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Interview: Pluto - Whanganui Walls Music Stage

Interview: Pluto - Whanganui Walls Music Stage

C.C. / Photo credit: Alexander Hallag - The Music is Talking / Wednesday 17th March, 2021 11:38AM

The weather's looking ace for this week's four day Whanganui Walls Street Art & Music Festival street art and music extravaganza, set to showcase a bevy of bands on the free, all ages Whanganui Walls Music Stage at Majestic Square on Saturday 20th March. Headlining a lineup of of guaranteed crowd pleasers from all throughout Aotearoa are recently reactivated alt-rockers Pluto, making a rare live appearance following their almighty comeback in 2019, which saw the release of the group's first album in over a decade IV. Splitting his duties between pounding skins for Pluto and Head Like A Hole, Whanganui-based drummer and tutor Michael Franklin-Browne generously squeezed in time to answer our rapid-fire Q&A, ahead of this weekend's musical shenanigans...

Whanganui Walls Music Stage
Featuring... Pluto, Raw Collective, SKILAA, DARTZ, Bad Hagrid, Licks, Damn Raucous Brass
Saturday 20th March - Majestic Square, Whanganui (1:30pm - 10pm)

Free, all-ages (all children must be supervised) — more info here

This weekend's performance at Whanganui Walls festival is a rare one. What can attendees look forward to from Pluto this Saturday? Do you have any personal connection with Whanganui?

Michael Franklin-Browne: We’ll play a mix of old songs and newer songs off the recent record, along with a couple of covers. Since the reunion we have been playing really well together and we’re all looking forward to playing this weekend.

I grew up in Whanganui and moved back here eight years ago with my family. We are very happy in Whanganui. It’s a great place!

The origins of Pluto's latest album IV are pretty wild. Milan (Borich) said the recordings from about a decade ago were thought to be lost forever, but they were discovered on a backup hard drive, and then worked up from there. What was it like revisiting those songs, and making them new?

When we first recorded the songs, I remember thinking that they would be Pluto’s best work and I was disappointed that we couldn’t finish the album. So, it was a real pleasure to revisit and complete what we started ten years ago. We have a renewed enthusiasm that is captured on the record.

Were you happy with how Pluto's return was received + how were your reunion shows in 2019?

The reunion / album release shows in Auckland and Wellington were epic! Such a nice feeling to play those songs again.

Is the Whanganui Walls fest performance a one-off for 2021, or do you have more gigs cooked up for the near future? Did Covid have any impact on Pluto's live show schedule?

We hopefully have a couple of other gigs lined up for later in the year, Covid permitting.

It was the week leading up to the Whanganui Walls festival; March 2020, when the country went into the first lockdown. The gig was, obviously, cancelled. It’s great to have the opportunity to play it again this year. As we play infrequently, Covid didn’t have a large impact on us. We made a lockdown video for the song 'Contact', which serves as a no-budget, non-contact reminder of the time.

On a related tip — have Pluto been working on any new material since the launch of IV? Can we look forward to a new Pluto album (eg. V) in 2029... or earlier?

There are a few new songs floating about, but no firm recording plans as yet. We will probably all use our new found online capabilities to start demoing up the new songs, and hopefully sneak something out before 2029.

Are you still playing with Head Like A Hole?

Yes, we had a great show late last year at Spark Arena for the Rock 2000!


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Whanganui Walls Street Art & Music Festival
Sat 20th Mar
Whanganui Walls Music Stage, Whanganui