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Interviews : “I really didn’t like jazz at all” – An interview with Plini

By on July 24, 2018


Joe Pass and New Yorker Steve Khan aren’t names the average household would be familiar with, however, both are noted for their extraordinary take on popularising electric jazz guitar performance.

Sydney’s Plini seems to be running a similar course to the esteemed jazz masters through his astonishing metallically enshrined jazz fusion; he may not be destined to become a household name, yet his impression on burgeoning guitarists and seasoned professionals will reverberate through the decades, in much the same manner the mentioned masters are often quoted by musicians and dedicated music fans.

“I grew up in a household where there was a lot of jazz. My dad is an upright bass player, and… I guess, funnily enough, it’s probably from my mum that I get most of my music taste. She was the one that would be always putting CDs on… The Beatles, and then, Michael Jackson, but there’d also be Pat Metheney and John Scofield, and stuff like that. When I got into guitar, I went straight to people like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci (Dream Theatre), all the rock god sort of people.”

Despite the wonderfully complex hard-hitting jazz fusion instrumentals Plini creates, in a refreshingly honest take on his influences as a musician he confesses that it is heavy metal, not jazz that formed his initial inspiration and continues to offer meaningful listening.

“I really didn’t like jazz at all. For some reason, I just didn’t. Didn’t take any interest to, I guess, the tone, and the playing style. Because I was into low metal at the time, and I thought, the harder you hit something, the better it sounded. I guess I just slowly opened my mind up a bit, and then, got into more of the fusion side of things, like Allan Holdsworth, and pretty much anything that just totally scared me, because I had no idea what was happening. I sort of started listening to Holdsworth, and more Pat Metheney, and stuff like that, but at the same time, it’s probably only a small part of my listening habits. “

If you have managed to find Plini’s music appealing already, chances are you either know about, or are right into the alien sounds of the godfathers of jazz/death fusion, Floridian Polyphemids, Cynic, and their primary sonic architect, Paul Masvidal.

“(I) got to meet Paul, and he’s become a pretty good friend, because he’s the sweetest, most down to earth guy. I think doing that (Japanese) tour made me more of a fan of Cynic, and then I went back and listened to all their albums a lot more closely. He’s got an amazing style.”

With an EP release, Sunhead, and a corresponding tour to support the release, is it tempting to lean into the improvisational aspects of his considerable chops when performing?

“Oh, it’s a bit of both. Most of the songs are fairly written, like, in a specifically composed way. We play that, but at the same time, playing them, after maybe, 10 times, playing the same song, you start to find little ways you can tweak it, and then changing sections, here and there. Yeah, and after going to lots and lots of shows, I find that there are only a few bands that can pull off playing, like, a perfect replica of a studio recording, and still, sort of get my full attention? Because, after a point, it just looks like a bunch of people doing more of a recital than a performance.”

Don’t miss your opportunity to catch a highly gifted guitarist and his band melt faces on their September Australian tour.

Listen to the full conversation here.

Click here to purchase the new EP ‘Sunhead’.

Catch Plini on the ‘Sunhead Aus Tour’

For complete tour and ticket information, visit Moshtix.

Friday September 7 – The Zoo, Brisbane

Saturday September 8 – Manning Bar, Sydney

Thursday September 13 – Badlands, Perth

Friday September 14 – Jive, Adelaide

Saturday September 15 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne



Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith