After listening to Angeles, the project of Sydney’s Pluto Sotiropoulos, it’s abundantly clear why he took his name from a classic Elliott Smith song.
The singer-songwriter shares the same soul-searching crooning style as the beloved 90s icon, able to effortlessly slip from a hushed whisper into a meaningful growl at a moment’s notice. Add in ambitious lo-fi textures that recall Alex G, and the indie rock lineage Angeles views himself in becomes solidified.
On his latest single ‘Simon’, he explores melancholic territory that both Elliott and Alex have treaded through in the past: the death of a close friend (the latter powerfully grappled with such grief on ‘Hope’, a highlight from his last album).
“For me it was a trip to think of that fossilised youth we shared,” Angeles says about the track. “He lived life and influenced me in a way that was disjointed with the world around us and the precious and unknown nature of our trajectory was something that I was happy to be reminded of while writing this song.”
Filled with crunching guitars and resounding vocals, ‘Simon’ is yet another reminder that the death of guitar music may forever be touted but it will never actually come. And having just signed to Sydney’s Broth Records to accompany the release of his first single of the year, 2022 and beyond should see Angeles continue to expand on his growing sound.
After the release of ‘Simon’, we caught up with Pluto as part of our Get To Know series to find out more about his life and music.
Angeles’ ‘Simon’ is out now.
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How did you artist name came about?
I became obsessed with Elliott Smith for a while, got so drawn into his songwriting, and his song ‘Angeles’ just captured his own tragic struggle so beautifully. So I decided it’d be a cool name for this project – Angeles felt like a blurred film photo taken from a moving car, and I feel like it captures my music too.
How would you describe your music to your grandma?
To my Yaya, I’d just sing her a song in the garden and she’d say, “Bravo lavendimou, Bravo!” then try and feed me some spanakopita. I don’t think we’d bother with words!
Tell us about a few of your tracks; their titles and what they’re about?
The latest song I released is called ‘Simon’ and I wrote this song as an ode to my early childhood friend who passed away just after we finished school. The song came to life with this 90s groove while I was jamming on my acoustic guitar one afternoon, similar to the music we listened to when we were kids, and it just made me think of him, and then all the memories of the times we spent together came flooding back; running ruckus in the Sutherland Shire, scheming pranks to pull on his older brother and their friends, lighting fires under bridges and running wild in the nature reserve behind his house.
Another of my favourites that I’ve released so far is called ‘In The Garden’. I wrote this one in the bloom of a new relationship. The song is about that moment when you first discover this hidden place someone builds inside of themselves, a boundless garden they keep safe behind wire and broken glass, the feeling of meeting someone new and watching them in their garden, hoping one day to be let in.
What do you love about your hometown?
I wish there was more to love! I grew up near the beach, that was glorious, but it was a confusing place to grow up as a Greek boy who was interested in reading and music and softer things, especially with the whole race riots and all those embarrassing stains that marked the place, so I moved to the city to be closer to more diversity. I love Camperdown Park in the warm afternoons and swimming down at Gordons or Clovelly.
Career highlights so far?
Getting out of bed, making a coffee, singing a song, got to play a show with Indigo Sparke and a cool local festival called Glider with some mates between the lockdowns. My old band Betty & Oswald travelled a lot and we did some great festivals in Australia and overseas, so considering Angeles is a pandemic project, there hasn’t been that much on during the lifespan of it, but I’m excited for the future!
Fave non-music hobby?
Reading and cooking.
What’s on your dream rider?
Any sort of Lebanese food, even just pickled items, turnips, green chillies, olives, tahini, fresh salad, lemon. Yum!
Dream music collaboration?
Sega Bodega or Dean Blunt.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Far away from the city, in a green mountain house in the hinterland or a sleepy beach town in the south of Spain.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I’m actually really shy when it comes to karaoke, but if I had to maybe ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
BUM IN CHAIR.
What’s one obsession you have that no one would guess after listening to your music?
A Distal Phalanx x Maroske Peech hoodie that I covet from my girlfriend from time to time. It just makes me feel special.