This week we chatted with Cody Almond of Plans about a lot of our favorite topics at Concert Archives like first/favorite concerts, bucket lists, etc. The band recently released their newest EP “No Swimming.”
BP: What’s the first concert that you went to?
Cody: The first one that I went to… I think I was in the second grade when my dad took me to see the Barenaked Ladies. It was weird. It was at a sit down theater. So at that age, I thought that’s what a rock concert was – you sat down. I didn’t realize that there was a whole other world out there. But I was in the second grade, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
BP: What’s the first show that you played?
Cody: There was a theater in the next town over from my hometown. They did plays, they did live music; It was just a small town theater. There’s a festival out there every year, it happens every October I think. Vendors sell little trinkets and blankets and stuff like that. There’s hot apple cider and all that. A fall festival. And they had a battle of the bands. I think I was in the ninth grade and that was the first gig I played. We all wore ties. It was extremely lame.
BP: What was the first Plans shows that you played?
Cody: The first Plans show that we played was actually really tacky and goofy, but it was a lot of fun. We had some friends coming through on a tour and all of our high school bands had broken up and we were all coming into our twenties. And so we started this new band and we’d written all these songs. We didn’t tell anybody that we were a band, because we weren’t sure what direction we were going to go or how we wanted to do it, but we wanted to play a song and see how people felt. So we actually ran onstage in ski masks and hijacked their gear for one song. I think our first official show that we played as a band, like a full set, was when we opened for Beartooth on their house show tour that they did five years ago.
BP: That must have been a fun show!
Cody: It was wild. It was weird ’cause we were the only indie rock, emo-adjacent band on a really hardcore-heavy show. Most of our first shows were all with hardcore bands, so we were kind of the odd band out, but it was a lot of fun to do it that way. I think that influenced how we write songs and like how loud we like to be on stage and stuff.
BP: That’s cool! A lot of the bands where I was from, there was one or two pop punk bands and everybody else was a metalcore band. So the shows were always pretty interesting.
Cody: Yeah, I think that’s a trend like right now. I feel like most of the bands are in that Midwest emo genre. And so now, like when a heavy band comes out, everybody’s like, “This is so sick!” because they stand out. Then it’ll cycle through and it’ll be something else. Whatever band goes against the grain of their hometown scene, people will be like, “Oh my God, this is so refreshing.” It’s a weird little cycle that happens.
BP: I never thought about it like that. That’s interesting.
Cody: All the bands in our scene were hardcore, and there was only a couple of pop punk bands. Then everybody was in a pop punk band, and some people started doing dreamy, indie rock stuff. And then I don’t know. It’s just weird how it all cycles through so much, but it’s cool. I think it’s cool to watch genres influence other genres. Your buddy that was in a hardcore band is now playing the really pretty ambient leads in their indie rock band. I think that’s cool.
BP: What’s your favorite show that you’ve been to you and what’s your favorite show that you’ve played?
Cody: Oh my goodness. My favorite show that I’ve been to… My girlfriend one year for Christmas got us tickets to go to the Jack’s Mannequin “Everything in Transit” 10 year anniversary tour. “Everything in Transit” is probably my favorite record of all time. They played it front to back and then played some other stuff. To see that live was so, so cool. I’d seen that band once or twice before, but that was my favorite record and getting to watch it live was incredible. Like when they had a trombone part, a trombone player walked on stage. They had a kids choir come on and do part of the song. It was so cool ’cause they really did it. It wasn’t just any run of the mill tour or show where they use tracks to fill in those gaps, they really went all out. But it also wasn’t this big arena rock thing where you felt so far away from the band. It was in a pretty big room, but everything felt just like shows that we go to and play, so it was cool.
My favorite show that we’ve played, usually it’s whatever the most recent show that we’ve played is, I don’t know. That’s a hard one. I think the last show we played was Snowchella. That one was cool. We’d been playing a lot of basement shows and stuff before that, and then we played Howard’s Club. There was some live footage that people got from that, and I remember watching the live footage and being like, “Holy shit, we rip. This is awesome!” You always doubt yourself, but that show just felt like, even though there was a bunch of people in there that really hadn’t heard of us or knew us, we still just kicked ass. I felt like that stage size was the stage size that this band was meant to be on. It’s not massive. It’s not a basement. Right in between is that sweet spot that we can be really loud, but all of our little intricacies come through really clearly. It felt the most like Plans that we had ever been.
I always love our hometown shows too. All of our friends are there. Usually we’ll play longer ’cause we’ll play later, or we’ll whip out some songs that we wouldn’t play in other places, like some of the songs that we maybe consider less impressive. When you’re home, you can play those and your friends are gonna have a good time and sing along and jump on stage with you and go nuts.
BP: What’s the first tour that you did and what’s the longest tour that you’ve done?
