“If I’ve written a section for an epic ‘John Petrucci on a mountain’ solo, I’d rather do my best impression for the self-satisfaction”: Plini maintains he’s “still a greedy lead player at heart” – so why did he give a solo to Tosin Abasi on his new EP?

(Image credit: Chad Dao)

Australian maestro Plini is exploring darker tonalities on his new EP, armed with a newly updated Neural DSP plugin. And for an ‘evil’ solo, he called in a famous friend…

Your new EP, Mirage, explores the darker side of your playing, intermingled with your bright signature sound. How did you navigate blending the two together?

“There’s still a lot of Lydian in there, but in trying to expand my vocabulary I’ve been using a lot of chromatic and uglier tonalities. I don’t approach it too theoretically; I’ll treat what I’m playing as a minor pentatonic but with this extra evil note that’s borrowed from another scale. It’s just adding them note-by-note, seeing how they feel and what I can do with that extra tonality.”

The track Still Life features a guest solo from Tosin Abasi. What does he bring to the track? 

“There aren’t many guitarists I know that can write things that sound genuinely musical but also so evil; the way he plays is pretty, like, out-there compared to most guitarists. That’s probably the reason that I haven’t had too many guest guitarists lately. 

“I’m still a greedy lead guitarist in my heart, so if I’ve written a section for the most epic ‘John Petrucci on a mountain’ solo, I could ask him, but I would rather do my best impression for the self-satisfaction. However, I knew Tosin would be perfect for that section. I love the fact that he’s constantly finding new ways to be more ridiculous as a guitarist!”

Your Neural DSP plugin is the first to receive an update and it comes armed with a host of new features. How did that come about?

“There are features in other plugins which have become a very integral part of how I like to make music. For example, the octave and fuzz pedals on Archetype: Gojira have been by my go-to tone for any sort of simple, not-too-notey riffs, so I pestered Neural and they did everything on my wish list. 

“We wanted to put a new take on some of the features, too. The octave on my plugin has an octave up and down, which is what I’ve been using on the Quad Cortex for live, and we made a few changes to the fuzz, getting it to break up in the right places. Now I have everything that I need for my sound all in one plugin.”

I play this ridiculous space-age looking guitar, and Fishman are the most space-age pickup company, so it makes sense

And which is your main guitar for playing live these days? 

“I’m using my true temperament Strandberg Sälen, but I’ve just put some Fishman Fluence Open Core pickups on my through-neck signature which are sounding awesome. 

“Most of the players I admire use Fishman now, and I play this ridiculous space-age looking guitar, and Fishman are the most space-age pickup company, so it makes sense. All the main rhythm tones sound clearer, brighter and spankier, and all the clean tones are just as warm and round. It just feels better.”

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.