Planepacked is a solo Metal project by Jessica Kagan. The act, expected to release a third album soon, has released a new single lately named “Harrowhark”. We had the chance to talk with Jessica about the new single and upcoming album and learn from her experience and her thoughts on different questions.
Hello, Jessica. It’s wonderful to chat with you. How are you doing today?
Today’s going pretty well! I expect I’ll be writing the bulk of my answers to your questions between work (I’m a web developer by trade) and krav maga.
Oh wonderful! I’m a web developer as well. You just released your new single “Harrowhark”. How are you feeling about the comments you received from your fans and friends about it?
So far, the folks who’ve heard it are pretty excited. Despite my best efforts, it’s more “new metal song, woo!” than “The Locked Tomb fandom hype, woo!” But we’ll have to see how much buzz the latter brings us, especially with the upcoming release of Nona the Ninth.
Your music has plenty of elements from different sub-genres and even outside the classic Metal realm. How would you describe your music to our readers who are yet to listen to any of your songs?
Planepacked, in its current form, owes its core to tracker music – particularly the mid-late-90s stuff that got included in popular computer games of the time like Unreal Tournament and Deus Ex. The metal side of things probably comes from the historical accident of me becoming a raging metalhead at the end of high school and maintaining that fandom ever since. My goal with this project is basically to explore metal/electronic music fusion in all the various permutations that might take.
Your new single is a homage to Tamsyn Muir’s “The Locked Tomb” series. Other than literature, what else inspires your musical concepts?
A lot of it comes from whatever I’m listening to, at least indirectly. Case in point – I discovered Arca about a year ago and quickly fell down the rabbit hole of her discography. As a result, I find myself aiming for more abrasive, glitchier sounds in my music these days. Other media can often provide me with fodder – album 3 is currently planned to contain a few more homages, including one inspired by Revolutionary Girl Utena. Finally, there is the raging storm of joy, longing, and wrath that comes from being a transwoman in 2022. We’ve made progress, in that I’m allowed to exist and live as myself, but it feels precarious, and the emotions that inspire within me infuse every song I write, whether I want them to or not.
Beautiful! In order to get to know you better and from a different point of view, how about playing some imagination game? I will set a scenario in an alternate universe with new rules and see how you’d react to the different situations. Ready?
We’ll see what happens.
In a universe where you are made the queen of a country, what would be the first law you’d make?
Abolish the monarchy. If I’m feeling despotic, I’ll find other ways to maintain my power.
Makes sense 😂 In a universe where humans can choose either to be able to teleport from one place to another or travel back and forth in time, which superpower would you pick?
Time travel is potentially far more useful, especially if this is a single-universe model of time travel. By repeatedly introducing technology to the past, you could potentially create a technological singularity and then do some interesting stuff (as long as you weren’t cannibalized for computronium by the eldritch machine god you might’ve just birthed).
Wow. In a universe where you’re the statue of liberty, what object would you be holding instead of a torch?
Maybe a pride flag? Maybe a sword. Maybe a sword painted in pride flag colors!
In a universe where money does not exist, but instead, people pay for things by making other people laugh, how rich would you be considered?
With any luck, I’d be comfortably well off. At least fiscally – keep in mind that this might be a universe where you can pay for necessities by farting loudly.
In a universe where the senses of taste and hearing are mixed up together, what food would you imagine Planepacked’s music would taste like?
With the right synaesthetic brain architecture, you can mix up taste and hearing in this universe! But to answer your question, I’d hope for well-integrated fusion foods, where possibly unexpected combinations integrate into a pleasing, unique, and tasty whole.
I actually read something like that and that’s how I came up with this question 😂
In a universe where making magic is real, what would your favourite spell do?
I’m not sure, but my guess is something intensely and irritatingly metagamey. A spell of mastery, or energy concentration, or something.
Thank you for playing, Jessica! I hope you enjoyed this!
You are currently working on the release of your third album. Is there a release date yet planned for the upcoming album?
Not yet. I’ll continue to post teasers as work on the album continues, though!
Have you ever faced any kind of sexism in your professional or personal life? How would you deal with sexist behaviour and what advice would you give young people around the world who face any kind of discrimination?
I’ve been mostly fortunate to avoid overt sexist behavior in my life, so my toolkit for dealing with it is (perhaps fortunately) unhoned at best. If you ask me, though, all the -isms are only toppled through the communal struggle of the downtrodden. If you’re in a position to do so (and I recognize this isn’t always the case), fight like hell!
Powerful advice! Thank you for giving us this interview, Jessica. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’m still looking for a band to collaborate with outside of the context of Planepacked! If you’re able to get to metro Boston or Worcester, and you’ve got any of the same interests in creating metal/classical/electronica/prog rock type music, feel free to reach out!