Rozi Plain has been making music since her brother taught her a few chords on the guitar aged 13. The Bristol based musician has been working with long-term collaborators Kate Stables and Rachael Dadd, and more, whom with she made her first two albums.
Since 2008, Rozi’s music has taken her on a path through Europe, the UK and the USA, in partnership with alt-folk luminaries from Devendra Banhart, James Yorkston and Lost Map’s own The Pictish Trail. Aside from that, Rozi is also a member of This Is The Kit, who she toured with in 2014 opening for The National.
Now though, a return to the solo side is on the cards, as Rozi takes her “Friend” on the road five shows in Ireland before finishing at The Workman’s Club in Dublin on 9 February. RobMoro caught up with the folk musician ahead of her shows.
So Rozi, your music has been described as folk yet with a twist. Your lyrics are sometimes whimsical also. Would you say it is an accurate one?
Eek” says Rozi, “I never really know what whimsical means. What does whimsical mean? I guess if it means thinking about stuff and writing it down then yes pretty whimsical. I guess anything can be fairly accurate as long as we all understand that anything means anything. I’ve never been very good a describing it!”
Speaking about ‘thinking about stuff and writing it down’, did it take long to write your latest album “Friend” ?
Half the songs were written over quite a while like two years and the others in a relatively short amount of time like maybe 4 or 5 months.”
Where did you write it and was there anything to note on your playlist that influenced your songwriting?
I wrote the long half somewhere in between London, Bristol, Winchester and Bordeux and the short half when I was living on a boat in London. I listened to lots of Dominique A at that time, and the Bach cello suites and loads of compilation tapes from my brother.”
On that note of travelling, It has been noted that there was contributions from Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor and members of François & The Atlas Mountains to name a few. What were those contributions and do you feel those influences offered sparks of creativity to your album?
“Alexis sings on the song ‘Tap To The Chest’. I knew him a little bit anyway and love the way he sings he’s got a real melodious ear. We just asked and he was up for it. what a gent.
And yes I had been playing with François and his band for lots of years so they were very close to my heart. Gérard and Amaury played bass and keyboard on the album, they bring such a vibe to the recordings and playing live with them, everyone really comes alive.”
You are no stranger to Irish shores either, how would you describe the reaction to your music here in Ireland?
Eek I am not really sure what the reaction to my music is in Ireland. What is it? I hope its alright. But yes, Ireland is very beloved to me as we used to spend every Summer in the South-West. Mainly Ballydehob but sometimes driving around all five of us in a Mini metro! I am really excited to be doing these shows.”
“Friend” has seen some extensive airplay on the BBC Radio and others too. Do you think it can spread your music to a wider audience?
BBC Radio 6 have been so kind to us, they can really get behind artists and it makes such a difference. It does feel like people are still discovering the album which is really nice, so yes hopefully more people will continue picking it up. Radio Nova in France has been very kind to us also.”
You have moved labels from Fence to Lost Maps/Caroline for this record, what was the story behind your label for this record?
A few years ago Fence spilt into two parts. Fence and Lost Map. I went with Johnny (the pictish trail who runs the label from the Isle of Eigg) to Lost Map as Johnny had always been who I had worked with at Fence. He’s an amazing relentless power house! Builds a house, starts a family, records an album, goes on tour, manages a band, replies to your emails in five seconds, all in one day and all with superhuman grace and great vibes. Lost Map has started working with Caroline with distribution which has been great to be able to reach a bit if a wider audience.”
How would you describe being an emerging musician based London? The benefits of touring from there ?
Well I guess it is good for transport links! Just today i missed my bus to Bristol and went for a coffee in my fave cafe. Then I very nearly missed the next bus. But yeah London is a peculiar pancake. It is all the stuff people say it is. Open and inspiring and lots if stuff happening and also sometimes gives you a total pummelling sometimes.”
There is a calmer and more melancholic approach to this album too, is there an influence behind that?
I think I probably felt a lot calmer and more trusting about the music I was trying to make. More comfortable with myself and more confident in trusting my own opinions and trusting the people around me so being really comfortable with their input too.
The last album i was so worried about things like amps buzzing, like really worried! And now I am like ohhhh it doesn’t matter.”
What about the preparations for this tour? Anything in particular you plan to do?
Bowl of broccoli for breakfast. Catch up on some sleep. Remembering to book the ferry. Crossing my fingers i booked Raphael and Gérards planes for the right day. Washing my socks. Pulling my socks up. Cleaning up my act. Y’know the usual sort of stuff.”
Apart from that, Is it more difficult for you as a solo musician or equally enjoyable as being in a band environment?
Well really I think I just love playing with a band. I also often play as a duo with my friend Rachel and that feels really good too. Its just so great to share things with other people and seems like there’s more scope for more exciting stuff happening when there’s more than just you there. I just like a bit of traffic. People traffic i mean.”
So has your part in This Is The Kit had an influence on your solo career?
Definitely. We often play on the same bill as it often makes sense because we do a lot of band member sharing. But yes there’s lots of crossovers. Me and Kate have been friends since we were children and she has always been a very inspiring and influential person in my life.”
Thanks for your time Rozi, all the best with the Dublin show and your album!
Thanks lads! See you soon i hope.”