On the radar: Plini

Five minutes and 39 seconds into the tour video for Plini's Paper Moon (above), the camera pans to the audience to reveal an entire front row bearing a look of ‘wtf!?’ wonderment. 

It neatly encapsulates the experience of listening to a man that Steve Vai has dubbed “the future of exceptional guitar playing”.

Meeting Steve Vai was a bit like when you’re a child and you have to talk to adults


Thanks to a fan in Vai’s camp, the Sydney-based guitarist got to meet the guitar god back in January 2016 around the NAMM show. “It just involved me sitting there, losing my mind, silently!” laughs Plini. 

“It was one of those ridiculously surreal days. A bit like when you’re a child and you have to talk to adults and you don’t really know what to say. Fortunately, he’s a very, very chill guy!”

Leading by example

This forward-thinking project took root in Plini’s bedroom while he was studying for an architecture degree, but has since fleshed out into a full band and toured extensively with MusicRadar faves Animals As Leaders.

“The thing I took from them was just being open to doing crazy shit,” he reckons. “That’s how they got to where they are. Tosin and Javier are not afraid to try something new.”

Plini’s no impersonator, though. His high performing, low-maintenance set-up - centred around his signature Strandberg Boden OS 6 and a Fractal Axe-Fx - is used to construct an innovative, melodic take on fusion guitar. 

There’s an incredible ear for detail at work here, with debut album, Handmade Cities, conjuring metaphors of pain-staking architectural models as well as nodding to his nuanced fretwork.

“I guess my idea of a good place is the same as a good song. It’s naturally composed of lots of good elements and grows naturally,” says Plini. “I put a lot of time into developing individual notes and how they’re phrased. That’s what I like about art and architecture. If you give me a nice picture, I enjoy looking at it. It’s the same with a nice reverb!”

(Image credit: Press)
  • For fans of: Animals As Leaders, Steve Vai
  • Hear: Every Piece Matters
Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.

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