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Fiction Plane

Fiction Plane Talk Influences and Perform In-Studio

Fiction Plane Talk Influences and Perform In-Studio

Fiction Plane talk influences and perform in Q104.3 studio
Yesterday, Fiction Plane stopped by 'Out of the Box' to talk with Jonathan 'JC' Clarke about their new album, "Mondo Lumina", and to perform an acoustic version of their song, "Walk Through The Fire".

With help from super producer Brendan O'Brien, whose credits include Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Bruce Springsteen and many more, this new album is an amazing piece of work.

If you thought his inspiration to be a musician came from his famous father, you would be wrong. Sumner's biggest influence was from the grunge scene of the '90's, especially Kurt Cobain.

Source : Q104.3

Fiction Plane, playing at Philadelphia's Milkboy, finds its own road without Police escort

In 2007, English indie rock group Fiction Plane looked like the next big thing.

It released an album, "Left Side of the Brain," that cracked the Top 50 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart, and a single, "Two Sisters," that was a hit in Europe. It played on American television shows such as "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

Fiction Plane by Robin Looy
Fiction Plane by Robin Looy

Because bassist/frontman Joe Sumner is the son of The Police frontman Sting, Fiction Plane was the opening act for both Sting on his solo tour and The Police's 2007 reunion tour.

But "Left Side of the Brain" was the last album Fiction Plane released in the United States. Never lucky with record labels — the band went through four in its short history — it found itself on the outside when the 2008 economic crash took labels down.

Now Fiction Plane is back. Today, it releases "Mondo Lumina," its first U.S. disc in 8 1/2 years, and is promoting it with a short American tour that includes a stop Saturday at the club Milkboy in Philadelphia.

"We just had terrible luck with management," Sumner says in a call from New York City, where the band was rehearsing. "It was just bad business.

"And … we were really poised to not understand the new wave. We were, like, one day too old to understand the new vibe, but not established enough in the old vibe to take advantage of that. So we were really kind of — business-wise, we didn't have a clue."

Fiction Plane did release a disc, "Sparks," in Europe in 2010, but it didn't reach the United States. Mostly during that time, "We kind of all had a load of kids, right? So it changed our lives a bit," Sumner, 38, says with a laugh. "And so let me tell you this: We took our sweet time making this record — it took like two years."

Also during the time off, Sumner was behind two social media start-up companies: the video app Vyclone, which is used by the show "So You Think You Can Dance" to let people contribute to the show, and another video company, Weev.

"I used to be against any kind of tech — you know, tweeting, any of this stuff," he says. "And I moved to L.A. and I took up a completely contrary position, and I started a social media company, making apps and stuff — just a completely left-field thing. Partly because I wanted to understand what the world had changed into."

That helped open doors for Fiction Plane to expand its sound and approaches to music in general, Sumner says. When the band went into the studio with producer Tom Syrowski, Grammy-winning producer Brendan O'Brien's right-hand man, the group realized it had found someone of like mind.

"He is a total genius at the audio stuff, and he let us make this kind of lush soundscape — in a sort of poppy way, accessible way," Sumner says. "He let us play with all sorts of different instruments we'd never even thought about before, and put textures and layers in our songs that we'd never thought about before.

"So we made a record where we feel like the songs are really strong, but the production was equally strong, and it had a vibe and a whole consistent sound. … It's a record that people have listened to quite a lot all the way through a bunch of times. So that's the kind of record we wanted to make — not just a collection of songs."

The freedom of using different instruments let Fiction Plane step away from being "just a three-piece rock band," Sumner says.

"We used to basically curate our songs by saying, 'Can we play them live in club where the sound is terrible?'" he says with a laugh. "All we've got is a guitar and an amp and that was, like, 'OK, then it fits.'

"And this one, we changed tack and just said — because the sound was great, the production values are so high — we could really experiment and work on things which, maybe, needed more subtlety. So it makes a lot of difference for us."

One significantly different song is the single "Where Do We Go From Here," which has Americana or even country elements to it. Told that, despite being a departure for Fiction Plane, the song works, Sumner replies jokingly, "Oh, that makes me very happy. If you could tell me what kind of music that is, then that would make me even happier."

"When I first wrote that song, I was a little unsure whether that was cool. But then I just thought, 'To hell with it. It just sounds … I like it.' So I don't really go genre-wise anymore. I'm just, 'Is that good?' Or not even good — 'Do I like it?' OK, good, done."

Joe Sumner - Fiction Plane

Sumner also wrote a song with country singer Ashley Monroe when the two were recording at the same studio.

"It was really nice actually. She's great. She's a great singer. I love kind of eclectic collaborations. Because she's country, but whatever. I might be country, too," he says, laughing

Sumner says setting himself apart artistically from his famous father has always been important for him. Like his younger half-sister, Eliot Sumner (who played Milkboy in September), he's cautious about linking himself to Sting.