Cody: Our first tour was a little four or five day run. I think it was four days, and we covered a couple of places in the Midwest. It was just us, like we didn’t go out with anybody, or anything like that. We played some interesting spots. My old band had toured before, but we weren’t very good at it and I didn’t know how to do it. I feel like the first one or two Plans tours, we really learned how to tour. So even though it was just four or five days and no one gave a shit, it was kinda cool to find out how we tour as this band and what was gonna work for us.
We haven’t really been on very long runs. Usually we cap out at like two weeks. I want to say maybe the tour we did with Centerfolds or maybe even the Happy Alright. And then we did that Bogues tour. That one felt long, but that was just weird. It was in October and we played all over the place. So like one night I was in a winter coat, jeans, boots, extra pair of socks, freezing my butt off. Then the next day we were in Texas and I was wearing shorts. So that was just a lot. It was probably only 10 days, but it was like, “Oh my God. I don’t even know what I’m doing right now.” I went through all my clothes in three days.
BP: Have you done any live streams recently or do you have any plans to, since there’s sadly not any touring to be had right now?
Cody: We did one and it was terrifying. I dunno why, but things like that scare me. I think I know that my neighbor can hear me through the walls when I sing, and that really stresses me out, badly. We just announced one that we’re doing on Tuesday [that’s today!] and this will be my second try at it. It’s going to be with Yin Waster, Elephant Jake, Jhariah, and Oux.
We were going to try to do one for our album release, but honestly we haven’t played together since January. I think we had one or two practices. Snowchella, and then I think Summerbruise was doing a tour, so we weren’t practicing. Then all of this stuff hit, and we sort of just put a pin in it. The record was weird, ’cause we didn’t write any of the songs in the same place. We were like sending each other ideas. But I would like to do a full band one sooner than later. I miss my friends and I miss being loud.
BP: Oh yeah, I feel that. There’s a few bands I’ve seen that have livestreamed full band from whatever venue, but I imagine it’s hard to coordinate to get everybody together and find a space to be loud.
Cody: It’d be really crazy, cause you want to bring that energy, right? Like people are watching, they want to feel like they’re there. Everybody misses it. But as the band you have to go hard as fuck to an empty room. Like, I mean, all of us have done that, but it’s scary to do. It would be fun, but it would be challenging. But I think that when we get around to it, we’ll probably do some songs we normally don’t play live and maybe try some weird stuff with them. And I don’t know. I would like to get more into it. I just haven’t had the courage to go for it yet.
It’s cool that the community has come together. I always thought the idea of livestreams was silly until all this happened, and now people miss hearing those songs not the way that they’re recorded.
BP: Too true… Do you have a favorite song to play live?
Cody: I think off of Get the Bad Out, “Unemployment.” It’s usually our second to last song and that one’s just fun. We wrote it really, really fast right before the studio. Like an idea came to me, I was like, “Alright, I got four chords. Let’s try to do something.” And we didn’t try to put any crazy flare to it, we just wrote a rock song, and that energy comes through really well, like the simplicity of it.
“Sleep” was the first song we ever wrote, and we rerecorded it for our new EP. That song has changed so much, which is why we rerecorded it. But that one has always been one of my favorites to play, and why I wanted to put new life into it so that way we could keep playing it. We would play “Answering Machine” to close most of our sets, probably all of them. But you want to start to play the new stuff, you don’t want to always be playing the old stuff. It felt like since the last part of our set was old songs, maybe we could rerecord it and redo it a little bit to match the way that we play it live. And that way it’ll still be a new song, but it’s still the song that I’m in love with.
BP: Which songs from the new EP are you most excited to play live?
Cody: I’m excited for all of it. I’m really excited to try “Problem” ’cause that’s kind of out of our range. There’s some really fast stuff that happens that we’ve never really done. It’s a total 180 from doing a song like “Little Bird” that had electronic drums and stuff like that in it. When we did a tour in October last year, the drummer couldn’t make it so we played as a three piece which we had never done before and we didn’t even have time to practice. It all happened probably 12 hours before we were supposed to leave. We found out we didn’t have a drummer and luckily Stan… They play drums for Summerbruise and they’re incredible with everything that they touch. I mean, it’s just phenomenal how Stan can do anything. Like they’ll make a kazoo sound bangin’. But after we came home from that and I wrote Problem, the whole premise was “I just want to play like loud power chords.” Like if we ever had to play as a three piece again, what would we play? And I wrote that one. I’m excited to just turn the volume the fuck up and rip. It’s super simple. I didn’t write anything hard for it or flashy. It’s all basic chords, but I think that it’ll be a lot of fun to do that like that.
BP: Do you have any sort of touring plans once its safe to do that? Or are you more so waiting it out to see what happens?
Cody: Just sort of waiting it out to see what happens. As soon as we can and it’s safe, we’ll hit the road. I think everybody, unfortunately, through all of this is starting to think a little bit about jobs that are a little more steady, so touring might be a little more difficult for us, but I want to keep playing shows. I know everybody else does too. So I know that we’ll tour again, but I don’t know when that’ll happen. So I’m not really like thinking about it. I’m just like when I get the “okay, this is safe again”, I will be ready to. I’ll be sending some emails pretty quick. We don’t have an agent or anything that does that for us, so it’s friends helping us out.
