Plantrae blends together beautiful string elements in with wompy and crunchy bass lines, to give your soul a melodic re-awakening to the harmonious space that both organic and inorganic sounds inhabit. With his Taproot EP still presenting itself at the top of Additech’s charts, Plantrae and his trusty viola are rooting strongly in the bass music scene. The melodies of Taproot will emotionally pull you and connect you to this EP’s earthly nature. While you are reading Plantrae’s interview below, be sure to listen to Taproot. Afterwards you can keep an eye out for Plantrae while on tour, where he will be filling many summer festies with his entrancing soundscapes.
How do you blend together organic sounds into your pieces?
Every spring I go out into my garden and plant little subwoofer sprouts, then over the summer as they’re growing I serenade them with viola. In the fall when they’ve matured, I harvest them, grind em’ up in ableton and weave them into a fine, multicolored audio tapestry.
What types of instruments do you play?
Viola is my primary instrument, and the only one I use for live shows. For folks that aren’t familiar with the viola, its almost exactly the same as a violin, except its a little lower and has a deeper, richer sound. In the studio I use a multitude of stringed instruments, primarily guitar, mandolin, banjo, and piano. I also use a lot of vst instruments for stuff I don’t have.
Where does the name Plantrae stem from?
Plantae (without the R) is the Latin name for ‘plant’. I have an affinity for plants, and I added the ‘R’ just because I like how it sounds.
Your latest release, Taproot, infuses beautiful strings melodies with wompy bass lines. What do you think this interesting combination brings that a more traditional DJ set could not?
Well first off, you have the combination of acoustic sounds with electronic ones, and I think its important to acknowledge that we have thousands of years of amazing acoustic music technologies and cultures behind us. To ignore the sonic offerings available from this legacy would be like a painter choosing to only use 4 colors out of the infinite options available. Secondly, I play all the viola parts live at shows, which enables me to adapt the momentum of the music to the energy of the crowd, do some improvisation here and there, and create more of a two way interaction between myself and the dancer.
How does Taproot reflect where you are at as an artist, either emotionally or technically?
With Taproot, my intent is to communicate the intense need for drastic change I see in the world. Its a bit abstract to disseminate this idea through music, but I think a blend of deep bass and beautiful melodies can be pretty impactful emotionally, and hopefully can inspire people to pursue a healthier relationship with the earth and with each other.
When producing, at what stage do you usually add your string melodies?
I usually start with a bassline and a beat, then once I have a basic structure I loop it and start experimenting with melodic ideas. Once I find some good ones, I record them in rough form. Then I go back through the track and really flesh out the sound design textures, add background elements, and develop the arraignment. Then once I have all the electronic elements perfected I re-record the rough viola part, usually adding some variations. So Its really a multi-part process.
What can we expect next from Plantrae?
I’ll be performing at numerous festivals this summer, most notably donic Bloom, Enchanted Forest and another spectacular one that I can’t disclose at this moment, so keep an eye out on the linups. Next up with Street Ritual is a remix version of ‘Taproot’, which is going to be really fun. I also have a few collaborations in the works, I’ll be doing a track for an episode of The Bloom Series, and I also have a track coming out on an awesome compilation called Mycelium Music Vol.2 that will be out in the next couple months. Mycelium Music is a rad collective based out of Olympia, WA that infuses educational opportunities with their musical offerings (http://myceliummusic.com). And I’m also working on a full length album that will be out in the fall.
Stay tuned at www.facebook.com/plantraemusic