Plantoid

It took Plantoid three moves around the UK – from Lincoln to London to Brighton – for roots to form, to find a supportive record label, for their career to blossom further. Although the bandmembers are still young in age, theirs is certainly not an overnight success.

We’ve probably been going for about eight, nine years,” fresh-faced co-founder and guitarist Tom Coyne tells us, recalling the time when the band were called Mangö. “We’d been doing all the same London pub gigs, and then Covid happened… we were on the verge of splitting up.”

A new city and a new name brought opportunities. Playing a New Year’s Eve show in Brighton in 2021, a rep from Bella Union happened to be in the audience. Label founder Simon Raymonde then went to the next show, contacting them shortly after.

We get this message from Simon Raymonde, from the Cocteau Twins!” Coyne laughs, “and we didn’t open it for a week, we thought it was spam. We did a bit of research, found out that it //was// him. We then went to meet him for a coffee and he was a lovely guy who, unbelievably, wanted to work with us.”

Raymonde has good taste – just look at the Bella Union catalogue – but Plantoid were also gaining a reputation as “the best live band in Brighton”, their style an exciting, often noisy mix of jazz, indie and post-rock with a mighty measure of jazz-fusion included. Their influences go back to the nucleus of Coyne and vocalist-guitarist Chloe Spence, who met at Lincoln College.

Grimsby-born Coyne would spend time at Spence’s home in the tiny village of Cadney where they would write together, greatly encouraged by their mentor Dave Mallett, the Head Of Music at the College and a local legend playing many nights around piano bars, getting students to perform alongside him. But where did the progressive influence come from?

I’m a guitarist and I’ve always been a fan of guitar music,” Coyne says, “So first it was Guns N’Roses and AC/DC. Chloe had a record player in her back room and we’d play her mum and dad’s collection all the time. That’s when we got interested in Pink Floyd and //Tubular Bells//. Some of the music was wild, and that was pretty inspiring.”

As time went on, the pair would find further inspirations: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine and Mahavishnu Orchestra for Coyne, Jeff Buckley, Sarah Vaughn, Robert Plant and Nai Palm from Aussie funkateers Hiatus Kaiyote for Spence. Eventually they’d find bassist Bernardo Larisch (“he’s the Portuguese Jaco Pastorius”) and talented drummer Louis Bradshaw.

No Plantoid song ends as it started; the listener just has to strap themselves in for the ride, which could end up //anywhere//. This is evident in the recently-released debut album //Terrapath//. It features songs from across the band’s lifespan with the funky prog of //Modulator// the most recent and epic, cinematic album opener //Is That You?// “one of the first things we ever wrote,” Coyne says. “That had to be our intro, it’s a nice homage to our roots.” 

Progfile:

Line-up:  Chloe Spence (vocals/rhythm guitar), Tom Coyne (lead guitar), Bernardo Larisch (bass), Louis Bradshaw (drums and percussion)

Sounds like: Ambitious post-rock-y jazz-prog with some gnarly fusion guitar on the side

Current release: //Terrapath//, out now via Bella Union

Website: www.plantoid.co.uk

— Jo Kendall

From "Limelight - Plantoid" Prog Reprinted with permission.

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