INTERVIEW: Plastic Yellow Band

Written By: Ryan Donnelly

RYAN: It is safe to say that I have not heard many artists dare to create songs over ten minutes long, how did it happen that you created a song over twenty-one minutes long? That is seriously impressive.

GERRY w/PYB: I wanted to create a piece that went through the emotions one might feel after the loss of someone you felt deeply about. So as I went through the emotions of sadness, loneliness, anger, acceptance, etc. the song just developed. I knew from the start that it was not going to be a 4 minute song ready for airplay. But that didn’t matter. I think if you take the time to listen to the entire composition you feel the emotions.

RYAN: I am curious as to where the name Plastic Yellow Band came from?

GERRY w/PYB:I get asked that a lot, and here’s the answer I usually give: I liked the concept behind Plastic Ono Band which was essentially John Lennon and whatever musicians he was working with at the time to produce his music. That’s what I do. I work with a lot of talented musicians that help me produce the music that is in my head. The core of PYB though is me, Joe Hurt on bass and Karl Tesch on drums. Also, I like the song Yellow by Coldplay, so the two influences came together and became Plastic Yellow Band.

RYAN: The writing process is unique to everyone, can you tell us how you go about creating your songs?

GERRY w/PYB:Something usually inspires me to write. It’s not often that I just decide to write a song. It doesn’t have to be a life event, or something I’ve heard. A lot of times it’s a guitar riff or piano piece that inspires me and then it just comes together.

RYAN: Who would you consider to be inspirations when it comes to your sound?

GERRY w/PYB:A lot of songwriters from the “classic rock era”; too many to name. In the past few years, definitely early ColdPlay and my favorite contemporary musician Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree).

RYAN: How would you describe your music to anyone that has not heard it before?

GERRY w/PYB:We call it “new classic rock” because it is based on the sounds from the 60’s and 70’s but merged with newer progressive rock.

RYAN: It is important for any artist today to understand social media, how are you finding the process of gaining an online presence?

GERRY w/PYB:It sucks that you have to spend so much time with social media instead writing and recording new material. But, that said, you don’t have much choice but to jump into the internet if you want to be heard! And, I guess on the positive side, you have the opportunity to get a lot of feedback from those who like what you do, and, of course, those who do not like what you do.

RYAN: There is not denying the amount of talent the band possesses in both song writing and their knowledge of their instruments. How long has the band been together, and what are the current plans for 2016?

GERRY w/PYB:I believe Joe Hurt and I have been working together in the studio since 2000. Karl worked on some projects with me in 2004. After that, he’s been steady-on in the studio since 2013. Joe Smith did most of the great guitar solos on our 2014 debut CD and Starlight.

RYAN: Some people like the music streaming and file sharing while others are strongly opposed to it. How do you feel about the rise of digital and the decline of physical copies?

GERRY w/PYB: I miss the album art. That was a huge part of the physical copy. I don’t mind the digital files and streaming, but I wish the music had to be delivered in physical form first so that you can hold in your hands the creative art that wraps around the music medium.

RYAN: Most albums deal with a theme that ties the album together, can you describe the overall theme behind your album Above Gravity?

GERRY w/PYB: Well, this time for this album the theme only resides in the first tract and the last track which are both about loss. Everything in the middle is independent of those two and meant to be so. It’s like the emotion in track one is so strong and long that you need a break and so you need to think about something else, but ultimately you then come back to the original theme. You can’t help it.

RYAN: Do you have any advice to give to other independent acts out there?

GERRY w/PYB: No. I could probably use their advice. I can plug IMP and tell you that I read James Moore’s book on music promotion, and that was extremely helpful. So, actually yes, I do have some advice for them, buy James’ book!

RYAN: Lastly, and thank you for your time. Is there any news coming from the Plastic Yellow Band camp that you would like your fans to know about?

GERRY w/PYB : We are working on a 2016 CD release. I love working in ISI Studios. I prefer to produce more so than perform. In the past, my performing would tend to be more singer/songwriter like James Taylor and Jackson Browne since I can play both guitar and piano. In the studio, I can work with a number of musicians and rock out, and create complex pieces. Starlight, for example, has 51 tracks to mix and master to create the final product. I loved doing that! The 2016 CD release, will be different than Breathe Air and Above Gravity in that there will be more rock songs featuring harmonies with my friend Dana Rideout who sang on track 5 of Breathe Air… I Want To Feel Your Love. So stay tuned!

Thanks Ryan for your interest and taking the time to speak with me!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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