At 97's end, two 12 and two 16 year olds came together to form a band. A typical enough genesis for many young bands striving to actualize their dreams. But the difference here was it wasn't really just about 'being in a band' and hoping to scrape together enough derivative material to complete a live set. It wasn't about an 'insider industry buzz' or a garage rock styled hair cut. Plunja were not the band 'most likely to follow in the footsteps of silverchair'. They were not some style over substance wanna be's with a slick punk-rocker/faux street-cred image and a clothing endorsement promoting the latest range from Converse…
…Plunja, stood out for one main reason - their ability to write a great rock song.
First impressions always last, and without a doubt this new Australian band has absolutely devoured the attention of all who come across them.
Their blend of melodic, emotive, rock radiates the kind of passion that comes from one that has genuinely experienced many of life's ups and downs, rather than a cultivated concoction of apparent abuse, anger and depression that characterises many of their 'peers.' Instead, Plunja present a forceful vision into overcoming obstacles while gaining strength from vulnerability.
"These songs represent six years of our lives" says Plunja drummer Steph Collis. "The craziest years of our life," continues frontman Marc Collis. "So much change occurs to a person through that period, especially in my situation. I fed from it, created a sound with my sister and mates and spoke from real experience."
Fine-tuning their forthcoming debut album at Studio 52 in Melbourne - with producer Trevor Carter and engineer Jared Scott - guitarist Ben Jarvis adds, "The amount of learning we did while making the album was invaluable. It was a huge journey for us…now that we just want to get out there and play it."
Plunja's intense and effervescent live shows make them instantly charismatic, even to a new audience. "Its really good watching people's mouths drop when they see Marc going to the mike with his guitar and me going to the drums" Stephanie chides. "They nearly fall over when we all start playing."
Being able to draw a crowd into a performance is hard, but Plunja's music is convincing, fresh and believable. No feigned hard-luck stories of teen angst and disenchantment. No 14 year old 'lost love of your life' power-ballads. No more trying to be a bad-ass. What you see is what you get. "First and foremost do not read the songs on face value," offers Marc. "A lot of the lyrics are not about what you think, they are a lot deeper than that."
'Give Me Your Hand' is a song that on the surface reflects the same old love relationship saga, but in fact delves into the ability of a friend to help you believe that you are actually worth something more than you feel.
"I actually came up with this song after I had again broken my knee and was in hospital. I couldn't be bothered dealing with the same old shit again. I was sick of what I had been dealt. It took my best friend to get me focused again and realise what I was worth. It took a long, long time, but it worked," remembers Marc. "And out of it came a very powerful song."
Some people make the mistake of trying too hard with their lyrics to be different, dark and mysterious, but Marc says it how it is" Bassist Barry Brauer continues, "Why make songs incomprehensible to others? it doesn't make sense."
After many demos, an EP, and a self-funded album, Plunja acquired the interest of hard-rock label Roadrunner Records (home to Nickelback and Slipknot among others) and soon after, signed a deal. Roadrunner plan to release the Plunja debut early in 2004.
"I am the biggest critic of myself out of anyone I know" Marc laughs. "I am really happy with the way things turned out after we recorded because I am always striving for a better sound. I can now happily rest my mind and be totally content with the end result of this album. It sounds massive, but a different massive to the same old sounds coming out today. It's Plunja massive."