Thom Wasluck has been playing dark, drone-y music under the name Planning For Burial for nearly 15 years. With guitars run through effects pedals and synths and loopers adding to the sonic onslaught, many fans wonder about his writing process, asking him which effects pedal is his favorite for composing.
“I always have to tell people it’s my acoustic guitar,” he says. He’s working on new music right now — which means walking around his house strumming chords on his acoustic. When he comes up with something he likes, he’ll run it through a looper and add drums and other sounds.
Wasluck might treat the audience at the next Planning For Burial show — this Friday at Karl Hall in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. — to one of the new songs he’s been tinkering with. He said there’s no timetable for a new record, which will follow up 2017’s “Below the House.”
Growing up in Northeastern Pa. — he went to Crestwood high school in Mountain Top — Wasluck played in various “weirdo goth bands” in the area before focusing on his home solo recordings and performances after moving to New Jersey for college. The live sets are either “loud sets” or “quiet sets.”
Back in NEPA for five years now, Wasluck says living there has its advantages.
“I’m willing to drive,” he says. “That’s the thing. I’m willing to do one-offs. Living in NEPA is nice because we do have a nice scene, and it’s also not far from Philly or New York. I can be there in two hours.”
Planning For Burial has built an international audience, allowing Wasluck to tour overseas.
“It’s definitely been from the internet,” he says. “It’s definitely helped, because I think it inflates your ego too much at the beginning. You go to the West Coast and play for 15 people — you’re not exactly a touring act. After a while you try to hit the same places multiple times. Word of mouth grows as the records get a little more press.”
Last June, Robert Smith of The Cure handpicked Planning For Burial to perform at his Meltdown Festival in London. PFB played two shows there. “The audiences really got it,” Wasluck says. He calls himself a “huge fan” of The Cure.
“This was a major festival. There was a handler almost, telling you this is where you need to go for this and that. She did say that at every show, they reserved a seat for [Smith],” Wasluck says. “I didn’t want to know if he was there.”
Saturday’s show will be “my normal loud set with 12 amps and drum machines,” says Wasluck, who played a unique show at Karl Hall in November, in which four artists — Planning For Burial, Vulturepeak, Osito and Dead Camera — played a continuous, 1-hour set of drone and experimental music. He says he got the idea from a show he saw at Cafe Metropolis in Wilkes-Barre years ago.
“It started at 9 o’clock,” he says of the Karl Hall performance. “Each band had a 15-minute set. We set a timer, and if you weren’t completely done, the next band started anyway. … I was so pleased at the end of the night. It was perfect the way the acts were set up, who played first and second, and it all flowed very well. And because we were spread out throughout the room, people had to turn and be engaged. It wasn’t like ‘oh, there’s the stage.’ ”
Photo by Karla Leon