The Fire of Hard Rock band, PLUSH
Feb. 11, 2021
By Abbe Davis
To those of us who grew up around Classic Rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Aerosmith, Heart and more (my brothers played this music around our home when I was a kid) you won't believe your ears or eyes when you see and hear the Hard Rock band, Plush. Why? The lead singer does in fact sound (in vocal tone) a lot like Ann Wilson, and even resembles her a bit. She, rightly so, enjoys this and was featured on the Voice in 2017; singing cover tunes from Heart and rocking it with solid guitar chops. This is someone to watch in Rock . The band is young as a unit, young in age (20's) yet these women ahead of their time when you talk with them. They know what they want. Their new single, "Hate" does in fact rock. The band members are Moriah Formica on Vocals/Guitar, Brooke Colucci on Drums, Ashley Suppa on Bass, and Bella Perron on Lead Guitar. I caught up with them and had a great time speaking with powerhouse vocalist, Mariah, and their kicking drummer, Brooke. We had a great time.
AD: You live out in Cali, right?
BC: No, we're from New York, actually.
AD: Hm, Kreig...(laughing)
Kreig pops in (laughing) Yeah, my ADHD and all...
AD: I've heard your tune "Hate" and I love it, which sounds weird to say, "I love your song Hate." I hear someone hurt you and that it is about that, but has that person heard the song yet?
MF: (laughing) I don't think she has heard the song, no. But I wait the day.
AD: Yah that's what I love to hear. That's right! It's a good feeling. I love peace and happiness and all, yet the other side of making peace with the past is also the feeling of, "Hey, I'm here!"
MF: Right, gotta be realistic about it.
AD: How did the band get together?
BC: Mariahs' dad reached out to my dad through a mutual friend who works at a venue, where we had played before. and we jammed once and we all went to NAMM together and that is how we grew our connection and we felt, "This is good."
AD: How old were you when you met up?
BC: I was 16 and Mariah was 19.
AD: I love your voice, Brooke, it is so soothing. I love it!
MF: I know, right she has the best voice.
AD: Brooke, that would be so great if you go out on a date, and the whole night you have your soft, cool voice with that person, and then you just so happen to take them to your studio where your drums are, and you get on the set and kick ass, and then get off of the set and softly say, all nonchalant, "Anyway, that's what I do..."
BC: (laughing) Yeah! I met the other band members at School of Rock and then Mariah said that we were looking for a female voice...and Lzzy Hale shared it.
AD: Wait, how did she know about it?
MF: I have known Lzzy Hale for a while. I let her know, "Hey do you know any guitar players or anybody who is looking for this, and she was kind enough to share the post.
AD: I hear she is very cool.
MF: She is!
AD: So you were on The Voice, and I always wonder, how long that process takes, I mean the lines, or how did it work for you to get on there?
MF: I know what you mean, the long open call lines and five rounds, but I ended up getting on it through a talent scout. They have scouts who stalk people on the internet to see who'd be cool on the show and I got an email from my YouTube channel and my dad told me about it, and I was like, "Dad it is not funny to mess with a 16 year old like that." and he was like "I'm not kidding." It's the same thing, but you get to skip the first few rounds.
AD: So, where was the audition?
MF: Mine was in NYC cause I'm from upstate New York, in Albany.
AD: I know how it is with NYC, you have to connect where you are if you are outside of the city, right?
MF: Right, I say "I'm from NY" and they go, "Oh! The city!" and I always go, "No, upstate."
MF: If they like you, you go to a casting interview, cause it is TV. They have to see about your personality, I guess.
AD: What questions did they ask you?
MF It was more to see your personality, like about celebrity crushes, or if you were stuck on an island types of questions. It wasn't that personal. Then, if they like you, you go to the executive offices in LA.
AD Oh wow, how was that, were you nervous?
MF: Oh yeah, it was the most nervous I've ever felt before in my life.
AD: Yeah, but do you then think, "Wow, this is probably going to happen!"
MF: I was so nervous because I wanted it so badly, and playing in front of the executives is
nerve-wracking, because they have seen and heard so many voices, and they are the producers of the show. I wasn't super nervous about being on TV, it was more about being in front of the executive producers.
AD: I hear you, it's easier to sing in front of audiences, than to be in front of the business side of it?
MF: Yes, but I have a thing where I cannot shake how bad the nerves are in an intimate setting, versus playing in front of thousands of people.
AD : Right. Do you think it is because their eyes are right there, you see them up close? 'Cause in front of thousands you see a big group cheering and then can be in your zone? So that was the hardest situation so far, or do you always go thru that?
MF: I get super nervous before every single show whether it is the Voice, or a local venue. I always have and I always will.
AD: So what happens after the process? Do you guys have to rehearse a lot? Also, how long is the whole process, start to finish when you are on that show?
MF: Honestly, I was in LA for maybe 3 or 4 months, so you kinda live there.
AD: Where do you live, at a hotel?
MF: Yes, all of us at a hotel.
