it came together, why have you decided to play like this.

The progression to a collective from a number of disparate projects was pretty organic. The eight musicians that comprise Wolf Gang are all friends, and between us we have five projects on the boil. Matt Jeyes is the common link, playing drums in all the acts. The idea of a co-op or collective just made sense, so we’ve pooled our resources together with the common goal of getting our music noticed and out there. Although many of the same musicians play in the various Wolf Gang bands, each act is based around a different songwriter, and consequently the sonic and dynamic range of the collective is pretty impressive.

What are you guys working on in 2012?

There’s been talk of a South Island tour towards summer, but prior to that we have our sophomore EP, Inversions, to finish up and release. Also they'll hopefully be a few more Wolf Gang ventures coming up,including a live in the studio video (a l a Radiohead's Live From The Basement), and maybe even a showcase featuring all five acts.

Who are your favourite Wellington or New Zealand artists at the moment?

Sunken Seas, The Shocking and Stunning, Spook the Horses, Sherpa – all the bands beginning with ‘S’ really. And of course, the other members of the Wolf Gang: Emily Fairlight, Captain Sergeant Major, Minnelli and Sky Village.

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