"It's an interesting kind of horse to ride," he says. "Because I've definitely taken that same stance that she's taken, where I'm like, just leave me alone and, you know, talk about my band or don't. Which I've lost my cool a bunch of times as well, getting into that. But from my family I'm the kind of vanguard of trying to figure that out. So she's learning from what I'm doing a little bit."

"Definitely, artistically, it's a very tough thing, because the first job of an artist is to kill your parents," he says. "That's literally what you're supposed to do. And sometimes I do want to do that, sometimes I don't want to do that. Also, he's kind of a big dragon to slay. So I'm working on it."

And yet Fiction Plane also has toured with both Sting and The Police.

"Sometimes I regret doing that stuff because then it's done, right? I can't really be exactly my own artist if I've done that. But you know what? If someone asks me to go on tour with The Police, you do it," he says, laughing.

Source : by John J. Moser

Mondo Lumina is out in US

"The title means 'world of light,'" frontman-songwriter-bassist Joe Sumner says of Mondo Lumina, Fiction Plane's fourth studio album and first U.S. release in over eight years.  "It's about the ability to see the beauty in things, to see life in full color."

Mondo Lumina - Fiction Plane

The title is an apt metaphor for the 12-song set, which offers some of the band's most vivid songcraft and most accomplished musicianship to date.  On such effortlessly infectious, emotionally insightful tunes as "Flesh and Bone," "Real Life," "Refuse" and "In My Shoes," the band draws upon an expansive array of sonic elements to expand its punchy, melodic sound into exciting new territory.

In the dozen-plus years since Fiction Plane released its 2003 debut album Everything Will Never Be OK, the band has built a potent body of work that's established the transatlantic trio—which also includes guitarist Seton Daunt and drummer Pete Wilhoit—as a consistently compelling musical force.

The restless creative sensibility that drives Mondo Lumina has been a constant throughout Fiction Plane's existence.  As the oldest son of veteran superstar Sting, Joe Sumner's early observations of the entertainment business bred a healthy skepticism that was reflected in his pointed lyrics when he began writing songs in his teens.

"The three of us," Wilhoit states, "share a common love for many types of music, a similar dry/sarcastic sense of humor, a strong work ethic, a devotion to family, an openness to sharing musical expression, and huge respect for one another.  All of this has made it an undeniable joy to work together over all these years, with the occasional brotherly fight..."

"I think we still feel like we have a lot to prove," Sumner concludes.  "It's funny to think of us as having a career.  But we're still not dead, so a career is what we have.  I really think the best is yet to come."

The band will perform an album launch show this evening at the Rockwood Music Hall 2, in New York, followed by another concert tomorrow at Milkboy, Philadelphia.
Yesterday, they gave an acoustic show at The Orchad, in New York.

Fiction plane performed at The Orchad

Order the album on Amazon.
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Fiction Plane: "Mondo Lumina" full album stream

If all you know of Fiction Plane is “Hate” – the U.K. trio’s sardonic single from their bleakly titled 2003 debut Everything Will Never Be OK – prepare for an injection of more positivity than you might be expecting. And if all you know of Fiction Plane is that it’s the band of Sting‘s son, Joe Sumner, prepare to hear an album that should further distance the younger Sumner from the considerable shadow cast by his father.

Fiction Plane - Mondo Lumina (Robin Looy)
(Photo: Robin Looy)

Diffuser is proud to premiere Mondo Lumina, the upcoming fourth full-length from Fiction Plane (singer-bassist Sumner, guitarist Seton Daunt and drummer Pete Wilhoit).
Recorded at Hollywood’s Henson Recording Studios with engineer Tom Syrowski (Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen), Mondo Lumina (which means “world of light”) is the most diverse and sprawling collection of songs Fiction Plane have written – and, at moments, it’s the most optimistic. “It’s about the ability to see the beauty in things, to see things in full color,” said Sumner.
The new perspective is immediately apparent in the album’s lead single, “Where Do We Go From Here,” which the band shared a few weeks back.

But while there’s more optimism in the lyrics (Sumner said they retain “cautious pragmatism”), the music and arrangements have far more sonic depth and complexity.
“Mondo Lumina was written with the lights on and the doors open,” Sumner told us. “With nowhere to hide, it became about being ourselves and examining the contradictions inside our own heads. Most of the songs center around around a conversation between two parts of one person’s mind, speaking as if they were separate people. In that sense, it’s highly introspective yet transparent and open. It’s definitely our chillest album, but maybe the most powerful because of it.”
It’s also their most ambitious and eclectic. From the vast, Western-inspired “Don’t Give Up the Fight” to the contemplative, mandolin-tinged “In My Shoes,” each of the 12 songs on the album is instantly discernible from the last. But at the center of it all is Sumner, sounding as confident and comfortable as he ever has with legitimately chill-inducing vocal moments scattered throughout.

