Published on November 23rd, 2016 | by Mike Scherf2
Planes Mistaken for Stars Have Returned – An Interview with Gared O’Donnell
New music from Gared O’Donnell? Yep. Awesome. Did I mention it’s a new Plane Mistake for Stars album? Yes. Nine years after they left the post-hardcore scene wanting more, here it is. Their new album Prey was released on October 21 and was produced by Sanford Parker, who has done some awesome heavy stuff with bands like Wovenhand, Leviathan, and Yob.
As a Planes Mistaken for Stars fan who had Fuck with Fire glued into his CD player in college, Prey is exactly the record you want from the band. No, it’s exactly the record you need from the band.
I’ve grown up and evolved and so has Planes Mistaken for Stars’ sound.
Gared O’Donnell was cool enough to spend some time answering some questions we emailed him so check out his answers below. And when you’re done? For sure order Prey and check out Planes Mistaken for Stars on the road.
Gared: Creative opportunity to write with some of my favorite musicians and souls. To shake some old ghosts. To make a point.
We caught a date of Planes Mistaken for Stars’ 2014 warm up / reunion tour. During the show you had mentioned that it was your first time playing guitar in two years. What was that like getting back into music and with a band that you hadn’t played live with in over four years?
G: Like riding a bike, really. I was just thrilled to play with my best friends again. Once I feel that buzz from the amps and thunder of Mongo’s kick drum on my legs, I’m always ready to go.
I had talked to Mongo after that show and he mentioned that you guys were writing new music. Did you spend the entire two years writing the songs for Prey or did you guys finish them sooner?
G: I spent a long time working on scraps, riffs, odds and ends, but the record kind of came together in the studio after 2 or 3 practices.
What was it like writing songs with Planes Mistaken for Stars after 9 years between albums?
G: Not much had really changed, maybe we are a little saltier of dogs.
You worked with Sanford Parker on this record who has done some really heavy/awesome stuff… what did he bring to the table and how did it impact the sound on Prey?
G: Sanford is a killer engineer and producer. He was as excited about trying off-the-wall dorky stuff as we were. He was rather fearless with experimenting, but also had a good ear for when a song needed left alone. He understands our textures and aesthetic.
G: I think it was just natural progression. Although I did have an idea to try and make some of the new songs be answers to questions possibly poised on Mercy. Kind of photo negatives of Mercy’s songs. Ying to Yang.
Seriously love the Prey inspirations playlist on Spotify. Are the songs on the list just inspirations for you or the entire band?
G: Thanks! The entire band contributed to the playlist; I’m looking to add more soon.
Since so much time has passed since the last PMFS record, how have your lives changed that you feel impacted your music?
G: Everyone has had a hell of a ride since Mercy; some good times, some bad times, all of which for better or worse blended together coalesced into Prey.
Have you noticed an evolution in any of the band members playing styles since you last wrote mercy?
G: I think all of us are musically more muscular. But even more important is that we have learned how to give each other more space sonically. We don’t stomp on each other’s parts.
It’s been five years since you released the Hawks and Doves album, how has your perspective changed on both your guitar playing and singing style?
A: Indeed, it has been a long time; I wouldn’t say much has changed other than I feel like I harmonize better. As far as guitar I like to keep it fairly simple and let Chuck do the tricky stuff. I’ve also opened up my mind to using pedals, albeit keeping it minimal.
What bands are you listening to now? Have you heard anything really interesting you want to share with readers?
G: Check out DeadAires, they have members of True North, Against Me! and other Gainesville Greats; the new record is killer. I recently heard a band called Divers that I thought were pretty great. Otherwise it’s a lot of old favorites (Wipers, O.V. Wright, Walker Brothers, B.O.C., Prince, Killing Joke, Big Boys, Afghan Whigs, etc.) filling my ears.
Are you as stoked for the upcoming tour as much as we are?
G: Pretty stoked, a little bummed it’s all so rushed and spread out, i.e. long drives every day means little time to spend with old friends.