Melbourne garage-rockers Plotz have been delighting WildnFree with their high-vibe EP All Up The Wall And Down The Street, grainy vintage vid for Ghost and the ol’ music-via-aviation story of lead singer Yonatan Rotem. All Up The Wall And Down The Street is low-fi rock with a touch of punk, full of catchy jangly guitar hooks and blokey group harmonies. Highlight track Prom Song adds a touch of Grease-style 5os dancefloor romance while still sounding nicely down and dirty. The Super 8 filmed video clip for Ghost shows Plotz in their natural habitat, a Southside sharehouse offering the very best and worst of 1960s vintage interior styling, and the place where the band lives, writes, records and rehearses their music.
Lead singer Yonatan Rotem’s pathway into music is a story WildnFree found heartbreaking, intriguing and well worth telling. “I was born in Israel,” he shares. “My mum studied art and to this day, has a passion for music. My dad became a light airplane pilot as part of his mandatory army service. My entire family has completed national service in the air force. So, from a very young age, I was exposed to the world of aviation, which fascinated me. I went to every airshow and had every model plane. I could name just about any plane by the age of 5, and it became very clear to me that my destiny was to become a pilot.”
Here’s the killer. One day, Yonatan’s mum took him to get his eyes tested, and found he was red-green colourblind. Did you know colourblind people can’t become pilots? You do now. “My dream was shattered,” he says. “My aviation hobby was forever just going to be a hobby. Being a stubborn little boy, I wanted to make my hobby my passion, and my passion my living. So, I needed a new hobby. Dad’s influence from a career point of view faded away.”
Luckily, Yonatan’s mum had some handy skillz of her own. “She was an avid music lover, and an artist,” he shares. “By classification she was a kindergarten teacher. But, at home she taught me all about music. My birthday gifts of model planes and money were replaced with records. And soon enough, I only requested records as gifts. My first influence was The Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. That album introduced so many ideas I’ve heard before in such a pure and consumable format. Other early influences included Radiohead, The Strokes, Blur, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and local Israeli artists. I used to listen to my parents record collection for hours, sitting in the living room with headphones on. This is when I discovered I could escape and get lost in the music. It became my favourite thing to do. I saw music as a safe environment where I could say what’s on my mind, without anyone talking over me and distorting my message.”
Bless the power of music to offer a safe place to escape. Young Yonatan was now hooked and didn’t look back. “At the age of 10, I first got the courage to pick up a guitar,” he shares. “It took another 12 years until I had the courage to start taking my music dream seriously and start my first band. This is where I learned what not to do in a band, and after that dissolved, I started Plotz. After a few lineup changes, we finally became the band we are now.”
With bandmates Mason Wylie on guitar and backing vocals, Aaron Wilde on bass and backing vocals, plus Mac Hague on drums, Plotz are the band they are now. Check them out in their vintage vid for EP track Ghost, filmed and directed by James Thomson (Contrast). Listen to the EP, and catch them live at their EP launch this Friday at The Tote.