Monday, January 4, 2016

A well lit room with dark corners | An interview with Brandon Blaine of PLAGUE VENDOR

Credit Unknown

It was a humid Los Angeles night and I was being led through a hazy sweaty packed bar where some kind of party for COMUNE was happening. It was my second time in LA and everyone was crammed in this dive bar on Sunset to see this ferocious seemingly infamous local band called PLAGUE VENDOR. A slithering shirtless tight panted then young Brandon Blaine, was climbing furniture, writhing in sweat and engaged in his own musical exorcism not dissimilar to the tantrums of early Iggy Pop. The audience was captivated and the sweat was dripping from the ceiling and for that 30mins I was completely engrossed in some kind of tantric audible hate/love gasm for this band. They had won me over. I've followed their journey ever since. Finally closing in on the beginning of 2016 I decided it was time to share PV and the reptilian leader Brandon Blaine with the rest of you. 

Photo © Marc Gersh

For those who are unfamiliar can you tell us how Plague Vendor started? And what the hell is a Plague Vendor? 

We formed in 08 in studio space and began to write songs and figure out what we wanted to accomplish with our music. We wanted the music to follow in the theme of the name Plague Vendor. As time went by though we didn’t really follow a precise format or set rules for ourselves. We get together and work with whatever our subconscious releases. Sometimes it takes a few days; sometimes it only takes fifteen minutes. Plague Vendor is two words that I think look beautiful together. I Love the Letter V too. I misread a Mexican folk tale entitled Plaque Vendor as Plague Vendor.

 There is an insane amount of energy and electricity when PV perform and you are every bit the wild front man. How crucial is performance to you and what do you love most about it? 

The performance is everything. When we perform live in whatever space we are occupying at that time for the next forty five minutes that space is our gallery and you’re watching us paint the pictures, hang the pictures, and destroy them.

Photo © Moon Block

Your full length Free to Eat was released on Epitaph in 2014 despite already doing the rounds as early as 2009. What was the experience like going from lo fi/diy to a big record company and then getting thrown on WARPED tour?

It really wasn’t much different than what we already were doing. Playing whenever and wherever we could. Writing songs, performing them live. Warped Tour was something we were advised to do so we could learn the process a “big” tour. We learned a lot from that, and still do every time we get back on the road. We are conditioned and have been through a lot since then in regards to tours since warped. 

 Plague Vendor songs are all very tight wound songs that seem to uncoil and coil back up as quickly as they begun. It’s almost an audible exorcism that is backed up even more so by the epic nature of the songs live. How do you capture that raw edge when you’re writing and recording? 

Sometimes a full stomach helps, sometimes an empty one helps even more so. I let myself go, all my lyrics are from a well lit room with dark corners it’s my subconscious studio.

Photo © John Gilhooley

When it comes to the band dynamic. What’s your role? Front man, writer man or is it like a gang effort?

All four of us hold our own. We all believe in each other. It’s a gang effort, each of us has a talent and uniqueness that makes us able to break in and get the safe open.

 You’ve certainly done your rounds of LA and surrounds. Are there any plans to do some large scale touring across the US? 

We have a few things under our hat right now. Looking forward to revealing what’s behind the curtain

Photo © 1369 Photos

You recently played some shows with one of my favourite bands Prayers who I’ve also interviewed. What was that like? I was psyched to see you both on the same bill! And what other bands are you listening to at the moment and being inspired by? 

Prayers is Family. Leafar is my big brother, and as he puts it I’m his big/little brother. He really sees our vision and supports us. It was destined for plague and prayers to one day come together. I knew it would happen the first time I heard them. It’s Prayers and Plague Vendor’s year. 

When it comes to lyrics where do you get your inspiration and what’s your personal favourite PV song or line?

As I described early, all my lyrics are from a well lit room with dark corners,  it’s my subconscious studio. I’m inspired by literally everything.

Photo © Copeland Photo

What’s next for Plague Vendor in 2016? 

The release of our Album “Bloodsweat” . Tour. Continue on doing what we do.