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HomeCultureArtist Highlight: Rozi Plain - Our Tradition

Artist Highlight: Rozi Plain – Our Tradition


Born in Winchester, England, Rosalind Leyden was 16 when her brother, Sam, took over the open mic night time at a small native pub and inspired her to get into music. In 2008, she made her debut as Rozi Plain with Inside Over Right here, a set of homespun recordings that launched her hazy alt-folk sound in its barest type. Now based mostly in London, Plain minimize her enamel within the Bristol DIY scene, co-founding the Cleaner Data collective and collaborating with Kate Stables of This Is The Package, with whom she’s spent a lot of her time on tour. As a solo artist, she’s been broadening her horizons with every album, and 2019’s What a Increase noticed her folding in additional experimental textures than any of her prior releases.

Plain’s fifth LP, Prize, out in the present day, is constructed from recording classes that happened in all places from the French Basque Nation to the Isle of Eigg in addition to studios in London, Bristol, and Glasgow. That includes co-producer Jamie Whitby-Coles (additionally This Is the Package) on drums, Amaury Ranger on bass, and Gerard Black on synths, as properly a formidable forged of visitor musicians together with jazz saxophonist Alabaster DePlume, synth manipulator Danalogue, and harpist Serafina Steer, the album is rooted in a communal spirit however shimmers with the identical mild, hypnotic intimacy that has permeated Plain’s music previously. On the similar time, Plain wraps her usually perplexing lyrics round winding, subtly complicated preparations with out overshadowing the songs’ vibrant heat and understated candor. She leaves questions hanging within the air, but makes drifting alongside them really feel effortlessly pure.

We caught up with Rozi Plain for this version of our Artist Highlight interview collection to speak in regards to the making of Prize, her strategy to songwriting, reconciling previous and future, and extra.


Just a few days in the past, I had an in a single day layover on the airport, and I listened to your information, so as, from Buddies all the best way to Prize. I’d already listened to the brand new album a couple of occasions, however the music actually got here alive differently after I was on this barely-awake state. It made me surprise what kind of headspace you’re normally in whenever you enter the writing course of, if it’s extra acutely aware or a type of dream state.

I really feel like there’s completely different headspaces. There’s undoubtedly moments of writing that do really feel like divine intervention or one thing, and it looks like a type of combination of distraction and focus; when you may distract your self from your self sufficient to seek out focus in a brand new factor. Typically it looks like issues are coming to you a bit. However I feel that’s additionally fairly uncommon, and I feel I used to suppose that it needed to be these moments; it needed to be this, like, “Oh, wow, I’ve simply written a track in 5 minutes.” However I’ve modified my thoughts about that. That does occur typically, however you can too slowly craft a track by working in your stuff, and it might probably are available in a very completely different method. It may be actually tough, after which ultimately it might probably nonetheless have the identical feeling. It’s discovering the issues that compel you to maintain taking part in them; I need to discover a guitar riff that I don’t need to cease taking part in as a result of it feels so satisfying to play, or a sentence that feels that I actually take pleasure in to sing time and again. I feel I’ve mentioned it earlier than, however eager to make, like, savory music. I need it to really feel deeply, deeply satisfying.

With Prize, did you go extra within the course of making an attempt to slowly craft one thing and have an added sense of management?

I undoubtedly didn’t attempt to make it slower than it was as a result of I’m conscious of how gradual I’m anyway. I’m actually gradual at writing. And likewise, as a result of it had been the pandemic, we needed to await fairly a very long time earlier than we may document the album how we needed to do it, so I used to be wanting to get on with it. I additionally had been given a deadline by the label, after which realized it simply wasn’t prepared. I used to be making an attempt to make it prepared, after which I noticed it was not prepared, so we delayed it I feel by two months or one thing, the hand-in. And that made such a tremendous distinction. It prefer it simply I used to be so pressured about it. I used to be making an attempt to make it like, “There’s sufficient stuff there and it’s completed,” and it simply wasn’t. After which I despatched this e-mail saying, “I can’t hand it in now, it’s going to be a month later.” And the extreme reduction I felt – all of the sudden we may make all these actually good selections about it and, like, see the wooden for the bushes, as a result of I used to be in a little bit of a panic making an attempt so as to add issues on it. After which I used to be like, “Okay. Okay, that is what it wants.” The additional delay time we gave ourselves, it actually modified the album. I really feel prefer it actually grew to become mine once more in some way.

