Plant Plants are East London based chums, Stuart Francis and Howard Whatley. Born from a love of weird guitar tunings, heavy beats and hip-hop, theirs is a sound which effortlessly combines electronica and eclectic imagery, leading to recent comparisons with the likes of Foals and Battles. Citing influences as varied as the Wickerman soundtrack, Wu Tang - the 36 chambers era and L.A. based producer Baths, it’s no surprise that their oddball melodic music, is causing waves amongst the blogosphere. 

I caught up with them before their recent show at the Notting Hill Arts Club.

Hi guys so you're playing a bit later on today, how are you feeling about it - excited?

Stu - Good.  It's good to play with our mates Drugg who are on the bill today as well.

So you know these guys from before?

Stu - Yeah good friends.

Howard - Max is my Brother, the drummer and Tom's an old friend so it's good.

I was reading before that you guys have been playing in bands for 4 or 5 years around London - are they guys you've done stuff in the past with?

Howard - Certainly for me, I was in bands with Max and Tom for years so it's great to be on the same bill.  First band with Stu though.

You've done a couple of gigs in the past few weeks - how have they gone down?

Stu - It's been really good to get out there and to play the songs live, as opposed to just playing it to ourselves - the response we've got has been pretty good.

I've read some good things about the shows and me myself I've been hammering 'She's No One' this week? Is that a she in particular?

Howard - Got to be careful here haven't I? Fucking hell. That's a question and a half.

Stu - The questions finally come. Haha.

Howard - You know we've had some really really funny reviews of that single recently, people calling it pre-pubescent electro pop and all sorts and I won't say too much but...

Stu - It's based in fact rather than faction. The irony is that she isn't no one is she? You know cos there is a song about her.

Howard - Well quite yeah, so now she is someone.

Stu - [singing] she's someone.

Howard - nah, that's too cheesy.

So the new EP came out on the 20th June but could you tell me of three albums, other than you're own that everyone should own?

Stu - Albums that come to mind...Check Your Head, Beastie Boys. Hüsker Dü, Warehouse: Songs and Stories. 

Howard - I'm going to be quite controversial here and say absolutely, number one has to be the Wickerman, Paul Giovanni, 1973. Essential. Absolutely essential for anyone and everyone. Slick Rick, The Art of Storytelling. Just fantastic, couldn't live without it. It's a tough one that last one. We'll come back to that.

So talk to me about making the tracks, who does what? How does it work in the studio?

Howard - It normally starts with some beats, loops, or some guitar riffs, or piano. A tune can start anywhere and then by the time we put beats on it we normally know who will be singing on it or who it's most suited to. Pretty natural process really.

You did the EP with Jas from Simian Mobile Disco - good fun? How did that work, how did that start?

Stu - I think he heard a demo, went in and met him and we instantly kind of clicked in terms of what we wanted and the way he worked. We went and did a track and it sounded great so we were like let's do the rest with him.

Any plans to work with him again on more stuff?

Howard - Yeah we've got some more time planned in a few weeks to start recording the second EP which will be out towards the end of the year. Can't wait to get back in, he's got a wicked studio. He's really on it Jas. We got on well, loads of cool gear in his studio. So great to get in there and take advantage.

So I was reading that with the live show you don't use any laptops, and every sound you create is done live with a whole load of kit. How did you go about whittling it down to just the essential equipment so that you could move it around?

Howard - We had a shit load of gear when we first started and wrote the first bunch of demos. We went to the rehearsal room with all this equipment and we really didn't know how we were going to do this. Then we whittled it down to what we absolutely needed and that is what we bring with us now.  Our live show is certainly going to grow and as time goes by and we start touring more. There's certainly stuff that we know we need so it's only going to get bigger.

Stu - Howard plays guitars and sings and he's got this huge rack of effects that he likes to keep secret, [laughs] and in terms of the way the rest of the sounds are triggered it is all done by kinda samplers that are about 10 years old. I remember when I used to DJ about 10 years ago and there used to be these little boxes that you could trigger little samples from and I thought that it would be sick to do that with a live band and to be able to do it on a bigger scale. It's about taking apart the songs that we did with Jas and then rebuilding them for live.

Wicked. So who else is making music that you are listening to at the moment? Who is good out there?

Stu - We love Baths.  Big fans of Baths.

Howard - Yeah definitely. I think there are so many people that we know that seem to be doing the right thing at the moment. It's really nice to be surrounded by friends bands that are doing well too.

Stu - Like Drugg and Visions of Trees as well.

Howard - Yeah it's really nice - we find ourselves listening to a lot of this kind of music these days rather than just listening to the stuff that you always listening to.

Do you think that is something that naturally happens as you get a bit older?  I remember being a teenager and just hammering one genre and it wasn't until I was a bit older that I started exploring other genres.  Was that the same for you?

Stu - I think it's like that for everyone really. As a teenager you'll always listen to one thing but like other things as you get a bit older.

So what was that one thing you both listened to when you were younger?

Howard - Wu-Tang man.

Stu - Yeah hip-hop and then dance music.

Howard - We were 90's kids so we were listening to the Prodigy and early drum and bass and stuff as well. But so much hip-hop, still do really.

Anything new hip-hop wise you are into?

Howard - have you heard of this band called Odd Future? Haha.

Yeah, who bloody hasn't? Haha. Finally as I know you're itching to get out and see Drugg play. Where did the name come from guys?

We went through a period of texting each other potential band names all day. Eventually one of us texted ‘plant’, and the other doubled it up. It looked good in text and that was it.



Plant Plants debut EP is out now - have a listen below.