While driving across Austria late on a spring evening I was listening to one of my favorite stations FM4 ORF to stay awake. Their Soundpark program was profiling a new group from Vienna called P.L.A.I.D.E.D. on the Fettkakao record label. A label I’ve long been fond of (Vortex Rex, Crazy Bitch In A Cave, Sex Jams etc…) Even mainstream rock is rare on the radio in Europe, so my tired ears perked right up. From the first chord I was held captive by the Viennese duo’s unique trance. Drawn out, effected vocals melodies complimented by complexly beautiful guitar work and unorthodox yet concise drumming. A week later, their new LP Playdate (Fettkakao) hadn’t left my headphones. In the spirit of that excitement I asked these young women a few questions about origin, politics and equipment for Tom Tom Magazine and this is what they had to say:
Tom Tom Magazine: Guten tag, wie geht’s? Wie heißt du?
P.L.A.I.D.E.D.: Danke gut! Wir heißen Julia Mitterbauer und Veronika Eberhart.
Woher kommst du?
Wir kommen aus Wien.
What inspired the name Plaided? Actually playing in dirt?
It is short for people lying around in dirt every day, and derives from a few things. With our first band ilsebill we used to perform wearing plaid shirts, just like Mike Watt , so it is kind of nostalgic and then there was this great movie about the girls rock camp in Portland, where some kids named their band p.l.a.i.d. – we sort of stole that.
Tell me about your previous group Ilsebill. How did your experience then help inform your actions now?
Ilsebill was our first band project together with Alena Pfoser. It was the most untroubled time of experimenting with all sorts of instruments and sounds, spending hours and days in the practice room, and making progress with every instrument by teaching each other – what we‘d found out. We recorded most of the rehearsals, so when listening to it now you can follow the development. By experimenting, we finally got to the sound we now have. In ilsebill we still used keyboards but since we are only two (now mostly with a 3rd person on bass) we mainly stuck to guitar and drums so the sound got somehow heavier than with ilsebill.
Plaided switches instruments and collaborates often. Do you still have a specific setup of the drums you like? Or is that thrown under the bus in the name of sharing.
We do have a specific setup, even though we got used to arranging with slightly different setups, it is like riding a bike you don‘t know. At the beginning it feels strange and awkward, but after a few blocks it seems perfectly normal to ride that bike. And we love to collaborate with various musicians/friends and switching instruments keeps up the challenge.
Speak a little about Fettkakao your label and the other great bands they promote. How did you get involved with them?
We are very happy to be part of the Fettkakao gang. Andi Dvorak, who runs Fettkakao, was always a supporter of our music. When we started ilsebill, he saw us playing live and asked us if we would release a 7inch on his label. We immediatly agreed and ever since then we’ve collaborated with him. Now he even plays bass from time to time with us at shows. We love Fettkakao because it unites great artists and musicians and connects people who do wonderful work and become friends. Andi also introduced us to Wolfgang Möstl, who plays in Mile me Deaf and Sex Jams, and who recorded our latest album. Another great band on his label is Just Friends and Lovers, they recently released a 7inch and we will tour with them this winter in Germany and Austria. Fettkakao doesn`t focus on a specific genre, but on people who like to collaborate and have ideas about their art. Besides music you find a lot of good visual art and recently sewing art. From the bottom of our hearts we recommend every single artist on Fettkakao.
How do you spend your days?
We are on tour in New York and on the Westcoast, so right now we spend them moving from one place to the next, meeting so many nice people. We get to listen to a lot of good music and spend a lot of money on records. Back in Vienna we will study, work, kiss, make music, dance, laugh, cry, and drink coffee again.
If you could work any where where would you work?
This question is so hard to answer, and the reason why we cannot finish this interview… Anywhere, if there is music and food and wood and water and people who like music food, wood, and water.
Your bio talks a little about organizing LadyFest. Are there any other female bands and or female drummers of interest in eastern Europe?
Ladyfest was a huge influence and inspiration for both of us, and very important for the Queer-DIY-Punkscene in Vienna. There are now a lot of bands with either female drummers or who are all-female, like First Fatal Kiss, Petra und der Wolf, Clara Luzia, Norah Noizzze and Band for instance. In Slovenia we once played with a Croatian band called Vlasta Popic with an incredible female drummer!
Are you political?
Sure. We are both involved in a queer-feminist scene and to us it is very important to choose the spaces where we play because of political contexts, like playing a solidarity-concert for local political groups. Also, the empowerment of young girls is very important to us, thererfore we do workshops and Veronika is involved in the girls rock camp of Vienna. The lyrics of our songs may not be explicitly political, there is no slogan to sing along, but they have a political intention, and address topics like sexism, violence and power.
Is there any drum gear you absolute dream of owning? Like the Strat from Wayne’s World…
We‘d rather have the 29-piece that Nick owns in Freaks and Geeks!
Any last words, thank yous, or specific instructions?
Thank you Tom Tom Magazine for existing!!
Interview by Ian Vanek