Joel Plaskett pauses to look back

After the exhaustive process of writing, recording, touring and promoting his 2009 triple record opus Three, you’d figure that Joel Plaskett would be taking advantage of some downtime right about now. And though I’m sure he is relaxing behind the scenes, he has also prepped a new-to-fans release that is released tomorrow, Tuesday June 14.

Dubbed Emergencys, False Alarms, Shipwrecks, Castaways, Fragile Creatures, Special Features, Demons and Demonstrations: 1999-2010 (it just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?), Plaskett has assembled 20 songs cut over the course of the past 12 years, giving us a glimpse at demo versions of previously released tracks, outtakes and more.

Why release a rarities compilation now?

Plaskett: I wanted to clear out the closet of an old songs and recordings that I thought were cool so that there was a nice tidy space in my mind to put the new songs I’m working on.  I didn’t want to be revisiting old ideas as I’m working up the new record. I also wanted to recharge my batteries after the long process of recording and touring Three.  Looking back at these outtakes was a good way to do that.

When you were gathering the material to include on the rarities comp, were there any songs you heard that you thought “Why haven’t I been playing this all along?” or “Why exactly DIDN’T this make it onto a record?

Plaskett: Yeah, some songs I’ve always really liked but they never had a home on an album proper.  Cold Blue Light, Please Don’t Return and On the Rail are some of my favorites.  Blood in my Veins is a cool song that goes back to the Hermit days and the version we cut  for Ashtray Rock has this cool 50’s vibe.  I also really like the song I tracked at Abbey Road called When I Go.  It reminds me of being there which is a really great memory.

Do the tracks included on Emergencys… just really scratch the surface on what you have in the vaults? I suspect you could have released a double rarities record had you wanted to go that route…

Plaskett: As far as I’m concerned, this was the cream of the crop.  There were other recordings and demos that some people might find interesting but I didn’t think they merited release.  The demos I included of songs that are released on my records are versions I think have something cool and rough about them.  There’s often something really exciting about the initial spark that sometimes gets lost when the bonfire gets burning bright.