One day I was casually scrolling through my sound cloud stream and saw that my friend had reposted a song by the artist PLS&TY. The name seemed weirdly familiar for reasons unknown, so out of curiosity I clicked on the profile and saw the face of my high school classmate Tommy Leas. I initially thought there was some weird glitch going on with the app, but then I thought back to those good ole high school days where Tommy spent every moment he had on his laptop. It all started to make sense, he was always in to music, and I indistinctly remember him advertising PLS&TY. However, I didn't know exactly what PLS&TY entailed and was completely unaware that he was creating his own music behind that laptop.
In the past year, PLS&TY has reached more than 18 million plays on sound cloud and hit the #1 spot on the Hype Machine charts 8 different times. His trip-hop, chilled beats have gotten him noticed by artists like Just a Gent, Auto laser, OWSLA, and many more. Tommy, at just 20 years of age, also has had the opportunity to work with top studio engineers who are responsible for the success of artists like Michael Jackson,Robbie Williams, and Ke$ha. His remix of Genevieve's "Colors" was also featured in the Hershey's 'Hello Happy' TV commercial that is still airing on all channels nation-wide. With this ongoing list of accomplishments, Tommy has had quite the year to say the least. Luckily, I still have his contact from high school so I was able to find out exactly what he's been up to.
Ariana: I guess I'll start with the basics, how and when did your passion for music begin to develop?
Tommy: I’ve loved music all my life, however my passion for electronic dance music grew throughout high school. At the time I was incredibly passionate about filmmaking as well, and I was eager to combine these interests. I picked up jobs at local venues photographing and filming electronic acts that would pass through on tour. Filming these acts and working with these artists was a great introduction to the world of live performance and everything that it entails.Nonetheless, my transition into music production seemed to flow seamlessly as my obsession with this style of music continuously grew. Eventually, I had to try a hand at music production myself.
A: As you began trying it out on your own did you ever doubt your ability to produce music?
T: In the beginning, the process of creating was incredibly tedious. It was quite tough getting my music in front of the right people. As with any new craft, there’s a whole world of information to learn. However, when I started producing music, it was something that I never took too seriously. It was just something that I liked to do in my spare time, so I never got to hard on myself. I think this might have been a key reason as to why I really stuck with it - no pressure, no right or wrong, no good or bad, and naturally it began to grow.
A: What is your favorite part about the music you make? Is it the build up to the beat drop? Or the actual drop?
T: Of course, people who listen to electronic music often talk about the “bass drop”. Really its all about tension and release. Without a great build, there wouldn’t be so hard of a “drop”. Great dance music songs play off building huge amounts of tension and releasing it. For this reason, I don’t have a favorite part. Each section of a song is just as important and necessary as another.
A: Who are some of your most inspirational DJs?
T: Well you indubitably always hear about the AUS "Future" sound pioneers of Flume and Wave Racer, which happen to be my first experiences with the “Future” styled music. There are other major names like Lido and Cashmere Cat who I’m also incredibly fond of. I feel that because these are the artists I became so passionate about, naturally my sound began to take shape using their music as inspiration.
A: When did you start noticing that people were following your music and that this could be a potential career?
T: My Remix of Baby Bash - ’Suga Suga’ was the track that really exploded and allowed for people to take notice of the PLS&TY project. This was the first time that I had released a track and the play count numbers didn’t slow down or die off after a certain point. Today it’s reached around 8 Million plays on Soundcloud.
A: How did you come up with the name PLS&TY?
T: PLS&TY derives from my last name “Leas” rhyming with the word “Please”, and the letters “T” and “Y” that are present in my first name “Tommy”. When “Please” was shorted to ‘PLS’, and the “T” and “Y” were put together, PLS&TY was created.
A: Do you have any advice for any other aspiring artists out there?
Tommy: My biggest piece of advice for any aspiring artists is to stay true to themselves. Keep doing what you love no matter what anyone tells you. If you really enjoy doing something, you’ll find a way to be successful at it no matter what.
Check out PLS&TY!
Interview by Ariana Jurado
FSU's Premiere Fashion Magazine