At only 19-years-old, Hallidaysburg, PA native Sam Martinsen has grown pluko into an internationally renowned project. His releases have racked up over 60 million streams across platforms, leading to major festival slots at Coachella, Firefly Festival, and HARD Summer. Last year, pluko launched Splendid Society, a record label, collective, and fashion brand. With all that being said, what better way to pinpoint the significance of this album than to hear it from the artist himself. Hear the story of how he put this all together in the track-by-track breakdown below.
I really wanted the album to start off with something engaging. The opening sound is a bass I created with my Prophet synth, which builds into a pretty huge and dramatic opener. Since my debut, Sixteen, my sound, knowledge of music, and even me as a person has changed so much, and I wanted to encompass that from the beginning of this album.
Nate Traveller and I had so much fun writing this track. “blessings” was a pretty big breakthrough for me personally as I hadn’t really ever written a four-to-the-floor house track with vocals until then. The energy in the room when we were working on this track is an energy I’ll never forget. This is one I’ve my favorite tracks I’ve written and I’m so proud of what we did here.
“rainbow” is so many different ideas in one. The core idea comes at the beginning — I wanted it to be a retro future bass feeling but with a fresh twist. I wanted to keep the listener on their toes the whole time. I had this pretty hard mid-tempo bass banger thing laying around so I took some pieces from that and turned it into a halftime drop for the third drop. It’s pretty ridiculous so I decided to cut it and go to this really pleasant house groove that I made that I thought would be really nice on the album.
Ugh, this one took forever to get right! I knew that the initial idea was strong enough but for some reason I just couldn’t get it to work for the longest time. This one has my vocals on it and it has almost an alternative feel to it.
the lovely one
It’s a beautiful explosion of color, that’s how I’d describe this song. I wanted to make a simple arpeggio feel massive, so each note from the arp stands out and creates this crazy picture in the listener’s mind.
I’m very proud of the writing on this one. In 2019 I spent a lot of time figuring out my own singing and songwriting. I feel like “seventeen” really shows how far I’ve come lyrically and sonically with my voice.
I think that this one speaks for itself. It’s a very intimate story.
As far as track listing goes, I felt that “used to” was the perfect track to pick the album back up after “isittoogoodtobetrue?” I had so much fun writing this with Jackson Stokes and Parker Livingston (Cassette Tapes) and Peter Fenn. We recorded this in the Capitol Records studio which has an insane view of LA.
next to u
Ever since I first played with a Granulator in 2015, I knew I wanted to make something crazy with one. Taming a Granulator is a very difficult task but I wanted to make a drop using one. I also used an OP-1, which is another one of my new favorite toys. I’m also proud of this song lyrically.
This was the final addition to COLOR BLIND. The record felt incomplete without an absolute banger. My goal here was to write something that went hard but felt like something you’ve never heard before. I experimented so much to get the sounds right in this one. I really hope the world is digging it and headbanging to it!
Writing “higher” with Panama was so much fun. I can’t wait until we can finally meet in person one day! Since he’s based in Australia, we created the entire song over email. I’ve always been a huge fan of Panama’s voice, so having him on the album was very cool. What a beautiful voice…
where u been
I think the best way to understand the feeling of this track is to watch the video that my friends and I made for it. It’s a late night, deep thoughts kind of moment. ilo ilo’s vocals are so psychedelic and dreamy… the second I heard them, I knew this song would be special.
I hope it’s not goodbye
The title says it all. It’s about saying goodbye to something but not wanting to. It’s such an unusual and powerful feeling, and I wanted to try and create that feeling sonically. It’s probably my oldest idea on the album as I started it when I was 16 or 17. But, it really only came to life at the beginning of this year when I was wrapping up the album.