How often does an artist bake a pie for a fan? When was the last time you heard of an artist doing handstands and acrobatics onstage just to make the audience giggle? What type of artist creates and casts a Founding Father Vampire as the character that pens his email newsletter?
Plaid Brixx visionary Chris Duggan isn’t your typical artist. He’s created a whimsical fantasyland from real-life experiences and his imaginative and innovative mind. Now, the Columbus, Ohio-based artist invites us into the world of Plaid Brixx, a multi-media experience replete with infectious indie pop, skits, elaborate stage setups and storylines, silly costumes, videos, props, and a bevy of characters all inspired by his theatricality, infectious enthusiasm, and heartfelt sincerity.
“The whole point of what I do is to make people laugh and smile. I want to create a fun universe that people can escape into,” Chris shares.
Even the name Plaid Brixx conjures a playfulness, evoking the juxtaposition of heavy bricks tempered by a soft but loud fabric. It’s a name truly befitting of the waggish, sugary pop-infused indie rock crafted by Chris. Coursing through his bright compositions are sci-fi stories, fantasy, dreamy imagery, and sweet confessional entries from his personal life threaded together to touch and uplift. Other stylistic Plaid Brixx hallmarks include ethereal electronic textures, rugged beats, and sing-along soulful vocals.
To date, Plaid Brixx has issued a five-song EP, Chemistry, that was nominated for an Independent Music Award as Best Rock EP. Chris followed this up by Plaid Brixx’s self-titled debut album which boasted songwriting collaborations with The Agency and other LA-based hit tunesmiths. His songs “Don’t Look Down” and “The Greener Side” have garnered more than 1 million streams and continue to build. Plaid Brixx has toured extensively nationally, including a 30-date tour with modern pop-punk icons We The Kings.
His newest single, “Doin’ So Well,” kicked off strong with over 11 thousand streams in just four days! He launched the song with an Instagram giveaway contest incentivizing fans to pre-save it and did a full campaign complete with hilarious videos echoing the message of the song. “It’s a song about staying positive and just focusing on the things that are going really well, and basically ignoring everything else. I wrote the song to help people to positive and motivated; mainly to help myself stay positive and motivated.” In one post, someone pours almond milk on Chris’ head while he’s trying to write a song, and he simply shrugs his shoulders, smiles, and keeps writing. His social media accounts have substantially grown in the last month as followers have flocked to create conversations around his uniquely creative content, and he’s just getting started with more epic music, silly comedy skits, and engaging heart-to-hearts on the way.
Thank you for taking this interview! How has the New Year been for you so far as an artist? Thanks for having me. Glad to be here! 2022 has been incredible so far, I just launched my first song of the year and people really seem to be enjoying it. Can you tell us how you've transformed from the beginning to now as an artist? I’ve gone through many phases as an artist. In my teens I was making Blink-182-esque pop punk songs. In college I was making progressive rock/metal music with giant stadium rock vocals. After college I founded Plaid Brixx, which originally started as a punk rock band so if you listen to the early recordings on Spotify they are very guitar heavy with lots of distortion in the tone. On the second Plaid Brixx album I went through a stint of making what I call “Uberpop”—electronic pop music with no guitars. My newest releases are all electronic percussion, bass and synths but I have added guitars in again. I am always changing up my sound and experimenting! How did you come up with your latest project? I kind of answered it a little in the last question but I will add some more details for you here! I moved home after completing college (I studied music production, music business, songwriting and performance) and wanted to create a new vehicle to release music. My dad set up a giant artist easel and we brainstormed potential names on it. After many weeks and hundreds of names, I decided on Plaid Brixx because when I was a kid I wallpapered my room in all plaid and I grew up in a brick house. I recruited a childhood friend to drum for me and eventually we ended up touring with We The Kings. Millions of streams later, I’m still making music because it’s what I have always done and I can’t stop. Where are you from originally? Columbus, OH Where do you live now? Columbus, OH Do you think where you live impacts how your music is made? Yes. I still make music in the exact same basement that I always have, where I was forced to retreat twenty years ago. Growing up in Ohio there was not much to do and everyone is completely obsessed with football. I could not care less about football. Like actual negative interest levels. I ended up teaching myself how to record music in my dark basement instead of salivate over touchdowns. So to answer your question not only did it impact how and where my music was and is made, but it may have contributed to why I make music. I should mention I don’t think football is dumb or think anyone is dumb for liking football, it’s just not something I enjoy or feel represented by or interested in at all. You can like whatever you want and no one should judge you for that! What was the inspiration to make music your career? I didn’t really have a choice, I was called to music at a very early age and showed aptitude for music in my school choir and music classes. My music teachers at multiple schools I attended (we moved 3 times before age 7) took my parents aside to explain this to them. I asked for a guitar at age 7 and by age 12 I taught myself how to play Master of Puppets by Metallica. In middle school I taught myself how to play drums and then joined my first rock band in 8th grade. At age 15 I started recording a full-length studio rock album where I played every instrument and wrote every word. How do you want to shape your career? I would like to continue my trajectory of growth and always keep learning new tricks and never stop growing my songwriting abilities OR my following :) Do you work on a tight timeline always or do you go with the flow when it comes to your music? Depends. On my latest release we had to get it mixed a few times to really nail my vision, and we had to keep pushing the release date back. It was very stressful haha—I would say that is the tightest timeline I have worked with. Otherwise it’s kind of go-with-the-flow. I don’t do well with deadlines because I am mostly horrible at being organized. I’m working on improving though haha How did your latest title of your music come to be? My latest track is called ‘Doin’ So Well’ and I wrote it during the middle of the pandemic when I was extremely depressed. I wrote it in order to try to pull myself out of the one of the darkest place I’ve ever been mentally in my life. I wanted to write myself out of my depression. So the song is extremely upbeat and positive and it’s an anthem for me or anyone else to try to stay happy. Happiness has to come from within so the only way I’ve found to truly beat depression is repeating positive affirmations like the ones I wrote into this song.
Is it hard to let go of the music when it is done? No. I am always extremely excited to release new music and I spend so much time on each song that I’m more than ready to put it in the finished column and move onto making the next song. It’s very easy to grow tired of a song you have heard literally a thousand times. Do you feel an emotional attachment to your music? Of course. Art is an extension of the self. How would you describe your music in one word to someone who hasn't listened to it yet? Best I can do is just a few words—“Upbeat, positive, playful, melodic and infectiously catchy” Where do they go to listen NOW? Plaid Brixx on Spotify! 90% of my listens come from Spotify but you can find me in any digital music space. What has been the best fan reaction to your music? Someone tattooed my lyrics on their wrist. Is there anything exciting coming up for you? I am very excited to start releasing the TikTok videos I have been shooting for the last few months haha. And releasing all these new songs in 2022. Are you performing the song anywhere LIVE? Planning on announcing some livestream shows soon! Going to announce some physical shows in NYC, Nashville and Columbus as well.