Based out of the San Francisco Bay Area with commanding vocals, killer drums, philosophic tones, and wildly original production, the inimitable duo Pleeay will have you scratching your head.
They’re inspired by a range of genres including art-pop (Bjork), funk (Prince), and punk (Crass). That said, Pleeay self-identifies as alt-pop/post-punk. Full of raw energy from the ballet-trained stage presence of front person Castle Laws (they/them), to the mind-bending beats of instrumentalist Huli Curry (he/him), Pleeay’s goal is to create a place for people to feel their feelings and dance in the face of fear.
Taking over our speakers in a way that instills a sense of anticipation and genuine curiosity, Pleeay has an intriguing universe of revolving ambiance surrounding listeners as their latest single “Call,” speaks into our soul. Embracing the authentic build-up that surfaces through the minimalistic introduction, to the complexity woven confessional of melodies, there’s an effortlessness that takes over in the repetition that hails from each passion-fueled lyrical motif charging through this composition.
With the stand-out words being a back and forth locked into the progression of, ‘I was changing shape to fit the box. I won’t change shape to fit the gown,’ the narrative becomes rather apparent from the perspective of Pleeay as outsiders. From the point of view of the odd ones out in society, Pleeay reiterates a poignant message reminding us that when we make changes to satisfy society, we in turn sacrifice our true selves. We admire the vulnerability that radiates through each sound captured in “Call.”
Pleeay has an ingenious way of making such a notable theme coincide with the allure and mesmerizing hues of a profound reality. Solidifying their signature sound in a world that requests exclusivity, Pleeay is doing an exceptional job at standing apart from the crowd.
We love the message that you place into “Call,” thank you for joining us at BuzzMusic Pleeay to discuss this riveting release. Was there a turning point in your lives that helped to shape your desires for sending this message to your audience?
Castle: CALL is honestly one of my favorite songs to sing because it's so cathartic. It's dark and light all at the same time, which is something I think most people can relate to. It came from my struggles with finding my gender and sexual identities. I was raised in a very heteronormative place, dancing ballet, which is a very heteronormative thing for a "young laaaady". I've been a performer my whole life and it just occurred to me one day that I was constantly performing for other people while hating my insides. It was exhausting trying to embody an image of perfection, but I got so much positive reinforcement for hiding in plain sight because people love putting each other inboxes. I'm so grateful to all the weirdos and deviants before me who fought to be seen, proud, and respected. If I didn't have friends and allies like Huli then I wouldn't have had the courage to break from my conditioning. I still shake my head at how much energy I wasted fighting myself. It felt necessary to talk about the pain of my perfectionism, and the freedom of letting it die all in one song. It. Gets. Better.
Could you please share a glimpse into the creative process you took on when bringing this vision to the surface?
Huli: It tends to go back and forth between me writing the music and Castle writing the lyrics or vocal melodies. Very often I'll come to them with a verse or a chorus or a combination of the two and ask "Whatcha think?", and Castle will hit the ground running with it. Other times, Castle will come to me with some lyrics or a poem and the first thing I think about is what kind of mood the song will be based on lyrical content. Is it a march? A party song? A confession? A call to action? Those are as many actions or environments as they are musical sounds.
With every artist being different, how important is it for you two to communicate authentic messaging that pertains to yourselves in the music that you craft?
Castle: To me, that's the whole point. I have a lot going around my head all the time, and most of it is junk. I don't want to carelessly implant a piece of inauthentic junk into someone's head by wrapping it in a catchy melody. So I take the amplification of my voice very seriously. I don't speak for anyone but myself, and I do my best to shed light on the world around me through the only lens I have. If all else fails, I focus on what I would say to my younger self. It's part of what I respect so much about Huli's music. It's totally its own thing. It makes me dance and scratch my head at the same time. Its weirdness makes me feel like I can be at PEAK WEIRD which is my happy place.
What initially inspired the creation of Pleeay? How have you grown since forming?
Huli: We've been working on performance pieces together since college, the majority of which were ballets that Castle choreographed and needed music for. Castle would describe or visualize the different acts and sections in as much detail as possible; the mood, what the dancers are doing, the roles the dancers are playing, what color the lights will be, and roughly how long each part will be. Then I'd enter a silo for a couple of weeks and show up with 30+ mins of music that we'd then whittle down or lengthen. As the years went on, Castle wanted to focus more on singing and musical performance, so what better person to hit up than myself (lol). We'd already established a creative cadence that we continue to use to this day. Speaking for myself, I can say any growth I've experienced has been both musical and personal. Before this, I was used to writing music in a silo, on a computer, at home, and mostly for myself. Now I actually factor in playability, leaving room for vocal parts, how things would sound in a large room, and better song structures. Personally, it's made me a better collaborator, which is something I've struggled with in the past.
Castle: Pleeay came out of my need to break from my conditioning as a perfect little girl who doesn't have any opinions or points of view that could inconvenience the status quo. MAN, I was so repressed. Anyway, before Pleeay, I was asked to perform in this collaborative dance piece, and during rehearsals, the director decided to give the dancers microphones. When I heard my voice, I absolutely panicked. I mean I had a panic attack and had to lock myself in the bathroom. Once I grounded myself a bit, I thought, "I REALLY need to learn how to use my voice." So I decided to start a band-type thing. The only person I thought to work with was Huli. We'd worked together before, I love his weirdo music, and never once had I felt judged by him. I also knew I wanted more creative control as an artist and needed to keep music and dance at the center of my life, so starting a band was kind of my only option. Art made me do it!!! Anywho, growth-wise it's been extremely humbling to be new at something. I'd been a dancer since I was a baby, so I feel like an expert in my body. But singing is completely different! It takes a whole different kind of concentration. It's helped me be less judgmental of myself. But it's a double-edged sword because now my opinions, my truth, my voice is out for judgment from others. The self-promotion side of things can be soul-wrenching. I feel like my skin is actually getting thinner, but at the same time, my fur is getting really thick.
What's next for you?
Castle: We have shows coming up in the Bay Area at the Knockout, Ivy Room, Roofless Red Door, and Noise Records. Our first album is coming out in October, with a couple of new music videos. Then it's back to the studio, world tour with Bjork, Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, capitalist apocalypse, party forever