|Origin||Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada|
|Genres||Indie rock, Indie pop, Power pop|
|Past members||Nina Martin|
Plumtree was a Canadian all-female indie rock/power pop band formed in 1993 in Halifax which consisted of sisters Carla and Lynette Gillis, Amanda Braden, Nina Martin, and later Catriona Sturton. The band achieved moderate success during their seven years of activity, completing several tours of Canada and parts of the U.S., as well as releasing three full length albums, a six track EP, and various singles, before finally disbanding in June of 2000. The band is notable for their top single, "Scott Pilgrim", having been the inspiration for the titular character in Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novel series of the same name.
The band formed in their hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1993 after meeting through their music teachers. The original line-up included Lynette Gillis (aged 14) on drums, Carla Gillis (16) on guitar and vocals, Amanda Braden (15) on guitar and vocals and Nina Martin (16) on bass and occasional vocals.
When Carla and Lynette were 10 or 11 years old they discovered heavy metal music and asked their parents to buy them musical instruments. Carla got a guitar and Lynette a set of drums. They took lessons and played at home until 1993 when they decided to find others to form a band. Their first band played their junior high school talent show with a setlist made up mostly of Jimi Hendrix and Iron Maiden covers. The original group subsequently broke up. Amanda and Nina joined the band soon after and the band developed a collaborative songwriting method. Plumtree played their first show at Halifax's all-ages Cafe Ole in June 1993.
Plumtree established themselves in Canada after releasing the song, "Follow You", on the No Class cassette, a compilation released by No Records featuring up and coming Nova Scotia high school bands. This earned them opening slots for Jale, Thrush Hermit, Velocity Girl and the Spinanes. Cinnamon Toast Records released Plumtree's first seven-inch, Green Mittens, in 1994. It featured the songs "Dog Gone Crazy" and "Have a Banana", plus two songs from Prince Edward Island's Strawberry on the other side. Shortly after, Plumtree released a six-song cassette entitled Flutterboard.
In 1995, Plumtree recorded their first full-length album, Mass Teen Fainting, at Sound of One Hand Studios in Ottawa, with Paul Hogan. The CD was a college radio hit and this gained Plumtree a dedicated Canadian fanbase. Nina Martin left the band in September 1995 to pursue undergraduate work at McGill University. She was replaced by Ottawa native Catriona Sturton in 1996.
Plumtree's second album, Predicts the Future, was recorded in 1997 with Laurence Currie at Idea of East studios in Halifax. Released in 1998, the CD propelled Plumtree onto the covers of weekly magazines, including Canada's music monthly, Exclaim!, as well as to the No. 1 spot on the national college radio chart, Earshot. Videos for the singles "Scott Pilgrim", "Go", and "You Just Don't Exist" received regular airplay on MuchMusic. ("Scott Pilgrim" went on to inspire the popular graphic novel series, Scott Pilgrim, by Bryan Lee O'Malley).
During these early years, Plumtree released numerous songs on vinyl and CD compilations, including Water Had Leaked into My Suit (Cinnamon Toast), You're a Superlady (Corduroy), Secret Songs (Korova Cafe) and Syrup and Gasoline (Grenadine). An earlier version of "Scott Pilgrim" can also be found on a split seven-inch Plumtree released with The Inbreds on the PF label.
The band toured extensively throughout its seven-year career, hitting the road with Montreal's The Local Rabbits, Halifax bands Thrush Hermit, The Inbreds and The Super Friendz, Moncton's Julie Doiron (formerly of Eric's Trip) and Winnipeg's The Weakerthans and Duotang. Plumtree could only tour during the summer months as they attended university during the school months.
In 1999, Plumtree spent the summer in Toronto recording This Day Won't Last at All with Justin Deneau at Electromagnetic Studios. It was released in 2000 by Winnipeg-based Endearing Records. A Cindy Sherman-inspired video for the song, "Regret", received airplay on MuchMusic.
In spring 2000, the band toured across Canada and down the West Coast States with Vancouver's Salteens. Plumtree decided to end their seven-year run in July 2000, their final show taking place on July 31 at the Marquee Club in their hometown of Halifax.
Lynette and Carla Gillis currently live in Toronto, where they perform in the rock band SISTER. They also perform in Bells Clanging with Jason Starnes. Amanda Braden is pursuing a PhD in Boston. Catriona Sturton lives in Ottawa and teaches harmonica. Nina Martin is a professor of geography at UNC - Chapel Hill. In July 2010 Catriona joined SISTER on stage at the launch party for Scott Pilgrim Volume 6 to perform the song "Scott Pilgrim".
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, based on the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O'Malley that was inspired by the Plumtree song "Scott Pilgrim", was released on August 13, 2010. In the film and comic book, the main character Scott Pilgrim can be seen wearing a Plumtree t-shirt. The song "Scott Pilgrim" appears both in the film as well as on the soundtrack to the film and the song "Go!" appears in the film itself while not the soundtrack.
In 1996, Plumtree was awarded Best Canadian Band Under Twenty at the YTV Achievement Awards. They performed "Tropical" during the show.
Predicts the Future was nominated for an East Coast Music Award in the Alternative rock category. It lost to Superfriendz' Slide Show.
Studio albums & EPs
- Flutterboard (1994)
- Mass Teen Fainting (1995)
- Predicts the Future (1997)
- This Day Won't Last At All (2000)
- Plumtree/Strawberry split 7" (1994)
- Water Had Leaked Into My Suit (1995)
- Plumtree/Inbreds split 7" (1996)
- Preserving Wildlife (1996)
- Plumtree/Salteens split 7" (1999)
- Best Of (2010)
- See, e.g., Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, 114