17-year-old Pennsylvania native, Sam Martinsen AKA pluko has made leaps and bounds in his career over the past year. After attending his first show in Pittsburgh’s Stage AE and falling in love with music, pluko dedicated his time and effort into creating tracks. Sam’s brilliance shined through the cracks immediately after he started his music career on SoundCloud under the name Pluto; creating some of the most innovative Future Bass in the industry. Tracks like his remix of Opia-YDU, and his track with Ye., Breath showcased his ability to manipulate vocal chops under a Future Bass sound, which had seldom been done effectively.
Recently pluko has stepped out of his comfort zone and experimented with other electronic genres. His most recent single, asleep (ft. MOONZz) was released under ODESZA’s label, Foreign Family Collective. Sam mixed his knowledge of Future Bass with a more relaxed, low tempo style in order to create a unique track that elicits emotion from the listener. Currently, pluko is on tour with ODESZA during their, A Moment Apart tour. Festival Squad had the opportunity to interview him in between shows.
Festival Squad: You’ve had such big success for being so young. What is your musical background?
pluko: I used to go to my sister’s school band concerts all the time. I actually hated music before I began digging around and finding music that I was into. I did begin to take piano lessons once I started really getting into writing. Now I find myself listening to just about every genre out there
Festival Squad: In March of 2018, news hit the stands that you were forced to change your previous stage name “Pluto” due to infringement on Disney’s character. You seamlessly transitioned from Pluto to pluko (purposely all lowercase)—Why? What was the inspiration behind the name and the purposeful use of all lowercase?
pluko: I really loved how Pluto looked and sounded. It really had nothing to do with the planet or space or anything. When I had to change it, pluko felt the same way. It looked and sounded cool and it didn’t stray too far away from Pluto, so it would still be recognizable. I chose all lowercase because it feels more personal that way. I want people to feel like they are a part of my music and feel a personal connection to it. I think the lowercase really helps with that.
Festival Squad: On Friday, April 27th, you released your first single with Foreign Family Collective called “asleep (feat. MOONZz)”. Can you walk us through the creative process behind the track?
pluko: asleep began as just a nice little piano and beat that I wrote on a rainy day. MOONZz really brought the track to life when we met up in the studio in LA last year. Something very special happened and we pretty much finished that track that day!
Festival Squad: MOONZz has some incredible vocals on the track. Her sound is often referred to as “a sultry mix between classical stylings and pop.” What drew you two to working together?
pluko: MOONZz and I met up when I was looking for a vocalist for that piano demo that I mentioned earlier. I had heard of her before but hadn’t been too familiar with her stuff. As soon as she started singing out melodies for vocals, I knew she was a perfect fit.
Festival Squad: “asleep” is only 1 of many songs to come from you in the near future. We have word that you are working on a new album. What can you tell us about it? What have been the inspirations behind it? What can fans expect?
pluko: The album has every emotion that I could possibly get out and into music. There is everything from ambient and relaxing tracks, to thrilling and dark tracks. Each track on the album represents a feeling, or a lesson I learned, or an experience that I had when I was sixteen.
Festival Squad: You’ve collaborated with artists like Ye., LZRD, and others, do you have any other collaborations in the works?
pluko: I work with artists from time to time to share new ideas and stuff. I’m definitely most comfortable when it’s just me alone though. I’ve been going back and forth with dudes like ukko. I put out a collaboration of course on my mixtape series “outer thoughts”.
Festival Squad: When creating a new track do you already have an idea of what you want it to sound like, or do you make it up as you go along?
pluko: Sometimes I’ll have a clear idea of exactly what I want, but a lot of the time it’s just me messing around and then sparking a chain of ideas.
Festival Squad: How did you link up with ODESZA, and eventually become part of the Foreign Family Collective?
pluko: My team and I sent my album over to them a while back and they really liked it! The first time that I got to meet the boys and the FFC team, I knew it was perfect. I felt the excitement and the passion that the whole team had for music. These are the kind of people that I want to have working with my music. The most important thing for me is a positive, hardworking, and open-minded environment of people surrounding me.
Festival Squad: Do you work on music while touring, or is there too much going on every day to sit down and work on new tracks?
pluko: I work on music all of the time!! I’m on tour with ODESZA right now and I’ve probably written 3 or 4 new tracks so far!! Sometimes it can be hard to get a lot of work done with school and everything, but I usually will at least get some sort of writing done every day.
pluko certainly has a bright future ahead of him as he continues to innovate his sound and grow into his own as an artist. Keep an eye out for pluko’s album, there is no doubt that it will be one of the best to come out this year!