Alternative pop band Plaid Brixx, featuring founder/vocalist/guitarist Chris Duggan, drummer Mark LeRose and bassist Jared Sawaya, says it’s a “rock band that writes pop songs.” The trio has performed at several prominent music festivals and feels those experiences have prepared them to support the pop/rock outfit We The Kings on its 10-Year Anniversary Tour. Plaid Brixx will join the band on a 32-date run with a stop on March 17 at The Troubadour in Los Angeles.
In an email interview for www.theartofla.com with the band, Plaid Brixx spoke about their 2016 self-titled EP, working with The Agency, Dale “Rage” Resteghini on “The Greener Side” video, the evolution in sound between their 2014 debut project, “Chemistry,” their musical influences, favorite musicians and more.
When and why did you all individually start playing?
Chris – I started playing because for reasons unknown to me I asked for a guitar for Christmas when I was 7.
Mark – I was fifteen when I started playing because my best friend played guitar and we wanted to start a band to be like Blink-182
What was the first tune(s) you all learned?
Chris – All The Small Things by Blink-182
Mark- First Date by Blink-182
Is your family musical?
C: Not at all. My mom sometimes sings at Christmas until I ask her to stop.
M: My dad is super musical, he plays guitar, sings, can drum and he loves Elvis.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
I think everyone admires different musicians at different times in their lives for different reasons. When I was 15 I loved Blink-182 because they were rad and hilarious but my taste has changed. I admire artists for their business prowess and marketing skills in addition to great songwriting. Right now I love Grimes and Ryn Weaver for their songs, but I love Kanye and GaGa for their marketing strategies.
Which famous musicians have you learned from?
I learned a lot of what I know about performance from Richard Barone of the Bongos, literally. He was one of my college professors and is a mentor to me. I have learned a ton from watching Grimes’ music videos. And I love studying Max Martin’s work.
Who was your first teacher? Other teachers?
A man named Mike Haggerty taught me to play guitar. And I have had some great vocal coaches including Don Lawrence in NYC and Cindy Vaughan here in Columbus.
Describe your first instrument. Other instruments.
My first instrument was a 3/4 sized Carlo Robelli black electric guitar. I still have it.
What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
My fondest musical memories are all about being in the studio and writing/recording music. I love to write songs!
Were you influenced by old records and tapes? Which ones?
I was influenced by The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and Peter, Paul and Mary because I was exposed to them by my dad! Apparently, my sister played me Nirvana records before I could walk.
Who are your favorite musicians? Groups?
Too many to list, but here are a few right now: Grimes, Run The Jewels, Die Antwoord, Ryn Weaver, Verite, B0RNS, Cardiknox and my all time faves are Blink-182, Sum-41, System of A Down, The Mars Volta and Tool.
Do you dream in color or black & white? And, how do your dreams influence your music?
I used to practice remembering my dreams by keeping a dream journal because I am fascinated with dreaming. I am out of practice but I still remember most of my dreams if I choose to. They are mostly in color, but sometimes they are in black and white. There have been dreams where I write a song in my dream and I wake myself up to sing it into my phone and then later flesh it out into a song. I’d say that’s a pretty big influence.
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
What mistakes? But we’ve had broken guitars, signs blown over, etc…and we just keep performing.
Your new EP is a departure from your previous EP, Chemistry, with roots in alternative rock. Can you talk more about that and the evolution of the sound and style in the music?
As we grew older our tastes in music changed and we started listening to a lot of pop music. Naturally, our sound progressed with our tastes. We are basically a rock band with pop songs.
What was it like working with Dale “Rage” Resteghini on “The Greener Side” video? How involved is the band making the videos? Do you all enjoy the process?
We had a great time working with Dale Resteghini, he is a great director and the set is extremely high energy…there is a reason that “Rage” is his nickname. The video looks amazing and we are so happy we got to work with him and hope to be able to work with him again.
Can you talk about working with The Agency on the new EP? What was that experience like and what did the band learn musically in the studio?
Nelly and Mike are two of the nicest and most talented guys I know–they are so much fun to work with and the songs we make together are incredible! Right before the tour, I flew to LA and we collaborated to create three more songs…can’t wait to get them finished and released. I learn tons from every artist I work with and having the opportunity to write with them definitely took my songwriting skills to a higher level.
Does the band like being in the studio more or touring and why?
It’s impossible to choose between touring and studio time because they are both integral to being a successful musician. If I had to choose, I would probably say studio time because I absolutely love creating new music.
How did the tour with We The Kings come about? Plaid Brixx has played a number of high-profile shows and festivals. Does the band feel performing at those events has prepared you more for this tour and you feel more seasoned? Or Is it a continuation of what you have been doing live already?
Touring is really fun and it is really amazing to be able to connect with old fans and make new fans across the country. This tour with We The Kings came about at the last minute due to some behind the scenes magic with booking agents. We are super grateful to be on the tour and everyone is amazing and nice and we are having a wonderful time! I would say our high-profile shows definitely prepared us for this tour.
On your downtime, what fun’s do to in Columbus, Ohio? What venues or places you like to go?
We generally go to Express Live, Newport Music Hall, A&R and Skully’s.