We’ve long been admirers of pulsating Hartlepool quartet PLAZA. The four late-teens who hail from the industrial seaside town are the new messiahs of gritty, anthemic rock – the sort that recalls post-mathletic Foals circa ‘Holy Fire’ – and have played chaotic live shows in support of the likes of Blaenavon, Gengahr and JAWS since they formed and began climbing the ranks. Hot on the heels of impressive debut EP ‘Wernotplaza’, out now on Beyond the Wall Records, we caught up with PLAZA to pick over their origins and influences.
‘Wernotplaza’ is superb. What’s your favourite track on the EP and how did it come about?
“We love all the tracks, they’re our first born quadruplets, but I’d say the best looking and likely to be most accomplished is ‘Deep In My Head’. It came about after a long writing sesh one summer, we all left our practice room holding hands that day singing ‘Kumbaya’.”
How did the PLAZA start out?
“We’ve all known each other for a lot of years, there’s only about 30 musicians in Hartlepool, so everyone’s pretty familiar with each other, and one day we got really bored and said, “Let’s have a jam” – the jam turned out to be six weeks in Matty’s summerhouse writing songs. Shift.”
What inspired your name?
“I’d love to tell you and one day my grandkids that there’s a massive interesting story behind the name but there’s honestly not, I’m pretty sure one of us said “Anyone like the name PLAZA?” and we all probably grunted and said “yeh sounds oryt”.”
Who are the Top 5 biggest influences on your sound right now?
“Collectively what we’re listening to at the moment is Thundercat, a lot of Radiohead (generic), Phoenix, Chet Faker and The Streets. There are probably no elements of any of these artists present in our music, but that’s what we’re all digging currently.”
Any other new bands that you’ve played with and would recommend?
“Blaenavon are killing it and our are baby boys, Avalanche Party are the best live band I’ve ever seen in my life and are good northern boys like ourselves, Haus are impeccably gorgeous and amazing. We just toured with Haus last month and it was an absolutely pleasure, we took an awful lot of musical life lessons from them and it’s lush to see them doing so great. The Pale White are also equally fab, but you didn’t need me to tell you that.”
And finally, what does 2017 hold for PLAZA?
More new music! We’ve got the hang of getting our behinds in the studio and recording as many bangers as physically possible. You will probably catch us at a few festivals in the summer and maybe another little live run around the country.