After the Snowchella thing, I really feel that where this band will thrive and grow is doing more festivals like that. I think that that’s, I don’t wanna use the word, but that’s a good vibe for us – big festivals, long days. What if we played two or three shows on our way there and two or three shows on our way back? I would really like to be a festival band. I know that sounds silly, but it would be cool to just play some shows to get there, play a really crazy, awesome show. I want to be the band that when people see us on the lineup, they’re like, “Oh my God, fuck yes, I cannot wait!” And that the other bands are like, “Fuck yeah. I can’t wait.” I want to be your favorite bands’ favorite band.
BP: That makes sense, especially with working other steadier jobs, it’ll be easier to do festivals than long tours.
Cody: I have a kid and stuff. I just turned 27 and my plan was to keep doing this until I was 30, and see what happens. But now by the time we could start touring again, I might be 29 or 30. We don’t know. So it really made me come to terms with this reality that I was trying to put off, but it’s also made me rethink how I can do this. Like obviously I didn’t get older and stop enjoying playing music. This whole thing has made me like refind myself and think about well, what was the best part of playing shows and touring? And it seems that more and more stuff like Snowchella and Forget Me Not Fest stick way out. And I’m like, “we could do that.” That’s something that’s attainable. My job will give me that time off; everyone’s jobs will give them a couple of days off. We don’t have to go out and tour 30 days in a row, we could go play a festival, all those kids and people that drove from all those different places to come to that show are still going to hear us. It makes sense for where I am in my life to do that.
BP: Yeah. It does make sense. And if someone really wants to catch a longer set, they can go to one of the nearby shows before or after the fest.
Cody: Yeah. We played the Forget Me Not Fest last August in New Jersey. You get to the East Coast and everything’s two hours away. That’s why we love doing East coast tours. We don’t have to worry about being late because it’s only a two hour drive to the next state. Versus going West, it could be an 18 hour drive to the next show, so we better leave right now and hope that there’s no traffic. But all those people came from all over the East coast [for Forget Me Not] and then they went home and said, “I love this band called Plans.” And that was cool to know that now there’s people from all over the place over there that have heard of us, and we only played one show.
BP: That’s my favorite part about being from Pennsylvania. It’s so easy to go to shows even if a band doesn’t come to my town.
Cody: Philly and Pittsburgh are two of my favorite cities. We never really broke into the awesome Philly basement scene that you hear about, but my cousin lived out there for awhile and she’d always take real good care of us when we came out her way. On one of the tours, she was giving birth that morning and said “Here are the keys to my apartment. Go make yourself comfy, get a shower, and then come hold the baby.” And that’s exactly what I did. Like who does that? You’re in the hospital giving birth and you just invite a bunch of smelly touring people into your house and say, “Make yourself at home. I’m going to go give birth.” So maybe that has something to do with why I love that city so much. But Philly’s one of my favorite places.
BP: Do you have a favorite venue to play at all?
Cody: Hmm, that’s hard. We always love the Hoosier Dome here at home. I’m really bad at remembering stuff. Usually Stan is with me and they’ll help me remember. There was this coffee shop in Pittsburgh that we’ve played a couple of times and it was a metal coffee shop, like they always were blasting speed metal. It was a little shotgun place, real narrow. And people just showed up. It was cool. People always turned out for those. [editor’s note: It was probably Back Forge Coffee House, which I sadly never got around to checking out]. Some of the places that we’ve played were just really interesting to be at, even if they weren’t great shows. So that question’s difficult. One venue, the guy had goats in his backyard. He was like, “I got beer and I’m cooking on the back porch” and when we walked out there, there’s just goats hanging out in the backyard. I want to say we were in like a middle state, like Oklahoma or something, but I don’t know.
BP: Do you have any venues or festivals that are on your bucket list that you’d want to play someday?
Cody: What’s that spot out in California? I was trying to think of all the other venues and now it’s skipping my mind. Chain Reaction, I think. I was in high school when Transit and The Story So Far and The Wonder Years were blowing up and I always remember them geeking out about getting to play that spot. I don’t even know if it’s still open, but that was one I always wanted to do. And as far as festivals go, there’s just so freaking many of them that I would lose my mind to get to play any of them. That’s my favorite environment. Bands all day, hot, tired. Any festival is always so, so much fun for me. I love just like drowning in music for 14 hours.
BP: If you could tour with any band, who would you want tour with?
Cody: Any band? I think it would be really cool to tour with either Jack’s Mannequin or The Dangerous Summer. Both were very influential in my songwriting and to get to watch those sets every night and to be a part of that would be really cool. One of those two would be the, “Hey look, mom, we made it” kind of moment.
Thanks Cody for taking the time to chat with us! Be sure to follow the band on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for updates, and stream “No Swimming” on Spotify or wherever you like to get you music 🙂