The Placks are, in my opinion, one of the best celtic punk bands at the moment. I think that their sound is very genuine and original. Many bands in this genre are trying too hard to sound in a certain way, but The Placks do their own thing, and they do it well.
Hi, please start to introduce the band?
We are a 9 piece Celtic Punk band based in the Highlands of Scotland. The band has been an idea of mine for a few years now but we only started recently and last weekend we played our first shows as a 9 piece opening for The Rumjacks in Glasgow and Edinburgh to two sell out venues. We went down a storm at both nights with what seemed like the entire rooms singing along to songs they had never heard, from a band they had never seen, it was incredible.
When did you form the band, and what is the main purpose with The Placks?
The whole idea of this band started when I started getting more Celtic sounding songs in my head when I was out running. For years many people have said that as a Celt, who people say can write very singalong songs, I should add Celtic instruments, people like Charlie Harper, Micky Fitz and Jennie Russell-Smith (Rebellion Festival). Also Tim Armstrong from Rancid asked me if I ever wrote any other songs apart from straight up Punk and if I did he wanted to be sent the music as he said he thought I had a very distinctive writing style.
I know that you play in other bands, so how much will you focus on this band?
We play in other bands as some of the guys and girls are professional Folk musicians and I have spent my life playing in bands and have been lucky enough to tour many times with The Dropkick Murphys and Rancid
I will put a lot of my time and focus into this band as it seems to be getting a lot of very positive attention people seem to be liking what they hear.
It strikes me, when I listen to the EP Rebellious Sons, that you’ve not bogged down in just one genre. I like the mix of indie rock and punk rock all wrapped up in celtic/irish folk music. Will you keep on that track in the future too?
Thanks, yes, we have a mixture of Punk Rock, Folk, Celtic Music and Rock. The idea was to try mixing this to get something that had not been done before, something that was pretty unique. Personally I think we have managed this as the nearest comparisons we get is Dropkick Murphys, The Pogues and The Beautiful South.
Rebellious Sons was recorded in a rush as we were offered a date with Flogging Molly. I said we can’t go to play to 5000 people in Brittany and not have any of our music that people can buy if they like us, so we went in the studio and put down everything as good as we could. Sadly the show was cancelled due to the riots in France last year. I like the CD though, it’s cool, but our first official release is March 27th, this month, 2020.
We are nearly finished recording our debut album, coming out in September, and we have Punk Rock Tracks, folky tracks, acoustic tracks and songs that are a mix of them all. We are a Celtic Punk/Folk band and that will not change.
You will release a new EP in the end of March, what can you say about it?
It is a single song we are releasing on March 27th. The song ”My Dearest Friend” was written about a great friend of mine who was tragically killed in a car accident. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one will relate to this song.
It is download only but we have plans for not the 2nd release, Rebellious Son, but the 3rd release having a 7″ vinyl available also. My Dearest Friend is heartfelt, catchy,melodic, with a massive Celtic vibe and has some of the best musicianship you will ever hear on the folk instruments, and for around £1 can be yours. Give it a go, hopefully you really will not be disappointed.
What are your thoughts about celtic punk in whole? Try to list your three best bands and a short comment about them.
I think it seems to be a huge scene with 2 huge bands, Dropkicks and Flogging Molly, one well known band, The Rumjacks and lots of good smaller bands. I can’t get past these 3 as the best ones, they are there for a reason.
Dropkick Murphys have mixed the angry, raw sound from their early years with a much more polished, Celtic sounding vibe and are the masters are at it. They are also great guys.
Flogging Molly are a lot more folky/traditional Irish sounding and are also superb.
The Rumjacks are a little like both of the above but also their ska style songs remind me of Rancid, they’re a superb act and if you can have your own sound and also remind people of three giants, you must be doing something right!
I really like your lyrics, you have really chosen a different path from the usual drinking songs, is it important for you to actually tell something with your lyrics?
I wanted to write songs with a mixture of social commentary, history, standing up for the hard pressed working men and women, and mix in some fun songs too. It’s a really potent blend
I know that you (Iain) arrange the Punk On The Peninsula festival. Please tell me about that festival.
Punk on the Peninsula was started in 2017 to try get people to travel up and visit where I live. Very few people have even heard of the town, never mind have ever visited it and yet it’s a beautiful place which seems in the middle of nowhere but in reality is only one hour from Glasgow! As very few people know the place or have ever visited it, and it is quite simply stunning on every level.
The people who come along say it is the best weekend they have ever been to and is a great alternative to all the festivals in the crowded City centres. We have all sorts of bands including Punk, Ska and Celtic Punk bands. It’s the friendliest festival ever and if you come along once, you will be here every year, check it out at: www.punkonthepeninsula.co.uk
Lars Frederiksen visited and absolutely fell in love with the place and threatened to even move here! I try put on a variety of things, including hiring ferries and having bands play on board as we cruise down the beautiful West Coast of Scotland, arrange coach trips in to the Highland mountains to little ancient breweries, where i put band on in the court yards, to Quiz nights, Curry Nights, Beach BBQ’s, you name it.
What’s your opinion about the brexit situation?
I think England’s leaders sold Brexit to the British people under false pretenses. One big pack of lies. I think very difficult times are ahead. One terrible thing is bands will not be able to just go tour Europe and European bands can’t just come over here. It is absolutely stupid.
Would you rather see an independent Scotland?
Yes, I think everyone would be far better off and far happier if we were just friends and neighbours. It is two wonderful countries, but both very much with their own identities. I love England and lived many years there so can speak from experience and most of my friends are English, and they agree that each country should run their own affairs then we have nothing to argue about an can meet at shows and have a beer and talk about music and football!
What are your future plans?
Keep on writing music. Play to as many people in as many places as we can. Keep on enjoying it. See where it takes us as one thing is for sure, there’s no-one remotely like us. We very much have our own distinctive sound and being a gang of nine Celtic guys and girls from the Scottish Highlands, playing our own brand of Punk and Traditional Folk music, you can’t get a more authentic and potent mix than that!
Ok, thank you for the interview, please add anything you want
Thank you so much for interviewing me. It is very much appreciated. If this interview interested you and you have never hear of us before, then please check us out. We are on Facebook too and have all sorts of t-shirts and merchandise over at Mainstage Merch if anyone is interested. Keep up the great work