Plater Fawnia MountfordLet me tell you, I'm excited. Expatriate Australian guitarist and singer-songwriter Michael Plater is making a welcome return to Adelaide since leaving to pursue twin careers in the UK in 2019. If I can see this guy live, I don't need to see Dark Mofo.

Now, I rate Michael Plater's songs and music so highly that I've seen him play in three states and if I were able to, I'd go see all his gigs while he's here. For the last three years he's been writing and recording like a demon, his new work eclipsing his brilliant, powerful debut, “Mythologies”..

So, Michael, you returned to the Mother Country. You didn't exactly head for the smoke and smother of London, I gather...

No, my partner, Fawnia, and I ended up living in Cornwall, way down west, right in pirate country. When we visited the Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle and, for someone like me, who’s drawn to folklore, occult history, and anything vaguely supernatural, Cornwall made perfect sense.

It’s a land of moors, standing stones, castles, and smugglers dens, with a healthy dose of mermaids, ghosts, and piskies. All the old girls in the shops call you either ‘my treasure’, ‘my lovely,’ or, even better, ‘my lover.’ The further west you go, the more impenetrable the accent gets. By the time you hit Penzance it’s like talking to some barnacled old sea dog from the 17thcentury.

It’s a place that is torn between tourism and poverty, like a lot of the U.K. Most of the beautiful old fishermen’s cottages are unfortunately second homes for ultra-rich Londoners who descend on the area en-masse in summer, which means that it’s getting harder and harder for locals to afford to live there. Or me, for that matter. But all these influences and atmospheres have definitely seeped into the music I’ve been writing and recording. I’ve also been working on a book and/or series of essays about the history of Cornish witchcraft, which I’m hoping to finish next year.

Michael is no stranger to writing books, either, with the EU Publishing website describing him thus:

He completed his Ph.D. in Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2019, with a dissertation titled ‘Jack the Ripper: The Divided Self and the Alien Other in Late-Victorian Culture and Society’. He has written extensively about the Whitechapel crimes, including in the Melbourne Historical Journal and Antithesis. Michael's research interests include medieval and early modern European history, Gothic and nineteenth-century literature, Victorian culture and society, teratology, hauntology, folk horror, and occult history.

What else?

My latest release 'An Alchemical Gathering',is a split-cassette release, three tracks from me and one from my friend Stafford Glover’s 'Enclosed and Silent Order' project, which is out now on the esoteric Essex label Hypostatic Union. It’s a precursor to a forthcoming full album called ‘Ghost Music,’ which I recorded with the wonderful Essex engineer John Hannon, who devastatingly passed away last year.

I’ve already released a few tracks from the album (‘Saint John’s Eve’ and ‘Gathering Feathers’) as singles, but it will be a huge relief to get the whole thing out, and hopefully it stands as a testament to the brilliance of John, and Stafford, both of whom played huge roles in its creation.

The album will also feature contributions from Fawnia (on autoharp drones), Tony Millman (piano), and Mark Kluzek (accordion and piano).

Tour Dates (more TBA)
9 - Brisbane - The Cave Inn w/ Mark's Paranormal Dysneyland, Greg Charles & Donat Tahiraj 
17 - Ballarat - The Eastern w/ Cornish Wreckers, Dirtbird, Tim Hudspith

23 - Adelaide - The Metro w/ Adam Geoffrey Cole, Tim Hudspith
20 - Castlemaine - Northern Arts Hotel as part of Elements: A Weekend of New Music w/ Disturbed Earth and night, Owl Hollow

The work Michael mentions is the tip of a very varied and hypnotising iceberg, and I can only suggest you visit his Bandcamp for some dark folk (via destabilised post-punk), or epic mind-bending pieces which leave you gasping for air.

Oh yes, his book, “Jack the Ripper: the divided self and the alien other in late-Victorian culture and society” is available for download here in Australia and here in Europe.