PLAID BRIXX was formed in early 2013 by the band’s lead singer Chris Duggan, who has led bands and written music since he was ten. Duggan’s degree from NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music allowed him to graduate with an amazing portfolio of songs, as well as a strong music business acumen. In addition, living and studying in New York City exposed Duggan to all genres of music and he appreciated the opportunity to grow both his passion for writing music and its production. The band’s debut EP, Chemistry, is a yummy slice of pop with a rock and roll edge that I have been blasting the shit out of since the end of July. Chris and I had a fun phone conversation about this, our mutual dislike of hipsters, great NY pizza, and more. Check it:
Chris: “Oh, look how ugly my floral print shirt is that I’m wearing ironically”. Oh great, so now we all have to put up with the eyesore. They’re so silly.
Amps: I was at THE NAKED AND FAMOUS last year, one of my favorite bands, and it was Hipster Central in that room.
Chris: (Laughing) while they drink their PBR.
Amps: This is great stuff on this Chemistry EP, man.
Chris: Thank you so much! We wanted to make a really fun record, you know?
Amps: Did you just record these five tracks, or is there more laying around for a full-length?
Chris: I’m actually starting on the full-length. I have all the song structures written and we’ll see where that takes us. I’m actually gonna go right back to working on them after we get off the phone.
Amps: PLAID BRIXX, this is your baby from the ground up, correct?
Chris: Yep, yep. I write all the songs, and I produce tracks as well. I handle all the arrangements as well.
Amps: Is it you in the studio, and then you show the guys their parts?
Chris: For this EP I programmed all the drums. And then live Mark takes what I made and makes them his own in a live version that’s more fun and interesting. Because he would get bored if he just went boom-chick boom-chick for each song, you know? He’s a punk drummer, so he’s fun and lively.
Amps: I got a distinct JESUS JONES meets SISTERS OF MERCY vibe on “Chemistry” namely the old song “Vision Thing.” And those comparisons are meant to be flattering.
Chris: Thank you, I always take them that way. Thank you so much for your review. “You had me at ‘Hipster Queen'” was great! It made my day yesterday.
Amps: You’ve got quite a musical pedigree and played some of my favorite places in New York like The Bowery, Arlene’s Grocery…
Chris: I love Arlene’s Grocery. The sound engineer there is awesome and the sound in that room is just one of the best in terms of acoustics.
Chris: I think we’re gonna stay here in Ohio. The cost of living is cheaper and 50% of the American population lives within 500 miles of Columbus so it’s really a great spot for touring. It’s central and you can reach Indianapolis, Louisville, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Nashville, the list goes on. They’re all within six hours so it’s a really good spot for us where we can play all these different cities and be home either that night or the next morning and not have to stay there.
Amps: Let’s talk about touring. Do you have anything lined up for the fall?
Chris: We’re playing Fashion Meets Music Festival in Cleveland, Detroit, and Cincinnati in September I think. But we’re gonna try and book some stuff. I don’t know about a national tour but definitely regional and maybe a show in New York and L.A. before the year is over.
Amps: Do you have any kind of timetable for when we can expect more music, maybe a full-length?
Chris: Yeah, it’s gonna have live drums so that will be fun. We’ll start doing those in October probably so it should be done by the beginning of next year. Hopefully by January 2015.
Amps: What does the band name mean?
Chris: One day I was like, “You know it would be really cool to see a brick wall with a plaid pattern on it. The first album I ever did when I was 16 I built a cinderblock wall in my driveway and for some reason I am into brick walls. I guess that’s where the idea came from. And then we changed “cks” to “xx”.
Amps: No, I get it. But who actually thinks a brick wall looks better in plaid (both of us laughing)?
Chris: Uhhh, I guess me! Because the wallpaper in my room growing up was plaid. The minute my parents let me do something to my room they were like, “Until you move out of the house this will be it, so you better like it.” So I was like, “Let’s do the whole thing in red plaid, that would be awesome!”
Amps: Under band interests we have “Tattoos, eating great pizza, playing instruments simultaneously. Mostly.” You mean New York pizza, obviously.
Chris: Yes. Absolutely. In freshman year of college, on the floor of my dorm there was a sign where you could take numbers off of the bottom. And it was the Secret Pizza Club. No one had taken the little things off the bottom of the flyer. So I did and I called the number. And it was my roommate! He had secretly done it. So he and I would go and try to find amazing pizza. My favorite is Best Pizza on 51st and First Ave. Also Joe’s Pizza in the West Village. They’re not ones that the tourists would know about. Everyone wants to fucking go to Grimaldi’s. I’m not gonna wait in line around the block just for some pizza.
Amps: I hate that popularized and chain shit. Growing up in Long Island, when we got Pizzeria Uno and everyone went nuts for it I wanted to burn the place down. Deep dish gourmet pizza. Screw that, I want it in a flat white box from a corner joint.
Chris: Yes! I’m with you. I take pizza very seriously, like plaid (laughing)!
Amps: Then we’re gonna have to put together some kind of “Pizza With Chris” show where you check in with Amps and Green Screens from various pizza joints all over the place. You up for it?
Chris: Yes! I need to make these a combination of music AND pizza tours!
Amps: What’s the game plan for PLAID BRIXX in the next year or two?
Chris: Hopefully build our audience as we release our next record. And hopefully people really vibe on that. It’s gonna be a little more poppy but not with garbage lyrics or subject matter. The music will be a little on the poppier side, I think. And the drums will be more funky. I find myself dancing in the chair.
Amps: What do you want to say to all your fans out there, Chris?
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what PLAID BRIXX has in store for us in 2015 and beyond! And Chris, we HAVE to get this pizza show thing going, my friend. You guys can get the Chemistry EP HERE, so I suggest you go and do that. GO!