Name: Plain Zebra
Genre: Blues, Folk, Indie
Line-up: Graham Baldrick (guitars, vocals, percussion), Michael McCafferty (Bass, Vocals), Vadim Zeberg (Vocals, Harmonica, Electric Accordion)
◀ Q & A ▶
▶ What’s the story behind your stage name?
Like many bands, coming up with a name is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. I think we had about 10 different names up on the white board in our practice room – some shockers! We were under a little pressure to come up with something as we had gigs and the EP launch to sort. No matter what name you pick, not everyone is gonna like it, but you just try and find something you can live with. For us, we wanted something a bit random. I suppose that adds some kind of mystery to it. In the end, we came up with Plain Zebra, and it just stuck.
▶ When did you start playing music together and how would you describe your sound?
Mick and Graham had been playing in Swanee River for a number of years and when that came to an end they decided that they wanted to try something a little different. They spent a few months just jamming and coming up with some ideas. They asked a few friends to sit in on drums so they could try and find a sound that they were happy with. Once they had an idea of the direction they wanted to go, they started to search for a particular type of vocal. They placed a small advert on line and Vadim got in contact. It’s really been a project that has grown and we’ve done that together.
It’s hard to describe our sound. We all love different types of music and have many influences but we try and find something we can all appreciate. At the minute we are really enjoying coming up with acoustic-based tunes with different layers. It’s a very organic process – one that we’ve really enjoyed. Some tunes are influenced by Blues or Soul; others, Indie, Folk, Americana, etc. With Vadim’s approach to melody and lyrics it really doesn’t matter what the main chord structure is as he has the ability to create a melody that sounds very different from what you would normally hear. So a 12-bar blues track becomes something totally different; but if you strip it back, it’s very simple. From the start, we decided that less is more and we’ve tried to stick to that. Why overcomplicate things when you’ve found the essence of the song? Let it shine through. It seems to be working for us as at last count we have around 20 tracks nearly completed.
▶ What music have you put out so far?
We work well together and are able to make our time in the practice room really productive. When we’re together, whether someone brings a riff or a chord structure or if it develops just from a jam, we find it relatively easy to come up with tracks that have substance. We released a 4 track EP in September last year and continue to produce tracks pretty much on a weekly basis. We had our track ‘Sorry about being blocked’ released on the last Broken Melody Records Compilation album, which gave us a good bit of exposure. We’ve put a number of rough mixes up on our soundcloud page as well as the EP.https://soundcloud.com/plain-zebra It’s nice to be able to share the new material we’re working on as well as getting some feedback. We hope to record a proper mixed and produced 4/5 track EP this coming year.
▶ Is there a particular live show which stands out amongst all the rest?
Our first show was short and sweet. We only had to play the 4 tracks off the EP but it was great to be able to share our new stuff with people and see their reactions. I know that our sound won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but those who were there really got it and we felt that at least we were moving in the right direction.
▶ What has been the highlight of the journey so far?
As I said earlier most of us have played and toured for a number of years so it’s hard to say what exactly but im sure there’s so many highlights still to come. Getting back into a professional studio would be a highlight for us. Spending 2 weeks locked away with only music on your mind is hard to beat. Anyone who has recorded at Einstein studios will know exactly what I mean. Frankie McClay has to be one of the best engineers around and if there’s something he doesn’t know it’s not worth knowing. The equipment and the craic are unbelievable. We would recommend him to anyone thinking of recording.
▶ You are in control of forming a 4 piece ‘super group’ – who is in it and what do they do?
George Formby– Uke, Animal – Drums, Krist Novoselic – Bass and Big Bird on Vocals! If we could squeeze one more in, Bill Clinton on Sax J
▶ If you were to go on a world tour and you could pick any 3 acts come along, who would they be?
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Eagles and Spinal Tap
▶ What would be the 3 strangest things on your rider if you were able to make any demand?
A Paddling Pool, Puppet Show and Copious Amounts of Red WineJ
▶ Who has been your biggest inspiration as a musician?
I think we would all answer this question very differently but Vadim would say Lou Reed
▶ Is there a particular aim or goal which you hope to achieve through music?
We’re in no rush to sell out stadiums and sign a big deal. Most of us have spent the best part of the last 10 years travelling the UK and Ireland playing with different bands. So we want to really enjoy what we are doing and remove all the bullshit that’s attached to this business. We want people to find us and enjoy the tracks we are producing without having them forced upon them. As I mentioned above, we want the music to be as organic as possible, and, most of all, we really hope we can continue enjoying what we’re doing. We have a number of gigs coming up over the next while, which we’ll be announcing shortly to our friends on our Facebook page. And if they fancy coming along and checking us out live, then that’s a bonus.
◀ LISTEN ▶
Facebook ▶ /PlainZebraBand