Planes Terry Tyldesley
Planes Mike Massaro
Planes Terry Tyldesley
Planes Terry Tyldesley
Planes Terry Tyldesley
Planes Terry Tyldesley
Planes Terry Tyldesley
Planes - pedals Kitmonsters

Planes play gorgeous alt rock that ranges from blues, through to anthems and ballads. Fronted by Steve Forrest, Placebo’s drummer, their seductive songs greet you like friends. The tracks have been tested in front of 60,000 strong audiences when Steve opened for Placebo, and the band have a huge international fanbase. Planes are recording their debut album, and have festival dates lined up. The band are: Steve on vocals and guitar, Char O’Lette on strings, keys and vocals, Ted Brunning on guitar, Dan Sayer on bass, and Eddie Harris on percussion and they invited us in to their special studio space for a close-up look.

Hilmar, California / Cranbrook, Bristol, Gisburn, Bedford - UK

Planes’ new songs

Planes invited us down to their rehearsal studio, tucked away in a London backstreet, to talk about songwriting, their gear and to hear them play the brilliant new set that they were about to debut.

Steve told us it was a very special time for them.

This is our first kind of legit tour, before this we’ve done a bit of travelling around the UK doing gigs in Bristol and Leeds like, off our own backs, but this is the first one we got sponsored and proper. So we’re really excited. It’s the most exciting time in a young band’s career, this beginning bit.

The band already has a worldwide devoted fanbase though, with fans flying in for gigs. When they do a twitter chat session it’s been known to trend in six countries!

New Planes album

Planes are working with with high profile producers including Tristan Ivemy (Frank Turner, The Heartbreaks) on their new album, and Steve told us that the band’s sound has been developing since the earlier recordings.

Well this new record, we’ve been writing for the past couple of years. Since the EP was out, we’ve never really stopped gathering songs for the record. The new songs, hopefully, they’ve moved on a bit, it started out more folky, more singer-songwriter with me, and then, now that we’ve been a band for so long it’s become much more anthemic and it’s bigger and richer and just better melodies. We’ve all improved as songwriters together. The EP was a sort of teenage version of us, and this new record’s kind of like the more mature sound, and we’re really in a comfortable place, I think. Happy.

Planes - Dan Terry Tyldesley

“It’s definitely about ‘us’ “, agreed Eddie, saying the band all work together to take songs to a new level.

It’s a nice team effort, it’s just gelling more because, the first EP, as a full band, we’d only been together a few weeks. It’s amazing, it worked, I’m really proud of it, I think we all are. But the new stuff is definitely more developed, as Steve said, it’s a more mature version, all of us working together in a good collaboration.

Planes - Eddie Terry Tyldesley

Blues, soul, and disco

There are some elements that might surprise existing fans though, even a hint of a dance vibe, confesses Steve.

I think all of us really love music from the 70s and when we write a fast, uptempo song it naturally tends to come out like something that Fleetwood Mac would do, or some sort of disco vibe. We love dance music, we really do. We don’t really try to write in a way, it just sort of comes out that way, you know, when I sing it comes out in a certain way, the same with Charlotte… we love soul music and blues and I think a lot of us, especially me Ted and Charlotte as well, we really love the old stuff, love old music.

Dan: The different backgrounds we all come from, as well, really show through.

Eddie: I think it really shows how everyone in the band brings something different to the table because we’ve all got tastes that work together when the band comes together but separately speaking, the way that some people might get a bit funky sometimes, not naming any names, all the bluesy and the folk elements, it all comes together from like a different part of each of us. I think that’s how the album’s going to spread out and cover a wider spectrum than the EP has.

Planes - Ted Terry Tyldesley

Songwriting and acoustic guitar

When it comes to songwriting, generally it’s Steve who kicks things off.

Well most of the time it always starts with me writing a song on the acoustic guitar, and then taking it to either Ted and Char O’Lette’s house and working it out with them, or sometimes in the past it’s been me and Ed here in the studio and sometimes I go to Dan’s and we work it out.

There’s been a couple of times when the song has started from a jam and we can do, but most of the time it’s kind of: start with a song. And mostly by the time we’re done with it it’s transformed into this whole different thing. It actually works really well that way, because when we do acoustic gigs we play these songs stripped down and it’s a completely different song, so it’s great, we kind of get two songs out of one with that.

Planes - Char O’Lette Terry Tyldesley

The band has to juggle a lot of competing demands on their time, especially Steve’s.

Time is of the essence, and we can’t afford to really be in here every single day for two weeks straight. If we could, I think we’d write a lot more organically and jam and just do it on the spot but since we can’t do that, individually and as a group, we cover as much ground on the song as we possibly can and get it feeling good.

Planes - Eddie Terry Tyldesley

Eddie said that an example of that is the track Summer Breeze.

You definitely get different flavours from the tracks that you’ll hear on the album, like what Steve said about these jam ideas that come around, like Summer Breeze, you had a basic idea but that whole sound is very much what you hear of the band jamming through.

Planes Terry Tyldesley

American feel

What’s struck us about the material is that there is a strong American feel and not just in the lyrics, that include images of sitting on a porch. Steve says a lot of it’s down to his background, and Southern upbringing and accent.

I think you can take the boy out of California, you know, but you can’t take much of it out of him, and I was raised on country music and people that talk like this a lot (he does a Southern accent). Whenever I sing, that’s my background just coming out, with a bit of a twang. I mean I’ll pronounce words, you never say it like that but when you sing it it comes out like ‘harrrd’. Blues and country music, it’s got an attitude that I’ve always loved.

Planes - Steve Terry Tyldesley

Eddie points out that Steve has some anglicized phrasing to go with it, making for an unusual mix.

Planes are playing at music festivals this Summer, and can’t wait to take their sound on the road again. Char O’Lette says it’s an amazing experience, better than in any other band she has performed with.

Well I think that’s the whole reason why any of us want to play is to go out and play live, the energy and adrenaline.

Planes Terry Tyldesley

Live shows

The band are amazing live, (see our photo blog - Planes on tour) and they set out to put on quite a show. Eddie said they pride themselves on it, and Steve explained a bit more.

I think it’s really important to leave people, not wowed, because that sounds pretentious, but you want to sort of take them away a bit. We’ve got a lot louder, I think, that was one thing I noticed with the songs. And you want people to look like, what the fuck was that? But in a good way. And never give them too much as well.

Planes - Steve Terry Tyldesley

We had to ask about the band dynamics, as Steve is so multi-talented. Is it daunting having an internationally renowned drummer and guitar player as your front man? Ted took up the challenge.

Steve can do anything, he’s one of those annoying people that can just pick up whatever. But his ego doesn’t actually come into the performance at all.

There’s a few people that actually have that sort of talent. I mean, you’ve got your Dave Grohls in the world, and we’re just lucky to have one in our band.

Steve: That’s the nicest thing he’s said to me since I met him!