If you don’t want a spoiler, look away now… and find this clatter duo in your own good time

Photography by Simon Leak

If you don’t want a spoiler, look away now… and find this clatter duo in your own good time

So, what do we know about Plug? We know they’re a band comprised of two girls; one of them plays drums, the other plays keyboard and bass. We also know their names are Georgie and Sian. We do not know, however, which one of them plays what. Furthermore, the few press blurbs one unearths after extensive Internet trawling shed little light on what sort of music Plug make. Some describe it as “quirky and amusing”; others brand the sound as “menacing and gloomy”. The majority settle for the now somewhat ambiguous category of Post-Punk. As far as comparisons to other artists are concerned, journalists have drawn parallels to the likes of Delta 5, Robots in Disguise, Joy Division, the Slits‚”

“We get compared to The Slits a lot,” admits Sian, which is not a big surprise, but the girls admit that some other references are more than a little baffling. Of course they have influences – not that they are about to name drop – but they aren’t aiming for a specific result, and as such they say, “It’s a natural process and we know what we’d like to sound like and we know we’re not there yet but we’re not‚” trying‚” to sound like something.”

The way Sian says “trying” expresses itself like an unpleasant taste in her mouth. While the band are more or less comfortable with the minimalist Post-Punk pigeonhole they frequently find their music placed in, if you ask them, they’ll look you straight in the eye and tell you they think what they are playing are pop songs. That said, whether it be punk or pop, there is certainly an element of minimalism in Plug’s music and that ties in neatly with the band’s ethos.
It’s no accident that it is so tough to find any substantial information about this duo; in reaction to an over-hyped music scene they have made a conscious choice to be less accessible – “It’s quite hard to Google us” – and the girls try to avoid being shoved in people’s faces. But haven’t they been touring a bit to promote their new single? “We’ve been playing more frequently”, says Georgie, cautiously.

“But we wouldn’t say we’re promoting,” adds Sian.

Speaking of singles, let’s talk about the artwork: the current vinyl, the Parlour Records released ‘B-Boy’, is branded with a picture of the Dalai Lama and the previous release bore the image of Nelson Mandela. “People think it’s a series and everyone asks us who’s going to be on the next one but we don’t know,” says Sian. “Our friend designed the artwork and the pictures were his idea.”
Soon to be recording single number three, folks are already trying to predict what face will be on the next release by Plug. Barack Obama is a popular guess, possibly based on a theory that the band are making some sort of political statement, which they absolutely insist is not the case.

So if there’s no particular meaning behind the artwork on their records, does the choice of the name Plug come from anywhere? Erm‚” no, they say it comes from nowhere; it’s just a word. I suggest that it has quite a few literal meanings, one of them, deliciously ironic, being to promote, and it also has a handful of connotations, some of which are a bit‚” dirty. The girls glance at one another blankly, briefly bemused. “Like what? Butt plug?” offers Georgie. Well, yes, but you said it first, not me‚” “We did think about using Butt Plug as our DJ name.” Fantastic, someone book these ladies for a DJ set, please.

Back to business, with two singles out and another in the pipeline, one wonders if recording works differently than playing live – how two girls manage to play three instruments between them. Do they bring in a session musician for the studio or record the bass and keys separately? “It’s the same as playing live, I play the bass with my hands and the keyboard with my feet.”

They go on to explain that the band started life as a three piece and when the number of music-playing appendages decreased, the options were to drop an instrument, sprout another pair of arms or utilise what limbs were available. It’s impressive to say the least, and quite unusual, though perhaps no less unusual than a band who actively avoid developing a fan base. Although that’s not entirely accurate: it’s not that Plug don’t want fans, it’s more a case of wanting to be sought out, to be discovered through word of mouth or to be tracked down after multiple online searches as opposed to subscribing to a scene and gaining interest based on something superficial. Georgie and Sian want people to focus on their music so what does it matter which one is on the drums and which one plays a keyboard with her toes?

By Polly Rappaport

Originally published in issue 6 (vol. 3) of Loud And Quiet. May 2009

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