interview with transpacific neo-psychedelic rock duo Plasma Chasms

'Mellowness allows us the ability, as with meditation, to reset and truly, truly reflect on the really important things and stay true to yourself.'
2 November 2022
band photo Plasma Chasm

Psychedelic rock duo Plasma Chasms, comprising Australian Jane Drewett and American Adrian Guerrero, formed Plasma Chasms in 2020 in Los Angeles but define themselves as an “Australia-first band” first and foremost. Working in and around the Hollywood music and entertainment scenes, the pair met and began to collaborate organically. Their creative approach is experimental and their aim is a truly artistic one, seeking to create hallucinogenic atmospheres that reflect a youthful, carefree sensibility that takes listeners on a mellow journey of mind expansion through emotion, colour, nostalgia, and the future unknown. Their sound represents the current musical zeitgeist, keeping things on the poppier side, but with a reflective and nostalgic edge. They outline the concept of their recent EP Plasma Chasms as follows:

A nonchalant, neo-psych party that retrospectively explores the creation of meaning particularly after the loss of time, miscommunication, opportunities, our passions – The EP progresses through interdimensional relationships, pixelated homages and enthusiastic dissonances.

Listen to the recent Plasma Chasms EP and read our interview below to learn more about what they do, how and why.

Congrats on the release of your new EP! How has the reception been so far?

Adrian: It actually has been pretty wonderful, it’s exceeded my expectations. There’s always a part of you that feels like no-one’s going to like it and just to see the reactions and the things that people really enjoy about it, is just really great. It’s fantastic.

Jane: It has been really interesting how receptive everyone has been on a worldwide scale and it has been very positive overall.

Being from Australia and America did you both meet and form the band? How does that internationality affect how you work and create, if at all?

Jane: I was spending some time working in the US in the entertainment industry.

Adrian: We met, we happened to be working at the same place as colleagues and we ended up talking about music and found we had very similar tastes in music. I showed her some demos – a very early version of Echoes I had been working on. The way she provided her approach to the song was magical and I knew we had something special creatively.

Jane: So far we’ve been working from a home studio in LA. But I am influenced greatly by the Australian music scene and it’s important to me to support that industry, so we have been working with teams and releasing through Australia.

Adrian: First and foremost although I’m American, we’re an Australia-first band. Music internationally is still scouted and talented and in America, it’s manufactured. Australia still looks for new artists and voices to add to the mix and it feels organic and natural. We feel very lucky and grateful to be able to have such a broad reach.

What do you aim to make people feel with Plasma Chasms?

Jane: Mind expansion and overall positivity, to feel like the listener is floating through layers of emotion and colour.

Adrian: Introspective and positive. A musical journey that takes you from the nostalgia of places you’ve seen, and things you’ve heard to unexplored edges of the universe.

What are the instruments that each of you plays?

Adrian: Really any instrument that I can get my hands on, but, typically my focus is guitars, bass, drums, percussion, and vocals.

Jane: We work to challenge ourselves with new sounds and instruments so there’s some wildcards, but typically, synth/piano, guitar, and vocals.

What are some of the most difficult obstacles you’ve encountered in your journey so far?

Jane: COVID has definitely been a big one, we started out as everything got shut down and everything has been happening out of a home studio, which has its share of limitations for production. The live music industry was entirely brought to a halt, so that side of things is just opening up now for us to start playing some live shows.

Adrian: Logistically getting the most out of our production. We learned to mix and produce the EP ourselves and I feel like our ambition right now outweighs our current level of production. Finding someone to take it to the next level, who’s willing to be as creative and experimental as we want to be, has been an obstacle. Personally, I would say self-doubt, second-guessing whether or not the work is good enough to be heard by the world abroad.

What is the importance of mellowness in today’s world?

Jane: I think the state of the world presently, environmentally and politically has everyone wound up tight, social media encourages people to be reactive and It’s essential for health and happiness to be able to take a beat and remember that we’re all having a human experience and take care of each other. Mellowness is important so that we can live in the moment and react from the heart.

Adrian: Coming from America there is a large emphasis on gig culture and nonstop working. What ends up happening is that people’s mental health suffers, their health suffers and their spiritual health suffers. Mellowness allows us the ability, as with meditation, to reset and truly, truly reflect on the really important things and stay true to yourself. Not how much you’re hustling or all these fake markers and goals that are shown to you via social media, tv shows, and advertising.

What’s your creative process like?

Adrian: Typically one of us will come up with an idea – a riff, a beat, a vocal melody, a piano line. Then we start throwing ideas into our layers and see what works and what doesn’t. But the creative process is much more than the riff or basic songwriting, it’s also what we’re watching, what we’re listening to what we’re experiencing.

Jane: Music is very much a product of the world and that space at that moment. We listen to a lot of music and sometimes we will hear something cool which will inspire an idea. I also like to challenge myself and try to add something different or do something out of my comfort zone or throw an idea to Adrian to experiment with. Then it grows legs from there.

If you could open a show for any artist who would it be?

Adrian: It would be between Unknown Mortal Orchestra, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Babe Rainbow.

Jane: Tame Impala, Pond or Psychedelic Porn Crumpets!

Adrian, what was your last music project before you took a break?

Adrian: I had formed a metal band, in the vein of Tool, named Hyperbolic Trees. We had just finished recording our first record and we were about to release it when our drummer got into a massive rollover accident and was quite injured. In that time, he decided he no longer wanted to play music and rather than replacing him we called it quits.

What are your thoughts on the current state of rock music in Hollywood and its surrounding circuits?

Adrian: Not a lot of rock happening. Add in some of the bigger rock venues closing over the last few years and it’s not a good look. There’s niche places around town that have their “genre ” night though, so there’s that.

Jane: Music really took a blow here during covid. We lost a lot of great venues and even still, people are cautious to go out to indoor venues. Unfortunately, that means less opportunities for anyone that doesn’t have a big following already. On the other hand, I see more festivals popping up and these are being a little more genre specific and giving a great opportunity for new and upcoming bands to play and for people to find new music. Hollywood is very much a business first, it’s much more supportive once you’ve already established yourself and your name.

Do you have a favourite song off the EP and why?

Adrian: I love all of them, of course, but the one that stands out to me is Terminal. It hits close to home and was written as therapy.

Jane: I think we had a lot of fun on all, Slipping we added some unusual elements and instruments and that stands out to me, but I think Chasing Ghosts because it’s a fun song to sing along to.

If Plasma Chasms were a type of food or drink, what would it be?

Jane: A very colorful cocktail. With layers and smoke coming off the top.

Adrian: Shrooms.

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