Thom Wasluck has been writing and performing music as Planning For Burial since 2005. Since then, he’s put out several releases, all of which are written, recorded, and performed by Wasluck alone, sans backing band. He recently released his latest LP, Below The House, on The Flenser. The album is deeply moving, examining the painful rumination and rose-colored nostalgia that comes with the end of a relationship. He answered a few questions before he plays his record release show at Saint Vitus this Saturday, February 25.
You play all the instruments on your recordings and perform solo. What led you to decide to perform without a band? What is the live experience like?
There was never a decision to perform without a band, since I got my first guitar almost 21 years ago I was always writing and recording songs by myself on different mediums whether it was with a boombox or karaoke machines, eventually 4 track cassette recorder, then some nicer digital systems. All of that was happening while also playing in bands, and then I was no longer in any bands and I was trying to figure out how to still play shows but not have to worry about schedules of other people and everything else that comes along with being in a band. In the live experience I try to recreate the songs as much as possible, though a probably much rawer version, utilizing samplers and loopers. In the last year or so I’ve been attempting to create a somewhat light show while also trying to control a bunch of pedals with my feet while also singing and playing guitar.
You’ve recorded a lot since you stared this project! How do you compare your early work with your latest work, Below The House? How do you think it’s changed over time?
I think with the LPs I spend a bit more time on the writing and shaping of the songs, as well as the sequencing of the tracks, where the EPs/splits/singles are things I work on rather quickly. I think Below The House comes somewhat full circle to where I started with the album Leaving, I believe it’s a lot more consistent but that could just be my opinion. It took me awhile after the release of Desideratum to enjoy the songs again, as the record was recorded really quick and kinda haphazardly, though the songs themselves and the sequencing were worked on for a few years previous during the live shows.
The record is really heavy both in sound and thematically. What was recording it like?
Recording would happen in spurts, then a whole bunch of time would pass before I would work on it again. Moving back in with my parents makes it difficult to have my gear set up at all times, so I would have to work around their schedules. On top of that when there would be times I would be able to drag gear all through their house I just wasn’t feeling very productive. So that tension of not being able to record much when I was feeling most like it pushed the songs when I finally could.
It’s a really audibly interesting record; I really like the way you combine elements of different genres so that it adds nuance to the way it makes you feel. What were you listening to while you recorded it?
I don’t think it fully comes through on the record but I was listening to a lot of PJ Harvey, Microphones/Mount Eerie, Unwound, And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, and Marilyn Manson.
Now that the record is out, what is the rest of 2017 looking like?
Trying to figure out how and where to tour around my work schedule or lack of actually knowing my work schedule I should say, right now it’s mostly weekend stuff around the northeast region, a short run in California in late May, then who knows.
– Mandy Brownholtz