Local Bill Murray fan and musician Monica LaPlante was beyond ecstatic after being invited to play a Bill Murray-themed Christmas show.
“I think my favorite Bill Murray film would have to be ‘Groundhog Day.’ ... There’s just so many. Who knows, he owns part of the St. Paul Saints, so maybe he’s in town. He’s kind of an elusive creature,” LaPlante said.
LaPlante joins Star Magnet, the Nunnery, Ego Death and Dance Assault in a Very Murray Christmas on Dec. 16 at the Turf Club. Camaraderie Records dedicates its holiday celebration to all things Bill Murray, and in addition to music, festivities include a costume contest and stories of Murray sightings.
LaPlante’s career began four years ago as a McNally Smith student. The Rochester, Minn., native had an internship at the Pearl Recording Studio in Northeast Minneapolis, where she worked under business manager Noah Hollander. After discovering that she was a singer, Hollander asked for a demo disk. Soon after, she received an urgent phone call from Hollander.
“I thought I was in trouble — like maybe I didn’t lock the door on my way out, maybe I left the copy machine on — but he was like ‘Why did you not tell me that you were such a good songwriter? I want you to be on the label,’ ” LaPlante said.
In 2013, she released her debut EP “Jour,” six tracks of `60s beach pop and surf rock. As of now, she is working on a follow-up EP, titled “Noir.” Compared to the debut record, “Noir” is darker and more synth-based, taking on influences such as the Smiths and ’80s goth. The current projection for the album’s release is March 2016.
When asked about her band’s sound, LaPlante hesitated. With her large variety of influences and the plethora of rock terminology, it was difficult for LaPlante to pinpoint the name of her sound. After pulling her bandmates aside, the official answer was “punk garage rock with strong melodies, gothic undertones and girl group influences.”
LaPlante draws her main influences from the ’60s and ’70s, citing Carole King, Patti Smith and Harry Nilsson. She said she particularly looks up to songwriters of the Brill Building.
“They’re all classically trained songwriters. … Everything is so technical and mathematical,” LaPlante said.
A combination of experimentation and happy accidents go into LaPlante’s songwriting process. She typically starts out with a minimal approach and then further refines her songs on music production software.
“A lot of the time I’m just recording a bass track and I’ll miss a note and be like, ‘This is weird, but I like it.’ ... I kind of started saving these weird settings that I discover and create, and I recycle them. I think that really helps with the continuity and gives more cohesiveness to the music,” LaPlante said.
In terms of subject matter, LaPlante gravitates towards writing about daily life.
“Sometimes it’s my frustrations with a coworker or other problems. Maybe I got into a situation or kind of a bit of a fight with a friend and I’m dwelling on it,” LaPlante said.
“When people say that music is therapeutic, it really is. … Just talking about it and venting wouldn’t help as much. With me writing a song, it gets that inner conflict out.”