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Plini & Protest The Hero's Rody Walker On An 'Incessant Desire To Create'

30 January 2023 | 12:02 pm | Mary Varvaris

To celebrate Plini's upcoming national headline tour with Protest The Hero and I Built The Sky, we caught up with the Aussie guitar wizard and Canadian vocalist for a fun chat.

(Plini: Supplied, Rody Walker: Ryan Stacey)

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Ah, the wonders of technology: we sure have come a long way in a short amount of time. 

Aussie guitar wizard Plini Roessler-Holgate, known under the moniker Plini, is in Sydney and Protest The Hero vocalist Rody Walker is in his home in Whitby, Canada; you've got to love Zoom. Plini's tour manager was texting him from the air - his manager had just finished a UK run with Northlane and was flying back to Australia. When Protest The Sky touch down, they might only get a few hours of sleep before the first of seven Australian shows at Sydney's Metro Theatre.

Plini and Protest The Hero are touring albums they released in 2020: Plini with Impulse Voices and Protest The Hero with Palimpsest. Last November, Walker released his latest solo EP, Velocicopter

To celebrate Plini's upcoming national headline tour with Protest The Hero and I Built The Sky, we caught up with the guitarist and Canadian vocalist for a fun chat. 

It's so great to be chatting with both of you today; thanks for joining me. What have you been up to today?

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Rody: I've had a full day. I know it's quite early in the morning there [9:00 am], but, you know, I've done the whole darn thing! I took my kid to school, worked out, had lunch, and had dinner. And now I'm here.

Plini: I've been mostly text messaging my tour manager, who is on a flight from Doha back to Melbourne. He just finished a tour with Northlane in the UK. He's coming home for one day and moving house and then starting our tour [laughs]. 

Oh, my God. 

Plini: Yeah! So he sent me a link to a hotel and was like, Can you book this? And I was like, aren't you getting on a plane soon? And he's like; I'm in the air. He is an exceptionally organised person who maybe doesn't sleep? [Laughs]. I'm just tying up loose ends before the tour starts.

You're playing some decent-sized venues across the country. What can fans expect from your show?

Plini: I'm really excited. I have spent more on hiring lighting for this tour than I've spent on most tours, which should be really fun. And it's the first time I've worked with a proper professional lighting designer, and he's programmed the show and everything. I'm bringing my keyboard player all the way from the UK and my sound guy from the UK. So, it's kind of like the first time I've done a full show in Australia with all the people that I usually tour with overseas, and then Protest The Hero coming from Canada, and I Built The Sky opening, who are also awesome.

Rody: Yeah, I don't know what they can expect. Except for delightful, heavy, heavy metal elevator music [laughs] That's what I would like to call these instrumental bands. It's probably not the most complimentary thing, but I do mean it in the most complimentary way - from us, they can probably expect to hear something like sloppy bullshit with jokes in between, if that makes any sense [laughs].

So, Plini, Slipknot's bassist V-Man talked about you in an interview a few months ago, saying that he would love to take you on tour, but he has concerns that the genre difference might be too large. Would that be an opportunity you'd be interested in? Or is it actually worrying for you as well?

Plini: I would do it, I would absolutely do it. I think it would be hilarious. There's a pretty real chance that the audience would hate it [laughs]. The first time I met V-Man, he came to a show that we did in LA because he knew Javier [Reyes] from Animals As Leaders who was playing his solo music. And I just saw this guy... He was sitting down at a table by himself, with a tattooed head, he just looked scary as fuck. And I was just wondering, like, Who is this guy? And then backstage I met him, and he's like, the sweetest guy ever. He's one of the biggest music fans - he knows all about music, knows everything about every guitar, every piece of equipment. He's awesome.

Plini, you began learning guitar through like Blink 182, Green Bay and Oasis. How did you go from that to like Joe Satriani and some of the more complex guitar stuff? And Rody, do Protest The Hero share any of those bands in common?

Plini: Once I started getting more into guitar, I started researching what else there was, so I would buy Guitar World Magazine and Metal Hammer. And they would have features on all these different guitarists like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, John Petrucci, and then also like the up and coming at the time, metal bands like Trivium and Mastodon and Protest The Hero.

Rody: I would think so. I mean, one of the very first concerts we all went to together was at Maple Leaf Gardens - as Canadian is that is - it was in 1999. The line-up was Phoenix TX, Silverchair and blink-182. So if that's any indication of the sort of upbringing we had, it was definitely, you know, skate punk.

Gotta love Silverchair.

Rody: Well, this is gonna sound shitty [laughs]. We were there for blink, and we did not like Silverchair. There was a girl beside us with a lighter, and we were blowing it out all night. We thought it sucked. But in reality, they were probably the best band there that evening. Retrospect is a son of a bitch. We were there for straight-up dick jokes, and Silverchair was a little too advanced for us at that moment [laughs].

What keeps you guys inspired to stay creative?

Rody: I don't really know what inspires me. But I do have this incessant desire to just create. And for better or for worse, I want to always be making stuff, and whenever I see anything, I feel like I can make some sort of version of it. For instance, I let my son watch YouTube sometimes. And that's a fucking horrible thing because I see all these toy videos and I'm like, I can make a toy video. I can fucking do that and half a second. Now, I threw one together, and it's terrible [laughs]. And I just thought, Oh, my God, it's gonna get millions of views. It's been up for a week, and it's got fucking five views. But I always feel like I can make something. Every time I look at something, I feel like I want to try it. Everything is kind of inspiring and this is the stupidest way I could have possibly answered that question.

Plini and Protest The Hero are currently touring Australia with Melbourne outfit I Built The Sky.


Saturday 28 January 2023 - Metro Theatre, Sydney
Sunday 29 January 2023 - Newcastle Hotel, Newcastle
Wednesday 1 February 2023 - The Basement, Canberra
Thursday 2 February 2023 - Princess Theatre, Brisbane
Friday 3 February 2023 - 170 Russell, Melbourne
Saturday 4 February 2023 - The Gov, Adelaide
Sunday 5 February 2023 - Magnet House, Perth

Tickets here.