Today’s Feature, August 19-20: People In Planes

January 18, 2008 at 5:33 pm (Today's Feature)

I’ve researched and written about dozens of artists for inclusion on – but the five piece rock band, People in Planes, are unique… to me anyway. It was just last summer that I ventured into downtown Baltimore for a concert and learned that People in Planes would play the opening act. Honestly, having never heard of the band before, I didn’t plan on finding their performance especially memorable. However, I was pleasantly surprised by their distinctive style, palpable confidence and stimulating blend of melodies that stuck in my head even after the band that I originally came to see took the stage.

What surprised me even more was the fact that during the headlining act, People in Planes ñ Gareth Jones, Peter Roberts, Ian Russel, Kris Blight and John Maloney were actually mingling with the crowd right behind us ñ talking, taking pictures, drinking and enjoying the rest of the show. I said a few words to them about enjoying their performance, and found that the boys from Porthcawl, Wales UK were just a group of regular guys, not playing up some gimmick or character that so many sellouts tend to do to catch a break in the entertainment industry. They had something to them – a skeleton that backed up that confidence.

Much like their music, People in Planes have a natural and honest way about them. They believe that music needs to be a natural creation, something that comes out of honesty. They go as far to describe their compositions as “cutting edge rock music utilizing the warm aesthetic tones of vintage equipment and natural organic sound.î While you can purchase “As Far As the Eye Can See” in record stores right now, look out for the follow-up that is currently being recorded. Read on for their answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: People in Planes (PEV): How and when did People In Planes form as a band?

People in Planes (PIP): We formed in Porthcawl comprehensive school where we’re all from in South

Wales. Gaz got us all together from different school bands for our first

practice (originally as a four piece) in his mum’s front room when we were

around 16 years old. We called ourselves Robots In The Sky and soon put out

a red 7″ vinyl ‘double a’ side on local indie Complete Control. Then after

being together for about 2 years we signed to EMI and changed our name to

Tetra Splendour because there was another band called “Robots In ‘Disguise.'”

We put out 3 singles and an album with them, but kind of got swallowed up in

the wake of Kylie and Robbie Williams etc. We basically then added a new

member and focused the sound to become People In Planes, and came to New

York to play a showcase in the Mercury lounge, and in a whirlwind of a few

days got offered a deal with Wind Up Records.

PEV: What were your early inspirations or what made you decide to

pursue a career in music?

PIP: Amphetamines. Cold dark nights around a camp fire hitting stolen golf

balls into the brown sea. Being at one with nature is essential to create

music. Music is natural.

PEV: There’s an old expression, “What’s in a name?” and I have to ask, what does the name People In Planes mean/refer to?

PIP: When people travel through the air at great speeds- particularly when going on holiday (vacation) or business excursions to other cities in an aeronautical conveyance.

PEV: Coming from Cardiff, Wales, what was it like to perform in the

States for the first time and was it what you had expected?

PIP: It was great. It was unusual. People liked us!

PEV: Tell us about the music scene in Cardiff, Wales and how is it

different from the music in America?

PIP: It’s definitely different to native American music. The rock scenes are

the same though. Brits love American bands, and all the Welsh metal bands

sound uncannily like the American ones. We’re not metal by the way! Well

maybe in a folky sort of way.

PEV: How are the fans in Europe different then those in the US?

PIP: Much more multi-lingual.

PEV: What can we expect from your debut album “As Far As The Eye Can


PIP: Well we’re currently in the studio recording the follow-up to that record

(get with the program!). I think generally though with our records you can

expect a diverse sound. We’re soundscapey, cinematic.

PEV: Describe the creative and writing process behind “As Far As The

Eye Can See”? How long did it take to write and record?

PIP: With our first record as PIP we were between labels so it was very

relaxed. With this record we’ve been writing it in phases since the last

record, but more intensely for about the last six months. This new record is very exciting because we’re using multiple producers to enhance the diversity of the sound.

PEV: What was it like the first time you stepped into a recording studio?

PIP: I was about 14. Played some guitar in my brother’s band. We did a demo. I remember feeling mature. That’s quite funny now!

PEV: Is there a certain atmosphere the band surrounds itself in when writing music?

PIP: Happy thoughts. Lots of caffine.

PEV: You have traveled all over the world. Which city do you think

offers the best environment for music?

PIP: New Orleans has a musical tone seeping from every crack in its jazzy

walls. We went there just after the storm. Pretty scary, but actually not

that depressing in the French Quarter. Business as usual in most bars.

PEV: What do all your friends and family back home in think about your success?

PIP: They are wondering when are we going to grow up and get a proper job.

Sceptical bastards! No, I suppose no-one outside the band can understand the reality. It’s such an insular existence.

PEV: If you could collaborate with one artist, alive or deceased, who would it be and why?

PIP: Prince. Because I heard that he can play seventeen instruments all at the

same time! And he gives his music away for free. What a saint! (even though

he’s got 20 billion quid in the bank!)

PEV: What is the best part about playing live? And what can fans

expect from a live People In Planes show?

PIP: Probably loads of broken strings and dodgy cables. Usually chaotic.

Occasionally controlled.

PEV: How has life on the road been for you? Best and worst parts.

PIP: I wouldn’t disclose the worst parts. That would put people off their next

meal. It’s had its ups and downs. When you’ve been off the road a while you

really miss it. After 6 months straight it can make you go a bit strange.

Still, can’t complain!

PEV: If I were to walk into your studio right now, what is one thing I would be surprised to find?

PIP: Uuuh, our blow up sex dolls???! A civilized group of welsh musicians??

PEV: When you aren’t writing or performing, what can we find you doing?

PIP: Playing chess to become more successful humans.

PEV: Is there another band on the scene right now that you think we should be checking out?

PIP: I recently stumbled across a three piece band that were going by the name

‘So Chill’, yet later I learnt that they were also traveling around a

country under the names ‘Brain Freeze’ and ‘Slurpee’. There is a link

somewhere if you think about it. All the same the line up consisted of one

male and one female in their early twenties, and a character that went by

the name of Father- but he obviously was not one of their guardians as he

was even younger looking than they were, and was putting away Jack Daniels

as if it were wild boar at a Gaul’s banquet, and that is not the impression

you want to be setting for your kids now is it?!

They set the night on fire.

PEV: Is there something you miss most about Calif, Wales? And/or is

there something from home you just can’t find in the states?

PIP: Heinz baked beans.

PEV: So, what is next for People In Planes?

PIP: Finish the record. Hit the road. Thank you, goodnight.

Check out People in Planes at


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