LAST FLIGHT TO PLUTO, the best new monicker as of lately and also one of the best "up-and-coming" Prog-Rock bands out of UK. I really do enjoy their splendid blend(er) of old school and modern progressive music. "A Drop In The Ocean" at www.whiteknightrecords.co.uk the second album from the female fronted band and it was recorded at Oakwood Church Studios in South Wales under the stewardship of Nick Loyd. The arrangements and songwriting by drummer Daz Joseph and vocalist/guitarist Alice Freya - really something out of the ordinary. We had a quick chat with their singer. Here's ALICE FREYA...
Could you explain the meaning and connection behind the vivid artwork/cover and the title of A Drop In The Ocean?
Each drawing visualises the lyrics. A style we adopted on our debut album See You At The End. We like to capture the essence of the song, using the artwork, like a storybook with rich illustrations. The front cover sees the characters of the book heading towards the cliff tops, high above the ocean. I think that social media is destroying our compassion as people. We're becoming desensitized to everything that's going on around us. People jump on Facebook and put a status up like 'Im having a bad day' , but it'll probably just get overlooked, even though that person might be trying to reach out for help. So in amongst it all , your problem is just another 'Drop In The Ocean'. All the songs on the album are about some kind of personal upheaval.
Kindly inform us about 'Masheena'. It's a pretty sad story about feeling trapped and ehh... the whole robot thing?
Originally we wanted Masheena to be about humanlike robots, doing everything for mankind. We rely on technology so much these days, we all panic when our phone battery is running low or the internet is down. But during writing the lyrics to Masheena, I felt that there was another, much darker theme running through them. That's when I decided that the song actually has two stories, the technology side and the domestic violence / feeling of entrapment enslavement side.
Do tell us something about the writing process and what you're trying to capture.
We stuck to our formula of Daz writing most of the music and me writing most of the lyrics. Daz would come to me and play me his ideas and then we'd chat about the vibe the song was giving us, to create the story behind it.
What kind of input did your record company have during the process?
The record company didn't have any input, they actually got involved after the album was recorded.
According to the press-release, you're a female fronted prog band. Is that still important in 2019? Female vs. male. Do people treat you differently?
I think that women are used as sex symbols in almost all music genres. Is prog any different? I'd like to think so. I don't feel like I'm under any pressure to dress a particular way or have a provocative photograph to boost my bands popularity. I think prog fans are much more open minded and accepting. I do feel adding the female tag is important, because there's not as many women in prog as there should be. So in my own small way, I'm trying to inspire others.
Would you say it's easier or more difficult to come up with songs/titles/lyrics as you progress as a band?
We definitely felt more pressure writing the second album compared to the first. When we released See You At The End, no one knew who we were, so there were no expectations. After a small tour, a Limelight feature in PROG magazine and a slot at Trinity 3, with Steve Rothery headlining, we were suddenly a name, albeit a small one. By the second album we'd established our sound, I found it easier to write the lyrics, because I understood the ebbs and flows of Daz' writing style. He on the other hand found the process harder. Trying to recreate the sound we originally made, but to move it on, let it evolve and become chapter two in the history of Pluto.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind prior to recording?
We wanted it to be big, bold and in your face whilst keeping sweet, lush melodies and undertones.
What inspired you to write the lyrics about the "Supergirl".
I grew up in a rough part of South Wales, where drugs, alcohol and police sirens were every day things. The song was inspired by an old friend who I grew up with, that moved to London to seek her fame and fortune. She ended up addicted to crack and was selling her body on the streets. Thankfully she's now cleaned herself up and living a happier life.
How did you hook up with Rob Reed (Magenta) and what did he bring to the table?
Daz really wanted a piano section on Masheena and decided to contact his old friend Rob Reed, who he hadn't seen for 15 years. Rob recorded his parts, but it wasn't until a few months later he heard the song in full and decided to sign us to White Knight Records.
Would you say it's difficult to be a Prog-Rock band from Wales?
In terms of venues, yes. South Wales is under siege from pub covers bands, with only a handful of places accepting of original music.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do...
We hope that anyone that's purchased the album gets as much enjoyment and excitement listening to it, as we did making it. We're currently planning our tour. Hope to see you all out there./ Alice Freya.
Interview by: Urban Wally Wallstrom