PLVS VLTRA is quickly becoming a favorite here at LT4. She featured on our recent mixtape and we regularly spin her two albums. We managed to catch up with her for an interview where she talks about the the future, touring with boys and the ups-and-downs of being a solo artist.
LT4: Ok, how about a little introduction for anyone not in the know?
PV: Oke, my name is Toko Yasuda. PLVS VLTRA is my first solo project which I started by compiling unfinished tracks and then decided to wrap them up by making deadlines. I now have 2 albums out so far. The first one is called Parthenon, released from my favorite label Spectrum Spools/(Editions Mego). The second release is called Yo-Yo Blue, out on cassettes/digital download from Field Hymns Records.
You’ve released two solo albums, but how did PLVS VLTRA come about? Has this always been an idea through your career or a more recent concept?
It is more a recent concept vs. planned. I’ve been compiling tracks and making up samples for some years which I didn’t know what to do with exactly. Then, I had a year where I mostly kept to myself around 2011 and it all started coming together.
Your musical CV is so impressive! You’ve played in so many great bands – how does being solo compare? What are the challenges? What have been some of the highlights of playing in those bands?
The most challenging part of being a solo act is to pull off a decent live set. And here I am, 2 releases later and played only 2 shows so far but, I feel like me standing alone on stage with musical toys might not be captivating enough. I’ll give a couple more tries and see how I feel about it. I’d love to continue making albums as PV although I haven’t felt the same excitement to play live like when I play with a band. When I go to see a great live band I can get goosebumps but, I usually don’t get that same feeling when I watch a lap-top-one-man-jam even when I enjoy one’s album a lot. So I feel bad for these people who are watching me pressing buttons on stage by myself.
There are always highlights with every bands I’ve been a part of. The most recent one would be with St.Vincent. Before I started playing with Annie, I was almost always exclusively in bands with just guys. It’s nice to have a female around on tour, especially someone like Annie who I am comfortable with. We laugh a lot and I have a great respect for her as a musician.
You most recent album is on cassette – how do you feel about the whole digital vs analogue thing?
I am a vinyl and cassette fan. I find cd’s wasteful since we now have mp3 players and no one covets their CDs that I know of. I personally prefer analogue sound in general, but it really depends on what kind of music you are making or listening to. You sure can tell the difference with the texture of the sounds on vinyl/cassette vs digital recordings when you pay attention to it but, it’s just another way to listen to the music in the end.
I often use a Tascam 244 to send signals to/from and then transfer it into the digital realm. That’s my effort to create a little more organic sounding tracks. If I am to make an album with live drums, I’d love to go to a decent studio and record the drums on 2″ multitrack tape, but it’s costly and am not making that sort of album right now so it doesn’t matter to me as much. For releasing my own music though, I look for a label who would release my album on vinyl, or cassette simply because it makes me happy to physically appreciate it as a tactile analog format, as I always have. I love the sound and I love the tactile object.
Future plans – will we see you returning to the bass and the band set-up? Touring plans for PLVS VLTRA maybe?
No touring plans for PLVS VLTRA just some local shows so far. Looks like I will be busy playing and touring with St.Vincent starting towards the end of this year. I am looking forward to reunite with everybody.
What does PLVS VLTRA mean?!
It means “further beyond”, and is the motto of Spain. I was inspired by this word when I visited Fonthill Castle in Doylestown which used to be a home of an archeologist, tile-maker Henry Chapman Mercer who I admire. ‘PLVS VLTRA’ was embellished in tile to one of his many fireplaces.
Band? The Band
PLVS VTRA’s new album Yo-Yo Blue is out now in Field Hymn Records.