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Interview: Joe Plonkey of Big Deal

Get ready to dive into the world of Big Deal as we sit down for an exclusive interview with Joe Plonkey, the driving force behind this Michigan hardcore band. Having recently dropped their debut album, “Beyond Repair,” on Heroes + Martyrs, Big Deal brings a powerful blend of traditional hardcore and metallic thrash elements to […]



Photo by Kinkade Rupert

Get ready to dive into the world of Big Deal as we sit down for an exclusive interview with Joe Plonkey, the driving force behind this Michigan hardcore band. Having recently dropped their debut album, “Beyond Repair,” on Heroes + Martyrs, Big Deal brings a powerful blend of traditional hardcore and metallic thrash elements to the table. With seven energetic tracks filled with stomping tempos and intense guitar solos, the album is a gritty yet expansive journey. Join us as Joe shares insights into the band’s influences, the making of “Beyond Repair,” and the deeply resonant themes woven into their lyrics.

Thank you! The inspiration and overall goal of the record really was just to take it to the next step, to develop and excel as musicians and have something more to resinate with the crowd. As well as having this goal in mind it has always been important to stick to the roots that big deal was and has always been; the thrashier more energetic side of hardcore.

The mix of the two genres honestly derived from just love of different styles between different band members. We all have similar taste but for instance our drummers biggest influence would be something like Dying Fetus. While I love that band, most of my writing influence comes from something more like the Crumbsuckers or Kreator. While our guitarist Jimmy likes the more rock n roll based riffs. It’s kind of cool to see it all come to fruition and all of these influences and inspirations of different backgrounds come to create what is Big Deal.

I find it best and most authentic to just let it all splurge out on a paper. I never really “sit down to write lyrics”, i just write down what I’m feeling at the time and go from there. A lot of it comes from a place of defeat; trying as hard as you can to live a life of comfortability and normalcy and consistently falling short. Some of it is about feeling abandoned by those you looked up to since birth as heroes. The thing is, nothing I write about is really a special case. It’s all the struggle of daily life and I purposely choose to write in a broad sense to resonate with listeners and give them something to take away. It all comes from very real situations close to my heart but I choose not to dive too deep into specifics.

Chris is awesome to work with; I’ve worked with him in many bands before and he’s always honest and accommodating. Brad I’ve also been to many times and he’s always timely and gives us a plethora of options to choose what fits us best, I think this pair was great to work with and come up with a good result.

I think between GDOP and Beyond Repair there’s a maturity difference. You can tell between the two records that we have gotten more and more comfortable playing with each other and writing songs that the parts make more sense between smooth transitions and parts that grab the listener more.

The writing process for Beyond Repair was pretty smooth to be quite honest. I think that the biggest struggle of the process was the waiting game. Having a product in our hands that we are so proud of and eager to show the world but unable to show what we have done without doing it in the correct manner. In that waiting period though, I think we made the best of it and created a great head start to our next step as a band!

No Warning and Dead Heat are definitely big influences of ours. I think bands like those two are great examples of the energy we wish to bring to the table. Other bands such as Illusion, Ekulu, Build and Destroy, Cold World played a big part in what influences our writing style.

I like to have themed album covers, kind of a continuation and reference to a past big deal record is having the knight on the cover again in a different scene. I think it shows progression and is a bit of a call back to where we began. There’s not really a significance to the knight itself but I like to think it follows the theme of our lyricism in the sense that it takes the mindset of a knight or warrior to battle through the struggles of daily life.

I think there’s always something to take away from a live performance especially with notable bands such as the ones listed. It’s always interesting to me to see these well established bands and how they carry themselves on stage, never to rip off their style or copy what they are doing; i think that even the subconscious mind can take a piece of a set like that and use it as influence to future sets and feed off of the energy that they bring.

Heroes & Martyrs is my first personal release through a label that really has a hand in just about every aspect of the release process and I can genuinely say the reception and the overall release wouldn’t have carried itself in such a professional and correct manner without Steve. We owe it all to Heroes and Martyrs and sincerely couldn’t have been done without Steve.

Our big thing with this album was transitions. We aimed to achieve a sequence of songs that seemed as if it was just a constant listen. With the help of Chris in the recording process and the time we spent to really zero in on the flow of songs, I think it was done well. For instance, in our song “Walk of Life” the last words I say are “Fade to Black”, then going into our outro named Fade to Black. I kind of think of it like a TV show that you are binging, what would bring the listener to continue, and what would keep the interest up to complete the release without losing interest.

It’s always been an interesting and delicate balance to me, because the lyrics are definitely darker but I like to bring an energy of fun and excitement. Coming together, i view it in a way of for 15 minutes everyone can come to a level of relatability and acceptance; creating an atmosphere of unity understanding that we are all in this thing called life together and it’s either rise or fall. I really like that question as it’s something I consistently question as a lyricist.

Reception has been great. Some of the songs I thought wouldn’t be the favorites came out as the favorites and that’s about the best reception I can ask for. Not that I dislike any of the songs, but there will always be the few that you think will perform a bit better than others and when the underdogs come to be the most popular, that’s a surprising treat.

We plan to keep pushing music and doing what we love. Taking it a bit further in 2024, we have plans to play around the Midwest and the North East; nothing too extensive just a few dates with good friends. Don’t know that I can really announce plans at this point in time but we do have a lot planned as well as a future collaboration with huge influences and friends of ours.


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