INTERVIEW: LETTERS FROM PLUTO
I promise to stop banging on about my trip to Canada soon (not), but I am still reeling from the sheer number of lovely people I met when I was there. The stereotype about Canadian friendliness is absolutely true (except for you mean airport lady – you suck!), and there was never a moment that I felt like I couldn’t ask someone for directions, or for help with buying a train ticket, or even just to chat for five minutes. So many of these interactions were so random and fleeting, I was relieved to find that I would spend the last day of my trip in organised ten minute meetings with artists where I could actually make a meaningful connection (and hopefully provide them with a bit of advice). One of these artists was an achingly charming musician called Kristy, who has been performing under the pseudonym Letters From Pluto for the last few years, recently releasing the single ‘Cold Right Now‘. As ten minutes is an incredibly short time to get to know someone, I thought Kristy would be the perfect candidate for an interview so that I (and you) can get to know her a little better. I spoke to her about names, space, and world domination:
KM: Tell me about how you first discovered your interest in music
K: Some of my earliest music memories are driving in the Rocky Mountains with my family, while singing songs in the car. I also started taking piano at the age of 5, so it’s been a love affair ever since! But one song I remember having an instant attraction to when I was a child, was “I’m Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage. I remember the first time I heard that song, because it blew my little 8 year old mind! Haha. From the moment I heard Shirley Manson’s voice layered on thick synths and gritty guitars, I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. It’s still on my playlist and will most likely always be.
KM: What kind of thing did you listen to when you were growing up? Were you influenced by your parents’ music taste at all?
K: I was definitely influenced by some of my parent’s’ favourite music when I was a child. I think I knew every word to every Lover Boy song by the time I was 8. I also listened to a lot of April Wine, Gypsy Kings, AC/DC, so a very eclectic range of sounds. It wasn’t until I was a bit older when I started discovering music for myself.
KM: What was it like growing up in Edmonton? How do you find the music scene there?
K: I adore Edmonton, and it’s changed quite a bit in the last decade or so. When I was a child, it was still very much a small city (still is compared to a city like London), but it’s grown exponentially throughout the years. We’re a big city, with a small town feel. Edmonton is a very giving community, and always willing to help those in need. The music scene has really started to thrive in Edmonton. We have an unbelievable amount of talented acts and an incredible music University. So I’d say the music scene is pretty darn awesome.
KM: How did you come up with the name Letters From Pluto?
K: Let me first preface this by saying, it took a long time to come up with that name. Months upon months. Dozens of sheet of paper, with names I would never recall—shows how little they meant to me. Here’s the story: When I was a kid, besides wanting to be a Pop star, I always wanted to be an astronaut, and I held onto that dream for a long time. When I realised my astronaut dream wouldn’t come true, I wanted to find a way to fuse my love…rather, obsession of space, with my obsession of music. And since Pluto is that poor annexed, demoted planet on the edge of the solar system, I felt like the imagery of Pluto sending letters into the unknown, to the rest of the solar system, was very vivid. The moment the words, “Letters From Pluto” fell from my mouth in that order, I KNEW I found my name. I quite literally had an eureka moment.
KM: In a continuation of the space theme, you performed at an actual planetarium. What was that like?
K: Oh my—words can’t explain what an incredible experience it was, but I’ll try my best! Imagine if you will, a circular room, with the stage in the centre. The entire top half of the dome is a screen that would display virtually anything that we wanted, images of space…and of course Pluto, all the way to flames and snow. On top of that screen, the Planetarium was armed with a vintage laser machine from the 80’s. You’d be hard pressed to find one of those in todays day and age. And we had the resident laserist (best job title ever, eh?) create a laser show ON THE SPOT, for the entire show. The Planetarium is now being renovated and the vintage laser machine is being retired, it had a long life. Truly the most unique/surreal show of my career so far. I honestly wanted to put my mic down at certain moments, lay down on the stage, and watch the show!
KM: You released your first EP in 2016 – can you tell us about the themes the EP explores?
K: I wrote my first EP during an especially difficult time in my life. Many things were going wrong in my life, failures, setbacks, and that’s what the EP explores. It really was a snapshot in time of what was going on in my life, and some of the tracks are quite angry. It discusses a lot of overcoming obstacles and not letting life keep you down. There will always be things that try to knock us down, but it’s our job to get back up. (Insert bicep emoji here). I actually wrote the entire EP before I came up with the name Letters From Pluto, but once I finished, everything just seemed to fall into place.
KM: ‘Cold Right Now’ performed particularly well, gaining radio play across Canada – what was this track written about?
K: Cold Right Now is essentially about that one person that comes into your life, turns it upside down, then leaves just as quickly as they came! It’s about wondering if that person ever thinks back about the times you shared, the way you think about them.
KM: Something I like about your music is how brilliantly ‘pop’ it is, with pulsating synths and pounding dance beats. Do you take a hands on approach to the production of your music?
K: Thank you so much! Yes, I take an incredibly hands on approach with the production of my music. I’m not well-versed in production software myself (something I’m currently trying to change), but I know how I want things to sound in the end and if I want to add certain flavours and touches to the track.
KM: You’ve pretty much stormed Canada; what’s next for Letters From Pluto?
K: World domination! Kidding! Not. haha. I’m really trying to branch into the European/UK market at the moment. Trying to get “Cold Right Now” some radio love across the UK/EU, so hopefully you’ll hear it on your local station. And if you like the song, please call in your local station, tell them to give it a spin, and tell your friends! I’ll also be releasing a music video for “Cold Right Now” very soon and promise it’ll be spacey and kinda futuristic, so keep your eyes peeled! I’m heading back into the studio right away to record some new songs, and plan to release in 2018. So I’m very excited to see what the future holds!
‘Cold Right Now’ is out now.