Rozi Plain is one of my newest favourite artists and I’m sure her unique brand of folk will win you over as well. Originating from Winchester where she learnt her craft with help from musical mate Kate Staples (This Is The Kit) who she often performs with, Rozi moved to Bristol and continued to progress her talent starting Cleaner Records collective with her pal Rachael Dadd and brother Sam (Romanhead). Now living in London as a fully-fledged musician, Rozi has recently released her third album, Friend, which we can’t recommend more (have a look at what we said about the album here) and has put her in the limelight as one of the UK’s finest folk acts. I Spoke to Rozi before her amazing set supporting This Is The Kit (have a read of the review here) at Green Door Store.
Can you remember the first time you played an instrument?
I used to play along to the automated keyboard demo on the keyboard we had at home, pretending to play it. Then my brother taught me some chords on the guitar and how to play ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ by Radiohead which was the song I learnt how to play. Kate taught me a lot of stuff as well. They were both why I started playing music.
What did you do before you were playing music?
There are these ferry boats that go round Bristol Harbour. I was one of the crew and then became part of the maintenance team before working in a few boat yards around Bristol repainting boats when they came out of the water. When I moved to London I did it a bit – I painted a friends boat last summer.
What are your main influences for your sound?
The people I know I think influenced me the most. I like repetitive basslines and simply groves. I love African music. My brother introduced me to a lot of music when I was growing up. He got really into The Beta Band, which I then got into and that was a real life changer.
Has your sound always stayed the same?
It has always progressed but it always sounds like my songs. When I first listened back to my new album, I couldn’t believe how different my sound was – but it is definitely me.
How did you approach the writing process?
A few of them had been kicking around for a while, others I wrote fairly recently. A couple of them I wrote close to when we recorded the album, which was nice as they were really fresh. Sometimes I will have a burst of writing, but I don’t necessarily have a system.
Is the recording process something you enjoy?
Yeah, especially when recording Friend. It was probably one of the best times of my life. We did it really quickly in three days, and it was an intense and amazing experience. It was really different to the album before which was long, drawn out and full of doubt, when this felt easy and more straight forward.
‘Actually’ is a song we can’t stop listening to and has such a heavenly sound, what is the meaning behind it?
It is about knowing its ok to have a hard time. ‘Actually’ is the first song on Friend which is quite fitting, as it is a bit of a break up album. Even though I didn’t really think of it in this way, it sets the vibe for the album. (The first line on Friend: “It will be report to be / A difficult year/ A tumultuous year”)
What are you listening to at the moment?
I listen to a lot of radio and podcasts, especially Radiolab. There is this amazing one called ‘A Four Track Mind’ about one of the best ragtime musicians in the world that can imagine four different pieces of music playing simultaneously but at different times. I have been listening to a lot of Robert Wyatt and Richard Dawson. Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument, released on the Awesome Tapes From Africa is up there with my favourite albums of all time