Dot Plaza are a band who excel at mix-matching the very best of 1960's and 1970's Rock and Roll styles. "Like The Beatles and modern-day Dr Dog", they confess. It's a fusion which creates one highly appealing and referential collage. But there's more to Dot Plaza brainchild Erich Tomkinson than meets the eye. Third introduces...
"No one in my family plays any instruments, but my parents had incredibly good taste. I don't consider myself a great guitarist. I don't consider myself a great singer, great drummer, bassist, pianist or keyboardist. I guess I never spent enough time on one single instrument to actually get exceptionally good at one. But I don't think you have to be a good musician to make your music enjoyable to someone else".
"Solitude. Some of the best sounds happen when no one else is listening. I think I kept my phone in a shoe box during most of the recording of this record. Friends would call and wonder where I was, and sometimes they thought I was dead. I like to leave it all outside. I find most comfort when I'm alone".
"The name Dot Plaza is what we call my current house. It's a small guest house near downtown Santa Barbara. It's detached from a big main house, on this estate. I recorded everything in that guest house. I'm able to record drums full blast late at night and virtually no one will hear it.
I don't have a bathroom or kitchen in there. I have to walk outside to the main house for that. I just have my bed, and the rest of the space is taken up with guitars, keyboards, drums, and other fun stuff.
I use a BBQ to cook most of my meals, it's like I'm camping 24/7. I could've moved into a standard apartment, but this situation was too good to pass up. Without it this album probably wouldn't exist".
"I once kicked our bass player Josh on stage to try and get his attention. Lights were flashing everywhere, we couldn't see much. I wanted to end the song, but he thought I wanted to keep going. It was a communication breakdown for sure. But it worked out. This kind of goes to the free-form idea. I'd rather play a show that is riddled with imperfections, than play a show that is completely perfect. It's more exciting that way."
"I always feel the need to be making something"
On Industria, Dot Plaza's second outing, the band send out a fussy 'compendium' of carefully curated history which finds itself spilling in all sorts of erratic directions. They brazenly re-assemble classic Pop elements into free-wheeling songs. It's best described as a melt of old sounds, into weird, wild, new shapes. It's no wonder Erich's favourite records are The Velvet Underground's Loaded, Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and Syd Barrett's The Madcap Laughs.
Their approach to Psych-Pop revivalism is to be admired. It definitely portrays the "cram-it-all" enthusiasm of teenagers discovering Rock staples for the first time. But the approach to the music and songwriting is delivered with such freshness, a different attitude to Pop aesthetics which make the music all the more fun.
Mama's Really Down sums up the collage idea eluded to in the introduction. It's the best example of a fresh musician soaking up the best bits of classic Pop music and creating a new kind of musical fusion. Cold Breeze is another track which is also living up to expectations, though we have the impression it's the boy's hundredth take and his voice is becoming knackered. A sip of mint tea, perhaps?