In what sense do you imply?

I don’t know, it’s like we unlocked the recordings. Additionally, how we’ve achieved issues earlier than is recording the bottom of issues after which including a number of overdubs, and it felt harder to do on this album. It simply felt like the whole lot needed to be so particular. And if it actually didn’t improve it, it did distract from it, it wasn’t value having it there. So we added a number of issues, and we took off a number of issues as properly. We blended it with Ash Workman in Margate, after which my pal James [Howard] added fairly a little bit of guitar on a number of the tracks. I used to be simply pondering, “I feel simply this one track simply wants one…” After which he did it on about seven or eight songs, and it simply lifted all of them up. It was superb.

Is there a particular motive all of your albums observe a 10-track, 40-minute construction?

I feel for this album, it was a part of the contract that there needed to be 10 songs. However I feel there would have been 10 songs anyway. Each album has had ten songs. I don’t know – not that I’ve even realized it earlier than, however I feel, “Oh, an album’s bought to be ten songs.” [laughs] And I don’t even know why I feel that, however it’s like 9 appears too little. However then I find it irresistible. I’m not tremendous prolific, I don’t make an enormous quantity of stuff. I imply, I don’t have hundreds of songs to select from. It’s most likely various that as properly, truly.

You’ve expanded your sound with every album, and although the songs can typically get fairly intricate and ambiguous, they keep a sure readability and virtually simplicity of coronary heart. ‘Difficult’, as an illustration, regardless of its title, is likely one of the sparsest tracks on the document.

Sure, after we have been engaged on it, we did carry on making an attempt so as to add issues, after which we’re similar to, “I feel this track simply must be actually easy.” It feels satisfying that it’s like that and known as ‘Difficult’. That’s a pleasant swip-swap. I’m writing about my very own experiences, however I’ve by no means felt compelled to type of sort out issues head-on; I need to make it so individuals can interpret it in several methods, however to expertise which means in it. I need it to really feel like sharing as an alternative of explaining. I need issues to really feel open.

There are a number of songs that begin with an “it” or a “one thing,” however it’s by no means totally revealed what that one thing is. It’s such as you’re getting into in the midst of a dialog or the center of a thought course of.

Yeah, yeah. And I do discover that I’ve a number of questions in, and I assume it’s stuff that I’m asking myself and different individuals. It’s nice you can say “you” whenever you imply “I,” since you’re allowed – as a result of it’s your track, you are able to do no matter you want. However sure, it’s humorous as a result of I did really feel actually acutely aware in regards to the phrase “it” and I did suppose, Oh my god, I can’t use the phrase “it” anymore.  [laughs] However you must use the phrase “it” typically.

As listeners, we’re used to listening to “you” with out it being tied to a particular individual, however I feel it turns into fascinating when the “it” is as much as interpretation. After all, the album begins with, “What we could name it?”

Yeah. However I’m additionally in my life fairly a query attacker. It’s fairly a cushty place for me to be if I’m chatting to somebody is simply asking plenty of questions. [laughs] And I don’t at all times suppose that’s factor. I don’t suppose I’m horrifically interrogatory or one thing, however I feel I do ask a number of questions. It’s nice when you may spend time with somebody and never asking these questions – not simply say, “Oh, how was that? And the way is that going? And the place did you go then?” That’s like the traditional stuff, isn’t it? It looks like a problem to not do this, however I feel it’s good train to not do this. Since you usually discover out extra from individuals whenever you don’t simply get the info off them. It’s good whenever you meet up with a pal, and then you definately notice you don’t know something that they’ve been doing. [laughs] However you’ve nonetheless had a very high quality catch-up.

I do know what you imply, typically it’s arduous whenever you’re having a dialog with somebody to not be in that mode the place you’re making it in regards to the different individual.

Sure, precisely, simply making it in regards to the different individual. After which additionally, whenever you make it in regards to the different individual, inevitably they’re gonna make it about you in a second. They’re gonna say, “And what about you?” Like, “What? Oh no, I don’t need that! I simply needed to get you to do the speaking!” [laughs]

How do you suppose you’ve been influenced by the completely different locations which were part of your musical journey, from Winchester to Bristol to London?

