Famous Class's LAMC series boasts an exceptional roster. With its fourth installment in the books the series includes contributions from Thee Oh Sees, The Mallard, A Place To Bury Strangers, Ceremony, Future Islands and Ed Shrader's Music Beat. With Deerhoof on the a-side of No.4, the pressing matter was who is Half Waif on the b-side.
Well, it's Nandi Rose Plunkett, a half Indian, half Irish, half Swiss (yes, three halfs) singer-songwriter who is manning all the sounds in her b-side “Black Mountain”. New to us but far from new to her craft, Plunkett's “Black Mountain” was recorded with Greg Saunier behind the boards. Plunkett brings a sum of her experience philosophy to Half Waif. She's classically trained in both composition and theory, but her grit comes in a post-graduate journey through Ohio pastures, rocky northern Massachusetts, and eventually landing in Brooklyn. Stream “Black Mountain” below and read on for a brief interview with Half Waif.
If you've only played a handful of shows, how did you come to know/get the attention of Greg?
I was very fortunate to participate in last year's Rock Lottery here in Brooklyn–the premise of the thing is that 25 musicians from different bands come together one morning and break into new, random bands, and then spend the day writing 4 songs together before performing that night at the Knitting Factory. I completely lucked out and got to be one of the 25. I had only moved to New York a month before, so it was a very thrilling and humbling experience. I ended up in this band with Greg Saunier–I remember the first time I saw him, he was wearing this kooky orange and pink outfit, and I didn't know who he was, and I just started teasing him. We developed a fast friendship. I don't know how he feels about this, but I like to think of him as my mentor. He took me under his wing when I was new in this city, and he gave me a lot of confidence in my music at a time when I was just starting out and didn't know how to move forward. We've also had some fun times baking scones and drinking lots of tea.
Did you do all of the instrumentation, and what would you say is your primary instrument?
Yeah, I did all of the arranging. I think of myself as primarily a singer (my secret dream is to sing for Cirque du Soleil). I studied composition and classical singing in college and have also been playing piano since I was six. I'm totally in love with the sound of classical piano. I've heard people say that it doesn't have a place in “modern” music, but I think that's absolutely wrong. My goal in writing and arranging and recording is to weave that more classical sound into a contemporary context. This isn't a new thing–lots of bands and artists are doing it–but I think there's still so much territory to explore in where those two areas of music intersect.
Have you found any way to combine irish and indian food into one cohesive dish?
Hmm I'm not much of a cook, but I'm down to have a whiskey with my chana masala any day.
LAMC No. 4 is available via Famous Class. 100% of the proceeds in 7″ and digital go to the Ariel Panero Memorial Fund at Vh1 Save the Music.