On Thursday, 4/27, I had the pleasure to enjoy the greenroom alongside Armond Arabshahi, aka Unlike Pluto. I was greeted warmly at 1015 Folsom’s top floor by the chillest dude you’ll ever meet. An up and coming artist, Unlike Pluto caught my attention when I saw him open for Seven Lions last year at the Fox Theater, in Oakland. After that show, I looked into his music, and found myself being very fond of Pluto’s eclectic style. From Jazz, to Emo, Country, Psychadelic and more, we chatted about his plans for this upcoming busy summer, his influences and favorite collabs so far.
MMIBTY: How’s it going man, is it your first time playing in San Francisco?
Unlike Pluto [UP]: I actually played at the Fox Theater in Oakland last year opening for Seven Lions, it was awesome.
MMIBTY: Speaking of concerts, you’re playing a lot of festivals this coming Summer, how are you feeling about that?
UP: Fantastic, it’s gonna be awesome! I’m excited to travel and play, there’s Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Tomorrowland and a few more that haven’t been announced yet.
MMIBTY: Are you looking forward to playing one in particular?
UP: All of them, to be honest, I’ve never played Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo, or even Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland is in Belgium so that’s gonna be really cool!
MMIBTY: Let’s talk a bit about your music. Your newest release, “Worst in Me” has your own vocals in it. Do you think the process of producing your vocals as opposed to someone else’s is different?
UP: So hard. I have to constantly get other people’s opinion because I am so biased! I just feel like it sucks every time I do it, so I need a lot of people’s input. “Worst in Me” wasn’t my best vocal work that I know I can do, and for that song I got a good 10 opinions on it before I cut the final vocal. It’s harder because it’s your own voice, and it’s weird listening to yourself. Now I’m used to it, because I’ve done about 30 songs with my vocals, guitar and piano, but it’s different. It’s so much easier and takes less time with other vocalists, I am blessed and have worked with amazing vocalists like, Joana Jones and Mike Taylor, they’re music people that are one-takers, they go on the mic and sing an entire verse up until the chorus and I’m like “I don’t even know if I want to do any more takes” it’s way easier.
MMIBTY: Do you have any favorite / best collaborations that you’ve done so far?
UP: Joana Jones and Mike Taylor. And, also Evalyn. These are artists that they come in the studio, and usually people in LA are like “let’s do pop music” and these people are like “let’s get as weird as we can, let’s just make this shit that we’re passionate about making, let’s make it dark and weird” so I really appreciate that, I appreciate people that are honest with what they want to make. Music, if you’re trying to make the same shit everybody else is doing, then what’s the point?
MMIBTY: That’s actually something that came up in our interview with Seven Lions, he mentioned how now that he’s been playing more main stages, he’s realizing how a lot of people play the same stuff.
UP: I love Seven Lions, Jeff is like my favorite person, I look up to him a lot. He’s a huge inspiration for me because, first of all his sound design is insane, but he did his own thing, and he’s still doing completely his own thing, and his fan base is so strong, it’s insane!
MMIBTY: Seven Lions has a lot of metal and rock inspiration, do you also share that background?
UP: Metal, Rock, Emo, Country, Folk, I did everything. I used to go to open tunings and finger pick in barbecue restaurants, so that was an interesting time. Like, “why is this brown guy playing open tunings?” (laughs) and I was like “HOWDY!” that was back in Georgia, so people were really confused.
MMIBTY: Your collab with Joana Jones is one of my favorites, “Waiting for You”, and in that song you can definitely feel the jazzy vibes. What are some of your jazz influences?
UP: I’ll just give you a few names, Sonny Rollins is a saxophonist and Artie Shaw plays the clarinet. I play the clarinet, and I was always told and I always felt that clarinet was not a sexy instrument at all; saxophone is very sexy, very sensual, the clarinet…not so much (laughs) and Artie Shaw, somehow made it very sexy to play clarinet. Sarah Vaughan is amazing too, I sample all these people all the time just for inspiration. There’s a lot of people from the underground scene from the 60’s and 70’s that I have vinyls of, and I just sample it for inspiration. Sometimes French Psychadelic music too. Japanese Funk, Japan had some great psychadelic and funk music in the 60’s too. And German! German Jazz was amazing too! I love jazz. Trust me, that is not the only jazz song I’ve made with other singers, it’s just labels are afraid to put it out. Now that “Everything Black” came out everyone’s a little more inclined to try it out.
MMIBTY: You mentioned that only recently labels have been taking a leap of faith to release some of your music. How do you feel about releasing music for free, for example on SoundCloud?
UP: I definitely have a lot of songs with my vocals that, in between label releases I think I’m just gonna start pushing out, for free.
MMIBTY: There’s so much! You’re so eclectic on your influences that come from different styles and genres, and yet your music still very much sounds like you, I’m able to listen to it and know this is Unlike Pluto. How do you manage that magic?
UP: Well.. you just don’t think about it. It doesn’t scare me. I see a lot of artists who, for example, are inspired by a funk song. In my opinion, you need to do your research on funk music. If you’re inspired by something, do your research. That’s what I do with vinyls, I really went back and experienced it, went to a few underground shows in LA and just like, nitty gritty get into it.
MMIBTY: And lastly, what’s your advice for people who are trying to do the same thing, put music out there? You did the “normal” thing and went to college before dedicating yourself full time to music, how do you encourage people to do that?
UP: I don’t regret college, Emory was a very hard school for me because I’m not a very intelligent person, but I do feel that, whatever situation you’re in, make the best of it and always make sure you’re doing what you love. For up and coming producers, stick to your guns, find a sound that you love and stick to it.
Unlike Pluto’s newest single “Sweet” feat. Mister Blonde is out NOW!! The producer does not disappoint with his trademark jazz vibes, and the electro swing track brings a femme fatale feel with Blonde’s vocals, and accentuates the drop with heavy horns and electric guitar. Check it out below: