Miami Horror


An ELO record, a Prince record, and a New Order record… what do they have in common? Well, you’re extremely likely to find them sitting on the coffee table at Benjamin Plant’s home, the mastermind behind Melbourne’s four-piece electro-rock act, Miami Horror.

Originally formed as a solo project for Benjamin’s production and DJ work in 2006/2007, Miami Horror has evolved into a live band and since then their sound has progressed into a more mature, experimental sound. Recently visiting my home of Vancouver, BC for a sold out show at Fortune Sound Club, I was lucky enough to arrange a nice chat with the boys. I was joined in the downstairs lounge of Fortune by Ben Plant, Aaron Shanahan, and Dan Whitechurch. Josh Moriarty was unable to join due to the jar of honey he packed in his guitar case exploding into quite the sticky mess. Sometimes a man just has to clean!

Ben, Miami Horror started out as your personal outlet for productions and DJ mixes years back, and then your music progressed into this psyche-rock indie-dance live band project which is what it is now. What influenced this shift?

Ben: To be honest, I think it was just me getting over club music and wanting to explore something new. It was sort of a “been there done that” kind of thing. I was in that scene for years and most of the remixes were done in like 2007/2008…it’s 2011 now; time for a change in what I thought was cool. Hopefully everyone else still digs it.

But that doesn’t seem to be a forgotten element of Miami Horror. Do you still plan on keeping that side of your work alive in years to come?

Ben: Oh totally, remixing is fun and all but we just haven’t had time with the band. The band project is the main focus these days.

As far as making music today, what’s keeping you guys inspired? What are you listening to personally, as well as in the studio for influence?

Aaron: I guess everything we listen to is going to influence us in the future in one way or another. It’s all different but also similar in ways. I guess I’d say a lot of 70s stuff, or stuff that sounds like 70s era music. Lately it’s been Pink Floyd, John Lennon, Beatles, even leading up to current music like the Flaming Lips and Radiohead. It changes a lot but for personal listening that’s usually the standard for us.

So what’s next for Miami Horror?

Dan: Maybe it’ll be a 50s inspired album next (laughs). We’re going back!

Going back to the beginnings Ben, when did you decide you wanted to transform your project into a full band? Did you know the rest of the guys from before?

Ben: Yeah well we were all connected in the scene back in Melbourne. Josh and I went out a lot together to shows and all the other guys have either been band members or DJs/producers for a while before so it was an easy process to get everyone together in Miami Horror. Josh was doing vocals for me in previous projects so it was obvious to have him on board.

Aaron: You know it was a lot like American Idol! Ben was sitting there at a table and we’d all have to come audition and he’d yell at us. There were posters on the street advertising it and everything! (band laughs) But yeah, we all came together and that’s that. We haven’t really had any changes since. It’s a good crew I’d say. We’ve shared a lot of rooms in the last while and we aren’t tired of each other… yet.

I bet it’ll be refreshing to go back and play all your favorite local venues at home after this.

Ben: Actually, we kind of have by-passed all the venues and clubs we started out at and it’s a lot like the concert circuit we typically do on tour. We just have more festivals. There are a lot. There are heaps! They’re actually super fun. Even the smaller ones are crazy.

Would you guys say you’re popular at the festivals because your sound translates well to the huge summer party crowd?

Dan: That could be it. We seem to always play as the sun is going down. Have you noticed that?

Aaron: It’s kind of funny because our music usually fits in well at a night time club and the day time is a different environment completely.

Are there any newer bands that Miami Horror suggests to the people today?

Ben: Umm, there’s a band called Art vs Science who are really good. They’re from Sydney and I think they’re coming out here to Vancouver in August apparently, so check them out! I guess if we’re talking about Australian artists, there’s this singer, Kimbra, who’s awesome too. She did some vocals on our album.

Aaron: We also really enjoy Tame Impala, I’m sure you have heard of them by now.

A lot of bands don’t listen to too much music while they’re either touring or working on material. Do you guys find the time to listen to much while on the road?

Aaron: Oh we definitely do, but I can see why some bands don’t. There was a period in Europe when we would be travelling by bus, just spending so many hours driving, and we’d just share tunes the entire time. But I know what you mean and I can see why that happens.

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