AD: Do you psych people out at the hotel elevator if you see a competitor, like, "Hey, mine's gonna be good, I hope yours is gonna be good." (laughing) Just kidding, I'd be too shy and kind to say that to anyone. Yet, how was it though, awkward?
MF: (laughing ) I know, right? (laughing) We all had each others backs. When you are away like that it's what you do. We didn't have cars and you have about a one mile radius, so you have to put your name on lists for the Target runs every week, and all you can do is spend time with each other.
AD: Yet who wants to talk about the show all day?
MF I'm very much an introvert, naturally. It is draining for me to be around a lot of people. I was very close to a couple of people there. I actually met my best friend on that show.
AD: Oh, that is so cool. Nice!
MF: Oh yeah. We go on vacations together. It's great.
AD: When you were done performing on an episode, do you remember those critiques?
MF: I was 16 when I was on The Voice. I don't remember because it was a while back, and I did "Crazy on You" by Heart.
AD: You sound so much like Ann Wilson, yet you are your own sound, too. I hear your tone and voice like this: If you took Paramore and Heart and put those voices into one voice.
MF: Wow, I take that as a huge, tremendous compliment! Haley was a huge influence on me.
AD: I am so excited for you, I can't wait to see what happens ahead. So now, years ago it was tough for women breaking into the Rock world, do you women feel like the odd man out still these days at times? I mean, being female, when there are so many male bands. Does it still feel odd to you out there, or how do you see it where you're concerned, in Rock music?
MF: For me, it is still a little bit weird. I don't think about it that much but, unfortunately, it is still going on. Even after progress, and thanks to Joan Jett and those women who have paved the way for us, there is still a lot of odd things in Rock 'n roll with stereotypes. I have had men come up to me after shows, saying things like, "I know you're a girl, but you don't play guitar like a girl."
AD Oh man! (laughing) It's too much!
MF: Yeah, they say stupid crap like that, and I'm like "Shut the hell up!"
AD: What did you really say to the guy?
MF: I remember more telling him to F off. I don't really deal with that too well (laughing).
AD: I think you handled it well. (laughing)
MF: Well, when the four of us are together we all deal with it.
BC: I'll be out and about and I will say, "Oh yeah I'm a drummer." and I feel like, nobody has been offensive but, I can see it in some men's faces. They question if I really can drum or not. The level of doubt they have.
AD: This happens too much. What is great is how your band will go make kick butt music, and that is how to move forward. Who writes for you?
MF: Well, usually for the few songs we have recorded like with "Hate," I come up with lyrics and a riff and send it to Brooke. Then, she and Bella and Ashley add to it. Brooke puts drums down, and they
then add their flavors and spices to it, and the songs come together.
AD: Are you using programs, which ones? Are you good in Pro Tools?
MF: I put scratch tracks down in Pro Tools or the skeleton of the song, but I will send a voice memo of a riff and the ideas, and Brooke has sent me many voice memos, and that is the way to go.
AD: Thank you! I am supposed to be learning a program this week and I'm on the learning curve.
You have a great attitude. If you wanna free up in music, you have to be able to switch gears and the programs are key to use today; especially now with quarantine. Are you guys able to rehearse together?
Brooke: Yeah, we have gotten together a few times and are careful about it; making sure everyone is feeling well and that nobody is sick before we get together.
AD: Brooke, when did you start drumming?
BC: I started when I was six years old. It really began because I went to a birthday party that was a Rock 'n Roll theme. They set up instruments, so that each kid could sit behind an instrument and try it out. I sat behind the kit and fell in love. I have to thank my dad, because he always showed me Godsmack, Metallica and Sambora.
AD; He's got good taste in Music! Mariah, how did you begin singing?
MF: I began singing at age ten, which is weird, 'cause I never popped out and said to myself, "l like to sing!" I was a guitar player first. at age five or six. Like Brooke, with my singing, I always think it is so funny because I was also at a party. My cousin's party was at my house, and there were a crap ton of people there. I had a a friend over and she said, "Hey, do you wanna do karaoke" and I said "Sure." I was laid back and all, and she wanted me to sing, "Rollin' in the Deep by Adele. I started singing, and an adult came into the room to tell us the food was ready, and then he went to my parents and said, "Have you heard your daughter sing," and they were like "No."
AD: This is fascinating to me! They had no idea?
MF: Well, I didn't say much when I was little. I was quiet and I was a weird kid.
AD: How so?
MF: Well, I liked different things besides how kids wanted to go to the park. I didn't like what other kids liked. I wanted to go fishing or on a nature walk, or play with animals. I was just a reserved, quiet kid,
AD: So what did your parents say when they heard you sing?
MF: Everybody was just kind of really shocked, and they were asking me, "Why haven't you ever sang in front of us before?" I was just ten years old and I didn't know what a good voice was.
AD: So you hadn't really tried it out on people yet?
MF: Yeah. And shortly after they encouraged me to take voice lesson and I fell in love with singing.
AD: When did you begin lessons?
