Why did you decide to take a pseudonym, and what does it mean?
I studied music production at Point Blank in Hackney in 2006-2007. At some point in the course, my tutor (Steve Travell) assigned us all to set up a Myspace. For shyness, or secrecy or some reason, I didn’t want to use my real name. He said to pick a nickname and change it later. Since I was born, my family have called me Plum, coined by my dad, who can’t remember where it started…but I used that for the Myspace, and then uploaded the music I had made on the course to date (Fairies and Toys were released on The Whispering Chamber EP later that year on Summer Rain Recordings) and it just stuck.
Tell us about the album concept… How important is it to have a concept as opposed to just a collection of songs? Was it always a concept, or did it grow organically?
I’d never tried writing to a concept before, so that made me want to give it a shot. I moved to a cottage in the Scottish Borders to write the album, and was surrounded by nature, and that’s where the idea started. I then wrote The Seed (the first track and the album title) and basically that gave me the whole concept. For this album, the concept tied everything together for me. I think it’s really important for an album to work as a story, and the concept was a great way to tell a story using lots of plant based metaphors.
‘The Seed’ was fan funded – how did this come about / work?
Well I applied unsuccessfully to the PRS Women Make Music fund to write and self release the album. When that fell through I turned to crowd funding as my only option. It was fantastic…and terrifying because it’s all or nothing. If you don’t reach the goal, you get nothing. But there were hundreds of supportive people out there who bought various packages which helped me to reach the target and for them I am forever grateful! I hit the target a day before the deadline.
How do you view the importance of the Internet with what you do, and in general within the industry?
I find it hard to imagine doing it without the Internet. I was working on some music for an advert the other day – had to send it remotely to Amsterdam. I couldn’t afford to do half of this without the internet. It’s very important I guess, and social media too. Has been a fantastic way to spread the word without the financial backing of a major label to push the marketing.
What other musicians influence you?
PJ Harvey, Feist, Bjork, Imogen Heap, The Knife…since writing The Seed, I’ve discovered Grimes who I think writes in a similar way to how I started – maybe because it’s loop based. Love her work. She’s great! I don’t know, I love a lot of Scottish music too – Capitals, I Build Collapsible Mountains, Frogpocket, Christ., Boards of Canada, Araya, …
Who/what are you inspired by, outside of music?
Travel, poetry, people, love, sadness, weather, dreams, film…everything around me really.
What have you got planned for the rest of the year?
Well I just quit my job to do music, so am hoping to tour more, to work on music videos, work on new music, I’ve been offered a residency at Dance Base with Emma Park of Black Swan Dance to look at involving dancers in the live set (as a performance piece rather than as backing dancers)… work on music for films, TV and adverts, that’s always fun. I’m hoping to get out to LA in October to the Film and TV Music Conference in Hollywood. And I have been talking to Buck 65 about maybe collaborating on his next album. I love his music.
Finally, what is your worst personality trait?
Oooh – I have a few to choose from. Probably the worst is that I care too much. It’s a problem. I wish I could care less about a lot of things.
Plum is Edinburgh based musician Shona Maguire. Her new album ‘The Seed’ is out now. More info at www.plumtunes.com
by 247 Magazine