February 2003
interviewed by Ian C Stewart

The Plums started in London in summer 2002, its members all having spent time with the (surely it's coincidental) pornographically-titled Big Unit (ahem), and describing themselves as "a tighter, three-man outfit. It’s got a more moody, downtempo vibe than Big Unit’s stuff, which always had a slightly punkish feel."

When did the band form?
We started off as part of Big Unit, which was formed in Bremmen in 1997 by three art students called Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, Jockel Pietsch and Günther Dzieran - this mad sort of avant garde, percussion-led outfit. Big Unit Mark II formed in 2000 when Heinrich, Jockel and Gunther moved to London and started to bring in a more electronic edge to their sound. We got involved through Sweet Relief. There was also this Japanese guy who called himself Ed Liberace who got involved and a few other characters floating around. The tunes were coming together but everyone just argued all the time. Big Unit disbanded this summer, after which the Plums were born, like a phoenix from the flames. We’re still on good terms with everyone from Big Unit, having just put the finishes to their second album, Things You Don’t Wanna Hear. Ed’s also mastering a live album for the New Year. The Plums are a tighter, three-man outfit, and the new stuff is looking very promising. It’s got a more moody, downtempo vibe than Big Unit’s stuff, which always had a slightly punkish fell to it.

Where did the name come from?
It was kind of the antithesis of Big Unit. Jockel would always go on about how Big Unit meant a kind of a broad church where anyone could take part and contribute. But it always just sounded a bit boastful and sort of 1980s-sounding. The Plums seemed as far from that as possible, and reflected our shared love of English summer fruits. Initially the name was Plums Won’t Stay Sweet Forever, but that was a bit of a mouthful, pardon the pun.

Who does what in the band?
Little Nikki strums his banjo with all his might. He’s a force of nature, but suffers with his nerves. Any demon falsetto is likely to be him. He’s been in many a scrape due to his terrific strength, for his size, and passion. Once he kisses you, you’ll never look back. Dav takes care of most of the programming and production. Plays a lot of bass and battles his legacy of pain. Styles himself as the Derek Smalls, albeit with the St Hubbins barnet. Sweet W insists he’s just glad to be here. Tinkles the ivories, creates a lot of mood, plays bass like Thorburn pots colours.

How do your songs come to be?
Our motto is “If you want olive oil, buy some olives, don’t grow a tree”. Everything starts as live improvs, which can go on for well over an hour. From that ideas evolve and get cobbled together as tunes. Occasionally someone will turn up with an idea they actually had in advance, but as often as not it all stems from the general mess of noise when we’re playing together.

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