This feature was first published in Weightless in December 2012.
Within the walls of Enemies List Home Recordings house some of the most enigmatic artists of today, producing equally strange, provocative and honest music. Among the ranks of projects such as Have A Nice Life, Afterlives and Giles Corey stands the wistful drones of Planning For Burial.
Mixing elements of shoegaze, drone, slowcore and post-metal, gliding synths evoke feelings of woeful nostalgia, while thick guitars construct impenetrable walls of regret and desolation. Thom Wasluck, the mastermind behind the one-man project, graciously took the time to talk to us about his music, the past, present and future.
Tell us about Planning For Burial. How did it come about? Did you have any previous musical endeavours that led up to it?
At this point Planning For Burial has been going for almost 7 years as a recording entity though I never really let it out into the world until 4 years ago, and over the past two years I have focused more on playing live. I don’t believe it ever really started with a purpose besides it’s something I have been doing since I was a teenager recording late at night with my first 4 track cassette recorder.
The name of the project is rather poignant, and a pretty good representation of the music itself, what made you choose the name “Planning For Burial”?
The name was inspired by watching my grandfather become suddenly ill after my grandmothers death, watching a man I thought my whole life was emotionless just disintegrate without his love and how brutal it must be to know full well you are dying, making the arrangements, telling your son and grandson family secrets or just stories he hadn’t told in years, spending time with loved one, trying to get it all in before you go.
What kind of bands and musicians influence your music? Is it mostly drawn from shoegaze and drone artists, or something a little different?
I have always had a thing for melodies or music that feels warm and sad at the same time. I know it’s cliché to say but I really believe my influences span almost three decades worth of constant music consumption, the music my parents played around me as a child, the music I found as pre-teen and in my teenage years through my twenties, my musical taste is become pretty vast.
Any particular artists, old and new, you’re enjoying at the moment?
Lately all I seem to listen to is Unwound’s “Leaves Turn Inside Of You”, anything Chelsea Wolfe, and “Treasure” & “Heaven or Las Vegas” by Cocteau Twins
Since the release of ‘Leaving’, you’ve put out a fair few EPs moving the Planning For Burial sound in a quieter, more meditative direction. What influenced this decision, and what will the sound evolve to in the future?
I think as far the EPs go they have taken that direction because some of them have been recorded spontaneously utilizing no overdubbing just throw a few mics up and hit record, I felt like in the last year I needed to get immediate feelings out rather than let them build. I’m not sure of the way it will evolve, because I also see two sides of what I am doing their is the quieter stuff but the live shows are have taken a much louder heavier tone.
You play a lot of shows each year, and have just finished your first few shows in Europe and the UK. What are your thoughts on touring? What’s it like to perform your music in a live setting?
A lot of what I do is based on my feelings at any given time, and I seem to be getting more out of playing live than I have from recording lately.
What are your thoughts on home recording in music?
Music should be about feeling, doing things and recording exactly when you feel them, not about setting up in some lavish studio for a set time frame, though that also has its advantages as well.
You have a new release coming out soon, a reissue of ‘Quietly’ on the prolific Enemies List Home Recordings label. Tell us about that.
It now contains all the songs that were written at the time that for sequencing purposes wouldn’t work correctly on the cassette format, it also contains songs from a limited cassette release called “Reminder” and some other unreleased tracks. Everything has been remastered, and the artwork has been reformatted by Niels Geybels for a bigger layout.
What have you got planned for 2013?
I have 4 different split releases across 4 different labels, I will finally record the written 2nd full length (though I can’t promise that one), there are some small weekend dates planned for early in the year and the possibility of relocating across the ocean.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us, Thom! Any closing words for our readers?
I’m just thankful for anyone that has given this project any time at all, I have been able to do some pretty incredible things with my life because of it and have met some amazing people as well.