Rozi Plain Interview

I met Rozi Plain before her gig at The Kino in Cork in December, the final night of the Sudden Club Weekender. On a busy Sunday evening in Christmas party season, we managed to find a not too noisy corner in Ryan’s Bar on North Main Street to have a chat (just a television showing rugby league you can hear in the background).

She’s a lovely character to spend some time with, full of energy and good cheer. She chooses her words carefully too, not in the sense of being cagey but to be precise I think. She started laughing at one point, I was asking her if her move to London from Bristol was hard. She seemed to agree but then baulked at the word “hard” a few times. “I’m having trouble saying the word hard”, she said, as if to say there are harder things in the world than moving to London, let’s keep a bit of perspective here. Not the average thing you’d expect to hear in a band interview and all the more interesting for that.

We also chatted about her early musical memories, coming over on family holidays from England to west Cork as a child, about Bristol as a place to live and a musical hub, and the Rozi franchise (her pick up bands on standby in Bristol, Scotland and France).

In talking about her current album, the wonderful Friend, it was also interesting that she seemed to suggest that it was the choice of collaborators rather than musical style that guided the recordings. In other words, there were certain people she trusted to play with who were available (some of Francois & the Atlas Mountains who Rozi has played bass with, the same guys who were playing in her band later that night), they were on her wavelength and the musical direction or arrangement almost chose itself once the people were on board.

The gig later that night was great, Rozi on guitar joined by three loopy French dudes (bass, keyboards, guitar) and a fairly stable looking English guy, the music a gorgeous drifting kosmische with deep bass grooves, lovely low key but danceable backbeats and bending high register synth lines. And Rozi’s presence in the centre of it – endearing, down to earth, persuasive, just like the tunes. Plus I can’t think of any other songwriter who could fit a Sun Ra (‘There is no day’) and Monks (‘Higgle Dy Piggle Dy’) tune into her set and make them completely her own without missing a beat.

Here’s the full interview (about 25 minutes).

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