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Interview: Plant Boys


Interview: Plant Boys

Dan Linke

Zine Swap #4 takes place at the Producers Bar on Thursday night, and promises to be huge. Two of its contributors will be Jordan Tucker and Louis Bullock, who are not only premiering 'Plant Boys 2', but are also performing live sets on the night. We sat down with Tucker and Bullock to discuss their works – both visual and aural.

So how did you two first meet?

It was the first week of our design course at TAFE in 2013, and at the end of one of the introductory lessons, Jordan asks “so, what music do you like?” Louis' reply was “drum and bass”, to which the reply is “me too”. Jordan just gives Louis a massive hug, and says “we're gonna get on just swell”. And here we are, 3 years later, bonding over drone and ambient music. We definitely both influence each other; we work with each other on little things all the time, be it serious or not.

Can you tell us the idea of 'Plant Boys'?

The premise is two boys taking photos with plants. To begin with, it was us parodying the whole 'sad boys' aesthetic, and the ball just kind of rolled from there. We ended up actually following along, with just taking photos of plants, and we got bored of making a mockery.

So now it's evolved to the point of becoming serious in a sense?

The first 'Plant Boys' was definitely satirical, but we're not sure if we're even remotely sarcastic any more. If you browse our Instagram feeds, it's very much the same content. It's just a curated way of putting out pictures of plants, really. But we had fun, and with all of those photos we can say, 'I know we had fun that day, walking around the Botanic Gardens taking photos of plants'. So for us, there's that whole behind the scenes emotion behind it, like an amusement.

It's become a bit of a ritual — for instance, we'll walk past an office building, and in the foyer there's a plant. We'll walk in there, take a photo of it and just walk out. As it stands, we have enough images lined up to make 5 more issues of 'Plant Boys'

You're both performing at Zine Swap too, and to compare the music between you two – Jordan's work is more synthwave with vaporwave tinges…

The way I approach it definitely is. I'm taking influences from Bonobo, Mitch Murder, Danger, and looking at artists from the 80's, like Tears for Fears, a-ha, even Michael Jackson. I look at the way they write those melodies and how they use their synths, and then I have my own twist on it. There's also games like Hotline Miami, and the movie Drive, where they and their soundtracks have also played a huge part. With my set for instance, I've gone and made live edits of their tracks - I've got Porter Robinson's 'Sad Machine',  and one of the melodic elements leads into a song from Ocarina of Time.

On the contrary, Louis is shifting towards more post-dubstep backgrounds, with very ambient stylings. What should we expect from your set? 

Yeah, there's influences from Tim Hecker, Brian Eno, Ben Frost, and more recently a lot of Lawrence English. With some of the music they do, you ask yourself; “if they're doing it, why can't I?” But after my 2016 release 'Realisations', I've found myself trying out pieces with percussive elements, more structured, as opposed to textural wanderings. I've planned out my set to touch upon some of these new pieces, between a few works from 'Realisations', and there's also some unheard material from my next release in the works, 'Revelations'.

Much like the 'Plant Boys'' approach, you don't want it to be formulaic; you want to be aware of not sacrificing accidents for comfort.

For sure, it's the same approach with design — it's easy to go online, find some templates, and use them. If we did that for our zines, it wouldn't have the same feel or depth to them. It also helps that we have such an artistic drive; we're always constantly pushing ourselves a lot with all aspects of art.

You can find out more information about Zine Swap #4 here, and you can visit Plant Boys' Facebook page here

Header image supplied by Louis Bullock and Jordan Tucker.