Plague Vendor will play Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff on April 17 following the release of a new song Isua from their album Bloodsweat. Co-produced with Stuart Sikes and mixed by Alan Moulder, and it vastly expands on the sonic territory explored in their debut.
During the recording process, Plague Vendor aimed to capture each track in as few takes as possible, avoiding many overdubs and embracing the same minimal production they bring to their live performances. Nearly all of the eleven songs on Bloodsweat were heavily road-tested, imagined, and re-imagined live before ever making it into the studio. The foursome spent the last two years playing endless live shows, filling everywhere from backyard parties to clubs to festivals.
Palpable tension comes from the sense that anything could happen, and certainly you feel that way when listening to Bloodsweat. But mostly Plague Vendor is interested in simplicity and the sort of expressive nakedness that can come from stripping everything away. Bloodsweat invokes its own name as it unfurls, edged with a sense of danger and vulnerability. Andy Howells recently put questions to Jay Rogers from the band.
How did you come together as a band?
Me, Luke, and Brandon got together at my lock-out studio my old band had after we broke up. Our intentions were to start a dark blues band but we decided we needed a bass so we recruited Mike because he was the best fit. So it goes..
How would you describe your music?
Dark rock n roll with a groovy twist.
Who are your musical inspirations?
We are all big fans of Liars and Underworld. Also, The Stooges and The Cramps hold a special place in our hearts.
Can you tell us about your current release?
With Bloodsweat we wanted to push the boundaries of our songwriting. Our goal was to make our songs tighter and longer with grooves that can get stuck in your head; we took inspirations from all over. A lot of the songs were written months or years apart so there are many differences between the songs but they also sound like they all came from the same session which we are all really proud of.
What’s been your live show highlight so far?
This last month at SXSW we played the Fluffer Pit party sometime around midnight. It was rad because we played on the ground surrounded by a bunch of people just waiting to party! It made for a really intense show. So much fun!
What can we expect from your forthcoming Cardiff Gig?
We're going to top the Fluffer Pit party at this show that's for sure. We are way too stoked to be playing back in the U.K. There will be no disappointments!
What can we expect from you in the future?
We are currently in the process of writing our third record. It's too early to say how it's going to turn out as a whole but we're definitely keeping those dark groovy songs in there and we love to road test them so keep your ears open.
- A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on April 15, 2016.