Once I take into consideration the songs I’ve written, they’ve bought a spot and a time and an period. As a result of I assume a sense you’re making an attempt to seize, deliberately or not, will get tied to time and place. Somebody was asking me about this the opposite day, about shifting round, how that impacts me, but additionally, it looks like that’s like been my life for the final 15 years or one thing. I’ve been touring for ages, in my challenge or This Is the Package, and that’s the type of stuff I do. It undoubtedly does soak in, however it looks like a pure a part of my life. That looks like my life expertise. I like doing that, after which I additionally like coming dwelling.

However it does have an effect on your relationship to dwelling, proper?

Yeah, undoubtedly. However I feel the sensation of dwelling could be a very movable factor. Typically it looks like a home and the place you reside, and typically it feels just like the individuals you’re with. There’s undoubtedly occasions when on tour with my band or on tour with That is the Package looks like my homely surroundings. I really feel prefer it adjustments a bit, however it additionally looks like the final word quest, feeling at dwelling. And it’s cool when you may determine type of what that’s for a bit.

I need to single out the road “Standing up within the full blue of newness,” which curiously seems in the direction of the top of the document. Do you keep in mind developing with it?

I truly do, as a result of I really feel like had a big realization a couple of years in the past that – I’m wondering if I may even keep in mind what my vital realization was. [laughs] It was one thing like, I noticed that I didn’t let my future in on my previous; I didn’t belief my future with my beloved previous or one thing. And I didn’t belief my beloved previous to consider sooner or later. And I assumed, I preserve these issues actually distant from one another. And really, after all, they’re fully joined. I don’t even know if something’s modified since, however I feel most likely I’m responsible of being a reasonably nostalgic individual. The truth that issues which have occurred simply type of grow to be truth – despite the fact that these info can change, however the truth is, they occurred. It’s like, if I hearken to an previous album, I feel, “I can’t even keep in mind how I did it – how did I come to all these selections? God, I will need to have recognized what I used to be doing.” It looks like there’s all this conviction in regards to the previous, simply because it’s the previous now. As a result of these are the issues that occurred, and you’ll write them down. And after which the longer term, after all, is unknown, and also you don’t know the way it’s going to be and also you’re nervous you’re going to do it improper otherwise you received’t do it justice from how significant you discovered the issues which have occurred. However you discover them significant as a result of they occurred or one thing.

Additionally, my mum proofread the lyrics, and the phrase “blue” was the phrase “bloom.” And she or he’d heard the album earlier than and she or he was like, “Oh, I assumed it was blue.” And I used to be like, “Oh, that’s masses higher. I’m altering it to bloom.” [laughs] I type of by no means felt very comfy about having the phrase “bloom,” it by no means sat very simply with me. And the phrase “blue” made extra sense. It type of felt like the intense blue new. And it’s cool, I like that it was a misheard factor. Additionally, I usually don’t pronounce the final sound of a phrase. I’m at all times not doing that, I simply fade out. So it doesn’t sound like I’m singling “bloom” anyway, it seems like I’m saying “blue.”

As a result of there are so few objects truly talked about within the lyrics, naming the document Prize feels vital. What does it imply to you?

Each time I’ve named an album, it’s been a lyric from the album. I’ve usually not held that a lot attachment to naming songs. It’s type of admin; everybody has to know what track they’re taking part in, so it’s the obvious phrase in it or one thing. And I’ve at all times named albums by simply going by way of the lyrics, and after some time, one thing stands out, I simply suppose, “Oh, yeah, I feel it’s known as that.” I used to be going to name it Nothing Will Do, after which it felt a bit faffy, a bit difficult. After which some individuals spooked me by saying it’s not good to have a unfavorable phrase in there.

However I actually like that it’s a five-letter phrase. I just like the quantity 5. And I like that it’s bought a “z” in. But additionally, I feel there’s most likely rather a lot within the album about – I don’t even know if I imply competitors, however type of wanting to come back good or show one thing to somebody or to your self. I assume I’m type of fascinated by shut tensions and relationships between myself and completely different individuals. Individuals need to be not misunderstood and misrepresented, and I feel it’s simple for individuals to get misinterpreted as eager to be proper or win or one thing, when, truly, they simply need to be certain they’ve expressed themselves clearly and have been understood. Additionally, it’s fairly a enjoyable phrase.


This interview has been edited and condensed for readability and size.

Rozi Plain’s Prize is out now by way of Memphis Industries.

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