PLANNINGTOROCK ALL LOVE’S LEGAL BY L AU R EN F L A X PHOTOS C OU RT ESY OF T H E A RT IST
Once upon a time, there was a volcano that no one other than an Icelandic person could pronounce. That volcano kept me grounded in Berlin for an extra couple of weeks, which is considerably lucky since it’s one of the more affordable European cities for an American. Due to this natural disaster, I was in town long enough to see MEN (my good friend JD Samson’s band). On that night, I hung out with one of my soul mates for the first time. That person is Jam Rostron, aka Planningtorock. Jam is a music producer and video director who has collaborated with The Knife Opera with Matt Sims as well as CREEP. I jumped at the chance to pick her brain while she was on tour supporting her third album, All Love’s Legal, which she self-released on her brand new record label, HUMAN LEVEL.
T O M T O M M A G A Z I N E: YOU ARE CUT FROM YOUR O W N C L O T H . G R O W ING UP, WHAT WERE YOUR B I G G E S T M U S I C A L AND NON-MUSICAL INFLU ENCES? Planningtorock: It was my mum Janet who first introduced me to music through her own fabulous and eclectic taste and from then on music was my big love. Film has also had a strong influence on me. When music and film come together I think it’s one of the most power languages around. Y O U G R E W U P I N NORTHERN ENGLAND BUT HAVE B E E N I N B E R L I N FOR 12+ YEARS NOW. WHAT M A D E Y O U D E C I D E ON BERLIN? I think Berlin chose me. I arrived in Berlin back in 1999 to make an art project with friends and fell completely in love with the place. It wasn’t planned and I had no initial intention of staying but I began to form some of my most important friendships here and loved living outside of the culture I was brought up in. T H E R E I S A S T R O NG POLITICAL AND HUMAN I S T P R E S E N C E I N YOUR MUSIC. HAVE YOU HAD A N Y B A C K L A S H F R OM PEOPLE WITH OPPOSING VIEWS? It’s been an amazing experience and people have really embraced the record. I’m learning a lot because people are being so open and sharing knowledge with me and bringing their own interesting ideas and opinions about these issues, which is more than I could have hoped for!
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO WRITING A SON G AND WHAT GEAR ARE YOU USING? For this album I wrote the lyrics first which I’d not done in the past. Each track was like an exercise in achieving a balance between open lyrical messages and a sonic home that would work with that. I wanted the songs to be total uppers with a very inviting/inclusive feel ... lots of fun riffs that you could sing along with.The album is a self-released LP through my label HUMAN LEVEL so there were a lot of economic limits—but this was a political choice, and I wanted these limits to be transparent and play a role in the album. I recorded using mostly digital plugins and virtual instruments because I can’t afford analogue gear. I do like both analogue and digital and reject any hierarchy between the two ... it’s all cool. But digital is great because of its easy access and affordability. YOU FIND A MAGICAL WAY TO PARTNER MUSI C WITH PERFORMANCE ART, FROM YOUR PROS THETIC NOSE TO YOUR VISUALLY STUNNING VIDEOS. WHERE DO YOU PULL INSPIRATION FROM? The video and visuals like the music are motivated by a genuine investigation into topics like gender identity, sexuality and social constructs. These are all things that I’m trying to expand upon and challenge in my own life, as well as creatively.
TO M TOM MA GA Z INE