Listen to the album on and pre-order your copy here. Mondo Lumina will be released Friday (Nov. 13) via Rhyme & Reason Records. They’ll also be playing a record release show at Rockwood Music Hall 2 in New York City on Friday, followed by a show on Saturday (Nov. 14) at MilkBoy in Philadelphia.

Source : by Tim Karan


BYT interviews Fiction Plane

Fiction Plane played a set at the Standard East Village’s penthouse space a few weeks back, and Brightest Young Things website was able to get in a quickie rooftop Q+A with Joe Sumner and Pete Wilhoit before they took the stage. The band are set to release their fourth album, (Mondo Lumina) in MERE DAYS (11/13), so they asked them about the development of those new songs, as well as about what’s changed for the guys since the start of their career back in the early 2000s. Internet eavesdrop on all of the below, and then be sure to pre-order a copy of the album HERE. (Also follow Fiction Plane on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.)

Fiction Plane - Mondo Lumina

So where are you guys actually based these days?
Joe: Earth. [Laughs]
Pete: We live between LA, Connecticut, Holland and England and…

Okay, so globally. Earth was an accurate answer. [Laughs] 
Pete: It wasn’t always like that, but we’ve just all expanded out.
Joe: We’re a transatlantic shit storm.
Pete: We’re lucky to be all in the same place at the same time.

It sounds like it! So how does that generally work when you’re creating music, then? Do you send things back and forth to each other, or do you prefer to be in the same room for that process to happen?
Joe: We all have to be in the same room, really. Nothing happens unless we’re all sitting in there playing.
Pete: I think we’re the most productive band when we’re literally face to face. Other than that, it’s hard to get a hold of each other. Not that we don’t like each other, we just all have a lot of stuff going on.

Oh, completely! And you’ve all got families of your own now; how has that changed the way you work?
Joe: A lot. It just makes time really precious, so we kind of come together and bang everything out really quickly. We used to spend like, a week screwing around in the studio, but now it’s like, “BOOM!” But you actually capture moments really well like that.
Pete: It is more productive. And it’s also something that we hold more dear, I guess, since we have so little free time. When we do actually get together, we realize that it’s such a privilege to be able to do this, so we take advantage and enjoy it. That’s the main sentiment on the new record; we got together and said, “Honestly, what do you guys want to write? What do we want to play?” So it was all stuff that was really dear in our heart, and it just came out really quick.

Well tell me a little bit more about that conversation for Mondo Lumina; were there goals that you had from the outset, or did it shape itself as you worked on things together?
Joe: Not really goals, but we worked with a producer called Tom Syrowski, and he allowed us to just get really creative and to find stuff really quickly. We wouldn’t have to search long for a sound, because he’d just find it. It gives you the confidence to make stuff happen. But we’ve ended up with what I think is probably our most consistent record.
Pete: Yeah, we definitely trimmed the fat more on this than with other records. We love a lot of different genres of music, and we love playing them. If you come see us live you’ll realize that we don’t just play something intimate and delicate and quiet; we also play big rock prog stuff.
Joe: We even got into some Queens of the Stone Age stuff last night just out of improv. And then there’s acoustic moments as well. But this record actually nailed a consistent sound, and I don’t know what it is, exactly, but I like it.

So was that the most surprising thing that came out of all of this that you’d maybe not have predicted at the outset?
Pete: That’s a good question. When we started this, it was one of those things where we were at a point in our lives where, right before this record, the band could have disbanded. Since w had so much other stuff going on, we’ve had a nice career in Europe and done a lot of touring…it’s not that we’re satisfied, but there are real deadlines and bottom lines that everybody has, which makes it more difficult. So it’s a privilege to have an opportunity to do another record. We had no idea what it was going to sound like. So when we came together, we were all like, “Let’s write and see what comes out.” We had a few sessions where we did something called a song game in London, where forty-five minutes we had to write a song from beginning to end and have some sort of consistent melody.
Joe: Finish the whole thing. Lyrics, done. And then you go to record it, and you do it like ten times a day.
Pete: And I think that was the most surprising thing, where we actually had real songs come out of that process, which we’d never done before. For me that was the most surprising thing.

That’s great! Now, you guys started this project in the early 2000s, and things have changed immensely in terms of how people consume music…
Joe: We were right at the end of old school record deals, and so we were into that, and then it completely fell to pieces.

So how do you maintain positivity throughout that process?
Joe: That’s why it’s taken us twelve years to get to our fourth record. [Laughs] Even now it’s still a bit crazy. But luckily everything seems to be working out still, and we’re happy about that.
Pete: And touring together, playing so much together through the highs and the lows has sort of bonded us in a way that early on we just couldn’t have had. Because it’s not just a musical thing when you’re a band, it’s the experience of growing up together. Or growing old together, anyway. And because of that, we’re more on an even playing field than we ever have been, so we all agree that this is quite an opportunity. We’ve seen a lot of amazing things in this industry, have played a lot of great gigs, and to be able to do another record is an honor.

Fiction Plane - Mondo Lumina

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