MF: I still see my Vocal Coach, and I began at age eleven, and I've been going for ten years now.
AD: Excellent. So, tell me about the band, how do you relate?
Brooke: It's been great working together, all of us, we get along so well.
AD: Like a family by now or how many years have you known each other?
Brooke: We've been together as a band for the past five months, but Mariah, and Ashley and I have known each other for a year now.
MF: Yeah, we are still a "baby band." (laughing)
AD: Awww. So you rehearse, have you been able to do shows, like a Living Room Show?
BC: The only people who have heard us do our new songs are our parents, yet we are thinking about doing a Livestream Show.
AD: Very cool! So who has the quirkiest ways in the band? I love asking this 'cause you get a sense of the band and how you relate.
MF: I feel like Ashley and I are the weirdest ones. Brooke, what do you think?
BC: I agree with you.
BC: Ashley says things that surprise us sometimes, she is just a very funny person.
MF: As far as taking the longest to set up, I feel like it's me.
AD: Funny, the one who says that is usually not the one, right? (laughing) So how did you meet Lzzy Hale, Mariah?
MF: I met Lzzy when I was 14, I played a local show, "Rock 'n Derby" with her. When you are a player in the festival, you get All Access passes to watch each other. That's how I met her the first time. Then we had a mutual friend who was able to get us into a lot of concerts and stuff. They were very kind. Then I did a cover and Lzzy was kind enough to share that when I was fifteen. When I got off of The Voice, I had played two shows with Joan Jett. The lineup was me, Halestorm, and then Joan Jett.
AD: That is very cool! Did you get to meet Joan Jett at all? What would you ask her, "Hey, I like your axe." I mean, how does that go down?
MF: Everything was so fast. She was very nice and like, "How you doin?" It was funny because the first night it was me, Dorothy and then Joan Jett.
AD: Oh, wow! Dorothy is cool.
MF: Yeah, she is. We got to the festival and there was a river, and my brother was sitting next to the river, and Joan shows up and was like "Wow, look at that river." Then my little brother was like, "Wow, Joan Jett just talked to me."
MF: My guitar player at the time - 'cause at that time I was doing a solo project, he was watching the band soundcheck at that festival. So Joan walks up to him and says, "How you doing?" and she goes "Oh, nice to meet you, I'm Joan." And he goes, "I know, I know who you are."
AD: (laughing) Great story!
MF: She's just very, very humble. The day they were doing the soundcheck with Halestorm, she was in back, playing catch with her manager. She's cool.
AD: I love hearing that. What is the band planning to do in 2021/2022? What do you have lined up?
BC: We have two other singles recorded, so we aren't sure yet when they will be released. We hope COVID is gone soon, and that we can tour and do some shows.
AD: I can't wait to see what you guys do, we wish you beyond luck.
MF and BC: Thank you so much.
AD: Who are the main songwriters, Mariah and ...
BC: So far Mariah has written most of the lyrics and guitar and I do the drums. When we are together it is pretty collaborative.
AD: Who are you influenced by, Mariah? Any other genres or singers or...?
MF: Yeah, my number one influence for vocals, someone who was life changing for me, was Amy Lee. She is my number one influence. Of course, Lzzy Hale, and also Lady Gaga.
AD: Interesting, 'cause each of them - very different ways of singing. Who are your influences, Brooke?
BC: Shannon Larkin from Godsmack, and Danny Carey from Tool, John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, definitely Morgan Rose (original drummer of Sevendust).
AD: Did your parents play Rock in your house growing up, or did you just find Rock?
BC: It's really from my parents.
AD: That's great.
Kreig Marks interjects.
KM: Tell me about the song "Hate." What do your friends think about that person and how are they about your single?
MF: My friends are supportive, they know who it is about and they like the song.
AD: What would be the worst way to break up with someone?
BC: Over text is messy, unless it is that the person your are breaking up with is dangerous.
AD: (bursts out laughing) That is hilarious, that you thought about that! It is bad to break up that way.
MF: That's my problem, I can't think of the worst way to break up, I feel like it is all so bad.
AD: What is the worst way that you have broken up with someone?
MF: Listen, I'm in it for the long haul. I've never broken up with anybody (laughing) I've only been with two people.
AD: You both are so decent and wise at your age. Please stay this way. Let us know about releases ahead and any live shows. Women in Rock! I love your voice Mariah!!
Kreig: Take it easy, and congratulations on "Hate." Be safe.
MF: Thanks, you guys, too, and thank you so much.
Abbe Davis, Editor TRR
Abbe Davis is Editor of TRR and the singer/songwriter of Hard Rock band, Sordid Fable. She has performed at Blues/Rock shows alongside legendary Blues artist, Buddy Guy. Her past includes writing and doing standup. Abbe's enjoys interviewing musicians, promoting bands, and supporting Rock Music. Abbe is co-MC with The Tru Rock Show; scheduled to stream nationally in April of 2021. She is currently recording with Sordid Fable for their album release in 2021.se in 2021.