NOT YOUR TYPICAL GARAGE ROCK BAND
On the second day of III Points Festival, I had the opportunity to catch up with local favorites Plastic Pinks who are now on their fourth release with new EP El Animal due out November 5th. The band, who are now based in Miami, are trying to build off something new – composed of June Summer, Augie Pink, Rod Woolf, Dane Giordano, and Trevor Mustoe, it quickly becomes clear that they intend to move past the typical rock band stereotype and take their craft to the next level. We discussed the band’s formation, where the Miami music scene is headed, and what’s been spinning on their recent playlists.
VANESSA (HIGHLARK): Would you guys like to tell me a little bit about how you started off?
JUNE SUMMER (LEAD VOCALS // PLASTIC PINKS): Well, Augie and I are from Puerto Rico. We started making moves for the band and moved to Colorado, eventually we came here. Out of the love of making music and the need for it we started setting it up with other people we knew and now we’re here – with what I believe the most energetic and creative process at the moment for the band.
VANESSA: I’m actually a big fan of Gordon Raphael ever since he did the first two Strokes records. How was it like working with him?
AUGIE PINK (RHYTHM GUITAR + VOCALS // PLASTIC PINKS): So far we’ve only had, I guess, an ‘internet relationship’ – he’s been mixing our tracks and our EP that’s coming out now. We’ve basically been going back and forth on it; it’s more of an email, text, type of relationship as of now. He did say he’d be down to produce our third album so that will be hopefully sometime in the near future.
JUNE: You can still tell the mixing has been worked on, he’s done some great things for our music.
AUGIE: He made that Strokes sound what it is.
VANESSA: You guys have opened up for a lot impressive bands like the Black Lips, Thee Oh Sees, which one have you been the most hyped about for so far?
AUGIE: I want to say Ty Segall because it was the first time we got to play with someone we idolized.
JUNE: It was a personal thing, almost, because that was our first big break I believe, in terms of Miami. We had played with other big bands but back in Puerto Rico. Ty Segall was definitely one of those people we wanted to play with.
AUGIE: It felt like reassurance, like ‘alright you’re doing things right.’ The show was sold out, insane – it was at The Stage, which has since closed down.
JUNE: Also, SXSW – it was actually overwhelming. You’re playing with all these bands you love, at the same time. You get to be around all these people but not only that, their fans are also there to see you, so I feel like it’s just great energy.
AUGIE: It’s also eight shows in four days, so it’s a lot. But SXSW – it’s one of those things that make you feel like it’s worth doing what you’re doing.
VANESSA: You mentioned earlier that The Stage closed down, just like Grand Central, a cultural landmark for me. So where do you guys think the Miami music scene is headed right now?
JUNE: It depends on the people putting on the show, but I believe the main ones right now are Gramps and Churchill’s. Even though people start to knock it, they go and they realize – “this is what I’ve missed.”
AUGIE: Like he was mentioning, it really is about the people putting the show together and I feel like at the moment there are some who work so hard on bringing artists to South Florida and trying to make this scene thrive. Like Ghost Drag Records (our label), we’re just trying to make things happen, and the fact that there’s people are constantly thinking about that and working on it really shows. The scene is thriving and it’s definitely not going anywhere any time soon.
VANESSA: How do you think your cultural upbringing has shaped your sound?
JUNE: First of all, it makes you ferocious in a way; because here you are, in our case being from an island, you have to roar, you have to make sure people see you. You come from what they believe is a small place but to us it’s so huge – over here in Florida, people don’t expect it.
AUGIE: We’re like the black sheep of the United States – except for electronic music.
JUNE: The news doesn’t help us either. I feel like being from an island and being from Florida makes you want to spread out even more and actually have that activity and energy in doing what you’re doing, so I feel like it’s influenced our sound a lot and that’s why that energy’s there. It’s also just because of what we listen to. I feel like our personal selves combined from what we’ve heard has made a distinct sound for us.
AUGIE: I agree, I feel like that push to stand out really shows in our live sets. Like we are definitely ‘in your face’, we give everything we have every single second of that set. That’s all we have, nothing else but that.
VANESSA: What can you tell me about your experience with Burger Records?
DANE GIORDANO (BASS // PLASTIC PINKS): What’s so cool about Burger is that it’s like a modern take on record labels, with this punk ethic. Very DIY. Sean [Borhman] is constantly working, he never stops, he lives in the back of his record store, you know what I mean? It’s just that nitty-gritty, just very genuine and ‘sacrifice everything for the music’ type of mentality. They’re doing it for the right reasons. It’s nice to see rock and roll today going that route.
VANESSA: How do you think III Points is helping out the scene here?
JUNE: I feel like it’s helping incredibly, not only because it’s a festival that’s coming out with all types of music but you have local artists playing with big names. Not just that, they’re getting good time slots too. Throughout the 3 days they’re spread out and you have local talent playing every single one of them. The location helps too – Wynwood is a growing scene/area here in Miami.
TREVOR MUSTOE (DRUMS // PLASTIC PINKS): I think it’s great too that it allows local bands to get a taste of being at a festival, what comes along with that and whatever all that means; it’s just a taste of a bigger world. I find that very encouraging and inspiring.
JUNE: It also encourages people to tour. You get to feel this and now you want to play at other festivals, and now you’re like ‘okay, if that was a good experience now this will be too.’ If you’re already playing one, you get hooked to it. That craving just makes you want to do more.
AUGIE: It’s very much by the people, for the people. That’s something that rarely happens in Miami.
VANESSA: So what have you guys been listening to lately?
AUGIE: I’ve been listening to this trap, hip-hop group from Puerto Rico named Fuete Billete.
DANE: I just found out about Parquet Courts, and I’m getting on a little Charles Mingus kick, like late at night at 3 AM.
TREVOR: I’ve been on a Bonnie Raitt tip… I don’t know why, but she’s tight, so..
JUNE: I’ve been listening to a little bit of everything. I think King Gizzard was a big one for a little bit, I still listen to it a lot but for a few weeks he was always there.
DANE: The new Temples song is good.
AUGIE: Yeah, we listened to that fifteen times this morning.
JUNE: Big shout-out to Jacuzzi Boys, been listening to a couple of their most recent tracks and that was real good as well.
VANESSA: What’s next for you guys? I know you’re releasing this new EP, and then…
JUNE: Yes, right now we’re releasing this EP that’s coming out on November 5th titled ‘El Animal.’ We’re actually doing a show at Churchill’s Pub to celebrate it. It’s going to be like a mini-fest, a lot of local artists playing – some from Orlando, St. Pete – we’re doing that because we like to make Florida more accessible to each other. We like to connect all the different cities.
AUGIE: Yeah, so it’s not just the Miami scene, more like the Florida scene.
JUNE: Then, a little bit later on, we’ll be touring a few dates with Broncho. Then we go out and do a mid and east tour. Next year hopefully early on we’ll be releasing our second album. Full-length, I think it’s fourteen to fifteen songs as of now.
VANESSA: Does it have a title yet? That’s exciting.
JUNE: Attentively, it’s “Don’t Forget the Mischief.” You’re going to hear different sounds, we’ll be exploring a lot more. We’re also trying to kill the stereotype of the garage rock band and just be that rock-and-roll band – yeah, we play garage, but it doesn’t mean we’ll do the same thing over and over again. We don’t want to limit ourselves.
[+] PLASTIC PINKS