Quick Fire Interview – P.L.O.

Guitarist, musician, producer, mix engineer…P.L.O.

Winner of the 2006 BBC Urban Talent award for his mixing and production skills, P.L.O. has gone on to work on projects featuring some of the finest artists making hip-hop today, including Chino XL, Oddisee, Homeboy Sandman, Shad, Gift of Gab (of Blackalicious), Elucid, Von Pea (of Tanya Morgan), Che Grand, and UK artists such as Dubbledge, Ben Grymm, Jehst, Sonnyjim, as well as every last one of his label mates. A truly talented all rounder, P.L.O. is also the in-house recording & mixing engineer at AssociatedMinds. and oversees nearly every record released by the label. His non-stop commitment to the crafting of music has been recognised further afield and led to him being commissioned to work for, amongst others, BBC Radio 1, S4C, Native Instruments, boutique sample library creators Sonic Couture and world-leading studio hardware manufacturers, Solid State Logic.

I met P.L.O. on the same BBC thing that I met Mayor – http://www.moyma.co.uk/2011/06/quick-fire-associated-minds/ Other winners of his round were: Jungle Drummer, Beni G (Jack Beats), Yungun. On first meeting he had a seemingly cold demeanour…just look at his pic!! Geezer is gona rip ya adam’s apple out of your throat with two fingers if you’re using the wrong desk to mix on! 🙂 Im playing…The old adage fits here as you will misread this ‘book’ if you don’t spend time talking to him. He is one of the most helpful knowledgeable producers I have met. I have spent time with him in his studio and he has schooled me on all sides of music production: gear, composition, music theory. He also works from early eve to the next morning regularly. I cant keep up but I respect the Associated Minds work ethic.

How would you describe your music? Future hip step with a post ironic dub twist…No. I make loads of styles of music, for all sorts of different projects. But they all have a firm root in hip-hop.

What was your first exposure to Hiphop? Aerosmith – Walk This Way.

What do you class as ‘good’ Hiphop music? If i’m honest it’s usually something that when i hear, i wish i’d been involved in.

What projects have you been working on this year?

– Mud & Meta’s ‘Sledgehammer Kisses’ LP that has been making big noise and getting much love all over. – Collaboration EP with the Eatgood Records crew called ‘The Highball’ – Metabeats 2nd solo LP featuring Oddisee, Von Pea, Elucid, Marvwon, Ralph Rip Shit and a whole lot more – P.L.O.’s instrumental LP. – Ruffstylz ‘Horserider’  feat Gift Of Gab, Homeboy Sandman. – Some one of tracks like Hold That and Bongproof feat. Sonnyjim that are on their way. – Willo Wispa’s full LP

I’m working on two projects of my own, plus i record, mix and am heavily involved in all of the above.

What is your set up? I use Logic Pro to do basically everything from start to finish, I have a bunch of instruments, and kick ass monitoring. It’s all about the monitoring…

What is your writing process? I either start with figuring out a cool chord progression, or put down some drums. If drums are first, chords are usually next, but sometimes just messing around with synths and programming some patches can spark ideas, and a synth line will come out of nowhere. Sometimes ideas come up when i’m practicing on the keys or guitar. If i don’t want to ‘start up’ all the studio gear and just focus on the writing, i sometimes record ideas on my iPhone so i don’t forget them. Sometimes i’ll record a few things on my Yamaha Motif’s sequencer, just to get the idea down. It’s usually a chord progression. Everything falls into place from there.It really depends on what style i’m making, though. I have a few distinct styles so i’ll reach for different instruments and techniques for each style. But it generally revolves around launching Logic and hoping for a good day.

How easily do you get seduced to buy new gear? What new kit are you looking for? I have a fair amount of gear, but nothing i don’t use daily. I don’t buy anything unless it’s either going to make my music ‘better’ in some way, make the process faster, easier and more enjoyable, and it has to be something that won’t be replaced in the next few years (other than computers hardware). Preferably all of the above! I currently have my eye on a few older synths, a couple more hardware compressors for tracking and mixing, and am slowly saving up to buy an SSL Matrix to be the hub of the studio. It’s a lotta cash… i am filling up my SSL X-Rack in the meantime! None of the things i buy or want to buy are cheap enough to be impulse purchases, so saving up, sacrificing, or budgeting for high end stuff squashes any chance of getting seduced by flashing LEDs. You have to really want/need it as it’s serious cash. The key is to never go into debt for any gear…

What is the style of your solo project? I’m actually working on two solo projects; a sexy, synthy, (mainly) instrumental album called ‘Makeout Music’. It’s steamy. But when i say ‘instrumental’ – it’s not a beat tape with 35 unfinished tracks that i haven’t been bothered to get a rapper on – it’s actual songs, some of which don’t have vocals on. There are a fair few tracks with vocals on anyway, and it’s not over yet. I don’t think you can really class it as hip-hop – it’s more ‘electronic’. But lovers of ‘good music’ will hopefully like and enjoy it, regardless of its genre. Either way, i haven’t heard another artist out that’s created a collection of songs that sound like the album i’ve created (so far), so hopefully that’s a good sign. The other project is a jazzy, soulful, musical hip-hop album, with real instruments recorded in ‘one takes’, no synths, no edits, no tricks… with a range of badass emcees (the names of which i don’t want to give away just yet) on top to give it back the edge. Think The Roots meets D’Angelo meets Badu meets the raw raps that i grew up listening to…

What advice would you give to up and coming producers? Easy one – learn to play the keys (at least a little), and the drums too if you can swing it (hah). The first part at least, is not an option. Just do it.

Fav Food? Mama P’s ‘Dolma’. Secret recipes…

What is selling out to you? I don’t think this is relevant to 99.9% of people who make music in 2011, seriously don’t worry about it. If you’re in the position where selling out is anything to think about, then either way you’re doing very well – worry about it then.

Fav rapper? Can’t decide between Big Pun, Black Thought, and Mos Def…

Fav producer? Just Blaze.

Chess or draughts? I’m all about chess club, son.

Builders or green? Yeah, no idea what this is about.

Fav album? Extreme – Waiting for the Punchline.

What music are you listening to at the moment? ‘Recently played in iTunes’: Erykah Badu, The Roots, Chilly Gonzales, Sebastien Tellier, Blu, Elzhi, Kavinsky, Nuno Bettencourt, Led Zeppelin

Funeral Song? Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms

Future projects? Un-named project between Elucid produced entirely by Meta & P. A

Keep posted on this guy. I heard some stuff from his forthcoming solo album…really really good stuff.



P.L.O can be contacted for mixing or session guitar work at: P.L.O@associatedminds.com

more Quick Fire next week…


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