Plasma Canvas aren’t very subtle when it comes to describing themselves. In fact, the duo—guitarist/vocalist Adrienne Ash and drummer Jude McCarron—are quite the opposite, proclaiming themselves “the loudest, gayest punk band in the world” on their Facebook page. Ash started the band when she relocated to Fort Collins, CO at the end of 2015 to escape the trans violence she’d encountered in her small hometown in rural Missouri, but PC really took shape after the original drummer left in June 2017 and was replaced by McCarron.
Produced by Descendents’ Bill Stevenson, the self-titled EP that “Saturn” is taken from is the pair’s second—and strongest—release together, five songs which unleash the chemistry between the pair and which serve as a bold, brilliant mission statement. “Saturn” sits right in the middle of the EP, and shows Ash’s ability to channel her insecurities and emotions into a tender yet boisterous blend of punk. Immediately catchy and relatable, “Saturn” is a song that rides defiantly into the horizon with a gritty yet beautiful swagger. To that extent, it’s the purest kind of love song—one which stares intimidatingly into the mirror while also trying to navigate the emotions, both good and bad, that someone else can make you feel, and the control those very emotions can have on you, whether you like it or not.
The new EP, KILLERMAJESTIC, will be unleashed June 12 via SideOneDummy. Hear the new track below, and read on for an interview with Adrienne Ash.
Explain the story behind this song and how it fits in with the rest of the EP. Is it about someone specific?
It is, and it isn’t. It was inspired by a period of change that I was experiencing in my life, which definitely did involve someone specific. However, the song isn’t exactly about that person. A friend (who I had a crush on) was going through a similar pattern of change and weird uncertainty in their life, and we had several 2 a.m. phone calls where we talked about it. One night, they read an astrology book to me about how between twenty-seven and thirty, a lot of weird stuff can happen to you, and you’re supposed to sort of learn about yourself from it and start to see a solidified version of “adult” you. I’ve always thought that stuff was kind of neat, even if it’s not super scientific. Since it’s called a Saturn Return, and I’ve always been obsessed with planets and outer space stuff, I thought it was a fitting title.
It’s definitely one of the more vulnerable songs on the record, but it’s also optimistic and defiant at the same time. Did you feel yourself bouncing back the way you describe in the song?
I did! I wrote it in the middle of winter, at the end of a relationship, and at the very beginning of a new job. I was taking the bus every day, and trying to stay sober and fit into a new life. It was a really rough time. The song is largely about being persistent about what you want out of life, and knowing that you won’t get there without work. It’s so strange to start over, but it can be exciting to have the silver lining of starting a new chapter in your life.
Like the rest of the EP, you wear your heart on your sleeve in this song. Is it difficult being that honest? And what are your main hesitations about putting it all on the line like that?
If I’m going to yell something at the top of my lungs at shows for the rest of forever, I want to make sure I really mean what I’m saying. It can be really strange knowing that there are countless strangers that know about my personal struggles, but I think it’s important for people to see that. I want to give people something real. My favorite songs were always the ones that were honest, regardless of what genre they were. If it has something to say, I want to hear it. As a listener, I love listening to someone just fall apart. It connects me to them because sometimes I just feel like shit. Letting the audience know that there are other people who feel the way they do can really help them cope.
It also feels like the center of the record in terms of theme and sound, and not just because it’s right in the middle. Would you say that’s true?
I would say that it is very much the heart of the record, both thematically and musically. It’s sort of a summary of where we are as a band, as well as where Jude and I are as people. We know our worth, but we don’t think we’re hot shit. We know we have flaws, but we aren’t letting them define us. When we made the record, we knew we had something really cool, but that we’d have to really put in the effort to make it as cool as we knew it could be. I like its place in the lineup because it really works to bridge the gap between the two sides of the EP.
What was it like working with a punk heavyweight like Bill Stevenson?
Bill was really fun to work with. He could be intimidating, but only because he’s so direct. Anytime it would get really tense or not-fun, he would make a joke and it would immediately be cool again. He was always down to try new ideas and always very encouraging when we were having a difficult time with something. He definitely expects a lot out of you, but that’s because he knows you can do it and knows he can draw it out of you. Also shout-out to Andrew Berlin for being super open-minded to mixing ideas and always helping out and answering any questions we had. The whole Blasting Room crew are really great people, and we would love to work with them again.